When I got off the subway in London’s city centre, it was a Friday and the beginning of a long weekend thanks to a bank holiday. I wandered into streets filled with red brick architecture, that looks like a scene from Notting Hill. The streets are littered with cafes and restaurants. Bars are filled with happy people holding a beer. They were having a great time just standing outside the bars and adding laughter to the street noise. Every cafe looks cool. Posters of musicals and plays filled the advertisement spaces.
If you come from Singapore (like myself), London seems like a terrifyingly expensive place to visit. Something that costs £10 is basically $20. Everything is a lot more expensive and being in the city, accommodations can blow your travel budget. That being said, London is a beautiful city, and one that shouldn’t be missed. Here’s a guide on three amazing places where you can have a great meal and not count your pennies afterwards.
Flat Iron Steak
Where: 17 Beak St, Soho, W1F 9RW & 9 Denmark St, Soho, WC2H 8LS
What: Flat iron
This is one of my favourite place to get an awesome steak. If you have been blowing $30 and above for steaks, the pricing in this place might seem unreal. Flat Iron Steak price their steaks at £10. Yes, you’ve got that right. Before you start questioning the quality, this is not some mediocre piece of meat. I first heard of the flat iron steak from one of Jamie Oliver’s youtube videos. When I heard of the name of the restaurant, I just had to try it to see for myself.
The restaurant adds certain memorable touches to their customer experience, from the adorable little butcher knife you get to cut the steak to the popcorn that’s sitting on the table before you arrive. Now let’s get down to the meat. The taste of this particular cut rivals that of the famed Wagyu beef due to its marbling. I tend to judge the quality of a steak by first trying it on its own without any sauce. This steak is only lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Perfect! This is the way every steak should be tasted. It is also recommended that we try the medium rare version, which I did and was totally blown away.
Vasco & Piero’s Pavilion Restaurant
Where: 15 Poland Street, Soho, London, W1F 8QE
What: Umbrian Italian food
For: Elegant Italian dining
I must confess that I was craving for authentic Italian food on my first day in London. Which is why, rather than trying local British food, I headed into this quaint looking restaurant that’s just off Oxford Street. The food at Vasco & Piero’s Pavilion Restaurant is exactly what I hoped for – true Italian cooking that creates simple dishes that brings out the flavours of its ingredients. The quality of the olive oil used is a testament to traditional Italian cooking values, and its flavour is impeccable. The restaurant focuses on Umbrian cuisine and sources most of its ingredients from this region of Italy.
Burger & Lobster
Where: 36-38 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 4PS (and more)
For: Casual dining
Burger & Lobster is probably every Singaporean’s favourite eating place in London. Every Singaporean friend of mine who has been to London insisted I try this place. Made popular by its huge lobster priced at £20, everyone wants a bite of this juicy crustacean. You get to choose to have the lobster served steamed, grilled or as a lobster roll. Another popular choice is their humongous burger which is also priced at £20. This restaurant is packed at any time of the day and they have a strict no reservations policy if you’re a group of less than six persons. Be sure to come early to secure your seats!