With the long weekend looming, and many Londoners (and out-of-towners) heading to the Notting Hill Carnival, we thought we’d round up the area’s top cheap eats. Granted when one sets foot in the rarified air of gated gardens and dazzling white terraces the term ‘cheap’ takes on a different meaning. Nevertheless we have ventured to try and provide a guide to handy pitstops for reasonably priced food and drink for Carnival revellers this weekend. Bring on the posh nosh for less dosh…
Dinner with wine and service: £35
“An authentic Mexican” – a tightly packed cantina on the Notting Hill/Bayswater borders, focused on tacos, cocktails and beer – “fresh and tasty, real street flavours, and also very friendly”.
Fish & chips (August special): £12
After trading for eight months as a stall at Soho’s Berwick Street market, this fish ’n’ chip shop (serving sustainably caught Cornish fish), launched its first standalone restaurant in deepest Notting Hill – early feedback says it’s outstanding.
Dinner & drinks £26
“Delicious charcoal-grilled fish and meat as well as tasty mezze” (“comparing well with Istanbul”) means there are often queues at this small Notting Hill Turk. “No licence – and no corkage charged”means it’s also “incredible value”.
Lunch and a drink: £9
“Still the best falafel in London” claim fans of this simple Notting Hill pitstop – given the pace of service though, it’s not always fast food.
Dinner with wine and service: £24
“Hype-free, authentic Japanese cuisine”, inspires “popularity amongst ex-pats” and “queues out of the door” at these “unpretentious” (“noisy” and “crowded”) cafés. The menu is “voluminous”, but “they understand Japanese food: tastes are fresh and genuine and come at low prices”.
Snack and coffee: £10
“Pastéis de nata to die for” are a prime attraction at this lively Portuguese café – an excellent complement to a trip to nearby Portobello Market.
Dish du Jour: £12
Carnival after party tickets: £10
“A bit rough around the edges but a proper boozer” – Tom Conran’s “busy” Irish pub in Bayswater makes “a refreshing change from most glammed-up pubs”, and provides “simple seafood cooked well, great Guinness and a buzzing atmosphere”: “I always have a whole crab and spend hours eating it!”
“Perfect crispy-based pizza” – “so light that normal pizza-associated guilt is forgotten” – as usual wins high praise for this pub-conversion duo. The newish Shepherd’s Bush branch is “very comfy, with a large bar”, while the very “buzzy” original is a Notting Hill classic for “a fun night out”.
Steak and salad: £10
“If you want simple steak, well-delivered at a bargain price, you can’t go wrong” with these “consistent and effective” West End haunts (where “the unfashionable flat iron cut is elevated to first rank, and identified farms and rearing practices give credibility to the final product”). “Despite fairly basic surroundings, they feel somehow pleasant” even if “the queues are less great”(“they take your mobile number and text you when your table’s ready”).