How to Eat for Cheap at Top-Notch London Restaurants

By Malika Dalamal  |  January 10, 2014

Money might be tight in January, but that doesn't mean your taste buds have to suffer. Here are five ways to sample the food in some of London's most expensive restaurants for less than £40.

  • Nobu

    Usually frequented by celebrities and the super-rich, Nobu offers a lunchtime bento box (£35) to those on a budget that includes a sampling of all the Japanese restaurant's signature flavours. Start with a sashimi salad with Matsuhisa dressing followed by rock-shrimp tempura with ponzu sauce, the famous black cod with miso, oshitashi, vegetable rice, assorted sushi and finally a steaming miso soup. After all that, we're pretty sure you won't still be hungry, but if you are, sweeten your palate with a piece of mochi (£3.75) served in two bite-sized halves.

    Total: £38.75

  • China Tang

    Sir David Tang's Chinese restaurant in the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane might sound like it is out of your budget, but sit in the lounge area (no reservation necessary) and opt for the dim sum menu to find out what all the fuss is about. Order up to six plates (£5 each) from the large variety of dim sum including roast pork buns, steamed shrimp dumplings, honey spare ribs, Shanghai pork dumplings and spring rolls. Each plate comes with at least three bite-sized but filling portions -  but there is always space for a warm chocolate pudding with green tea ice cream (£9) or roast banana cake with burnt mirin ice cream

    Total: £39

  • The Ivy

    On Sunday and Monday nights, The Ivy offers diners the chance to order the set menu in the evenings (it's usually only available from noon-6:15 PM or after 10). The three-course meal (£26.25) includes a choice of three starters - cauliflower soup, Caesar salad, poached egg - followed by a fish, chicken or vegetarian main and sticky toffee pudding or mint ice cream coupe for dessert. 

    Total: £26.25

  • 34

    Known for its top-quality selection of beef, including Scottish dry-aged grass-fed, Australian Wagyu and U.S. prime-corn-fed, this Mayfair steakhouse is understandably not cheap. If you opt for the spiced butternut squash soup (£7.50) to start and finish with the Bramley apple crumble (£7.50) or pear and butterscotch tart (£7.50), you can still sample the meat - char-grilled on a traditional Argentine parrilla - by ordering steak frites with béarnaise sauce (£19.75).

    Total: £34.75

  • Hawksmoor

    If you're happy to eat early (before 6.30 PM) or late (10 PM), the three-course express menu (£26) at Hawksmoor on Air Street includes a choice of starters followed by either rib-eye or Royal Bream served with sides and a choice of three desserts including peanut butter shortbread, sticky toffee pudding and honeycomb cheesecake.

    Total: £26