With Freshers’ week going on in full swing, there’s bound to be a moment when you’re a little bit too weak to go near the stove and dish out your perfectly organised, healthy and affordable meal plans. Or maybe you just need somewhere to go with your new friends without becoming financially crippled. Been there, done that.

We’re university students, which means that most of us are perpetually broke. Here are some of the places your well-seasoned seniors visited during times of hardship, torture, and self-doubt during their time at Imperial.

My Old Dutch

Pancakes are the answer to everything! Well, not everything, but most things. This pancake house on Kensington Church Street prides itself on serving gigantic pancakes, both savoury and sweet. One pancake usually costs £8 to £12 and the portion is generous. What’s better: every Monday, excluding specified items on the menu, all sweet and savoury pancakes will cost £5.95. On other days, you can also get 10% off your bill with your student card! Note that the Monday Madness promotion is not applicable on Bank holidays and optional service charge applies. Vegetarian options available.


A small Japanese restaurant just a few minutes away from South Kensington station, you might miss it altogether if not for the queue snaking out of its door during lunchtime. The tasteful decoration inside carries a heavy note of traditional Japan, what with their futon seats and low tables. The most student-popular order will be their lunch menu, with a variety of mains to choose from, ranging from bento to sushi set. Each set costs £7.90 and comes with a cup of warm green tea. Note that there will be a service charge and the queue can be quite long during lunchtime. Perfect if you have a long lunch break or a free afternoon.

Bella Italia

Bella Italia is an Italian restaurant with franchise all over the UK and its website is regularly updated with the latest promotions. Past offers include 2-for-1 pizza deals on Thursdays. Currently, it’s offering 50% off mains from Monday to Thursday and 50% off takeaways all day everyday up till 2nd October. Without discounts, the mains cost around £10 - £15. Keep an eye out for great deals on their website! Vegetarian and vegan options available.

“Freshers week may leave you with a few moments where you’re a bit too weak to go near a stove”

Franco Manca

Another pizza place near Imperial, specialising in sourdough pizza. Conveniently, you can order your pizza on their website and pick it up at a time of your choice – a great way to beat the queue! The cheapest pizza is £4.95 with others less than £8.

Oriental Canteen

Reputed to be the cheapest place to eat in the South Kensington area, Oriental Canteen is definitely the favourite place for people who crave cheap Chinese food. Its menu includes fried noodles, roasted duck with rice and fried rice. The shop owner is rumoured to be a Malaysian so it’s not surprising to see some Southeast Asian dishes on the menu. The best part about this shop is that the prices are generally £6 or less, saving you from the dilemma of going broke or starving.

Bosphorus Kebab

With online reviews singing praises and friends swearing by it, it seems like this Turkish shop on Gloucester Road is the place to go when you yearn for something exotic. The prices range from £6 to £8 and it is well-portioned, its doner kebab being the most popular order. The downside is that there are not many seats in this small shop so it can be crowded at times. Take-aways are recommended.


Wasabi sells a variety of ready-to-eat Japanese food outside South Kensington station, be it hot food, sushi rolls or soups. With bento prices from £5 to £10, this place is frequented by students who want a quick lunch. Recommended mains include chicken katsu curry bento and chicken teriyaki bento. Vegetarian options available.