The Best Set Lunches at London’s Hottest New Restaurants
Do you ‘do’ set lunches? If not, you’re missing out. Lots of London’s hottest new restaurants have great value, fixed price menus at lunchtime, and they’re a fun way to get a taste of what the restaurant has to offer. These are our current favourites (available Monday-Friday lunchtimes only).
Chef Rohit Ghai may have moved on but the food is still stellar at Bombay Bustle. The restaurant was inspired by the dabbawala, or tiffin delivery people of Mumbai and so it’s appropriate that the lunch menu here comes in tiffin boxes. There are three veggie and three meat and fish combinations available at £19 per person, which is fantastic value.
Meat eaters can look forward to the richly spiced goat keema served with a pao (bread roll), which is probably our favourite dish on the menu. There’s also a Keralan fish curry, aromatic with curry leaves, a silky paneer butter masala and string hoppers, served with vegetables. All of the tiffins consist of four separate dishes and they all contain a dal. This is a really brilliant way to sample a few different dishes for a bargain price at one of London’s best regional Indian restaurants.
Everything you need to know: Bombay Bustle.
This high-end Cantonese restaurant is definitely gunning for a Michelin star (their original Hong Kong restaurant already has one) so the attention to detail is high. Our reviewer was wowed by their crisp, burnished-bronze roast duck and that’s definitely worth making the trip for but if you want to get an idea of their overall menu, go for the set lunch.
For £25 you get three courses including the chef’s choice of dim sum, a soup, and then the main course with egg fried rice. There are options like wok-fried monkfish in black bean sauce and sweet and sour Berkshire pork. C’mon, haven’t you always wanted to know what really good sweet and sour pork tastes like? Desserts (including a yuzu tart with black sesame crisps) are also available, albeit for an extra £5 supplement.
Everything you need to know: Duddell’s
Indian Accent is as hot as they come right now, even garnering a rare 5-star rating from Fay Maschler in The Evening Standard. There are two set lunch options. The first is priced at £25 for two courses (which actually comprises a starter, a main and a side dish), and £35 for three (the same, with a dessert). Options include meetha achaar ribs with sundried mango and onion seeds; seared scallops with rava prawns and malvani dried shrimp rice or winter vegetables with sarson ka saag and fenugreek tart.
There are lots of options to choose from though, and this is really fun, inventive stuff. There’s not another Indian restaurant like this in London right now, so if you’re not sure about committing to the full menu, give this option a go.
Everything you need to know: Indian Accent
The appeal of the lunch menu at Ikoyi is different to the others here in that it’s very short. This kind of African food isn’t familiar to many restaurant-going Londoners and if you’re uncertain (and perhaps daunted) but the sight of so many unfamiliar ingredients, why not ease yourself in with this collection of their classics.
You’ll be eating plantain with smoked scotch bonnet for your first course, a dish which has had people raving, followed by either wagyu beef suya, or smoked crab jollof rice. For dessert, it’s avocado with baobab. There’s no other set menu like this in London, and it’s a chance to experience modern African cooking.
Everything you need to know: Ikoyi
There are now two places to get your Hopper’s fix and they do this fantastic lunch deal at both of them. The original Soho branch runs what they call the Express Lunch, including their fab mutton rolls or vegetable cutlet followed by lamb or vegetable kothu roti, hopper or dosa, then a choice of kari, sambols or chutneys and a sweet metre tea or sweet frothy kaapi. All yours for £19.
The newest branch at St. Christopher’s Place offers a slightly different option called a Rice Plate, which includes kari, rice, drumstick sambhar, sambols and chutneys, brinjal moju, duck egg, cutlet and tea/kappi. All for £19.50. Both menus are extraordinarily good value; the last time we visited the Soho branch we actually couldn’t finish all the food and you know we are professional eaters.
The menu at Taka, a Japanese restaurant in Mayfair can be slightly overwhelming thanks to its size (a long menu isn’t necessarily a warning sign when it comes to Japanese food, as it can be with other cuisines) so if that’s an issue for you, give the set lunch a try.
There are three options at different price points (£28.50; £29.50 and £35) which all include six plates of food. Kick off with edamame, miso soup and pickles then move onto kushiyaki (skewered, grilled food including yakitori) with rice and sushi. The difference between the menus lies in the amount of food you get and also the pricing of the individual dishes. They’re all pretty generous.
Everything you need to know: Taka
Featured image: Bombay Bustle