Freshers is upon us and you know what that means – time for our bank accounts to hate us. So you keep tapping that contactless on every night out – if you don’t see the money leaving, it’s not really gone, right? If only it worked like that. It can be quite tempting to splash out during freshers and go out to everything – nights out, greasy breakfasts the next morning to cure your hangovers, brunch with your newfound friends, takeaway coffees – and it all seems well and good till that mini heart attack hits you when you check your bank balance. But rest assured – we’ve rounded up our top ten picks for eating out under £10. You might already be familiar with some of these, but we’re sure there are a few new gems in there:
1. Elan Café
This little gem of a coffee shop is just on our doorstep, being within a 10-minute walk from the main Imperial College campus. The décor of this place has made it one of the most Instagrammed, featured cafes in London and the exquisite pastel colour theme has put it on every blogger’s list. Though it is on the slightly more expensive end, there’s some great dishes you could have for under £10. They do to-die-for Acai Bowls for £8.50, jam-packed Tropical Bowls for £8, and chia porridge – your morning favourite with a twist for only £6.50! If you do decide to spend a little more, their coffees are worth a try, with all kinds of lattes from beetroot and ginger to turmeric and saffron.
Where? Brompton Road, and Park Lane.
What? Acai Bowl, or the English Muffin.
Which meal? Breakfast, definitely. Or maybe brunch depending on what time you’re up.
Been wanting a good quality burger for a good price? Byron is your answer. Their menu ranges from simple cheeseburgers to chicken, avocado or vegan burgers. They also have a variety of fries to choose from: classic, topped, sweet potato or even courgette for those watching their health. If you have a UNiDAYS account, you can also snap up some neat discounts!
Where? South Ken, Soho, Hammersmith, Shepherd’s Bush, Fulham and others
What? Cheese, Smashed Avocado or Bourbon BBQ Burgers + Sweet Potato Fries
Which meal? Lunch/Dinner
Everyone loves a cheeky Nando’s. Or that’s what you’ve probably heard English people say in one of those cheesy teen movies. But alas, it is true. This Afro-Portuguese restaurant chain has truly won everyone’s heart over – especially on our student budget. Keen for a nice, fat burger? They’ve got you covered with their Sunset Burger at £7.95 on its own or £9.70 with one side. Keen for something a little lighter? No problem! Go for their Supergrain Salad with chicken breast for only £9.80. Vegetarian? Here comes the Portobello Mushroom and Grilled Halloumi combo to your rescue, for only £6.95 or £8.70 with a side.
Where? Gloucester Road, High St Kensington, or pretty much anywhere you go.
What? Chicken Butterfly, or the Sunset Burger.
Which meal? A nice, hearty lunch.
4. The Breakfast Club
There’s a reason that this place has often been named the ‘best breakfast in London’ - the diner-style décor of the place will make you feel like you’re in a classic American movie, and the food from across the Atlantic will make you forget about gloomy English weather. And who’s to say they only serve breakfast? Perfect for hangovers - now give me that grilled cheese sandwich.
Where? Soho, London Bridge, Battersea, or Spitalfields
What? Avocado Eggs on Toast, Salted Caramel Banoffee Pancakes or the Breakfast Burrito
Which meal? Breakfast/Lunch
5. ASK Italian
ASK has recently become more and more popular, and chances are, you’ve heard of it or probably frequent one nearby. Almost every ASK Italian has to-die-for interior décor, which makes having meals there feel like you’re at the poshest of restaurants for a fraction of the price. Whether you’re after classic Italian pasta dishes, pasta or even a typical breaded chicken and chips, they’ve got it all.
Where? Gloucester Road Arcade, Oxford Street, The O2, and others
What? Spaghetti Al Pomodoro, or the oh-so-yummy Vedure pizza
Which meal? Dinner
This Japanese restaurant is so many people’s favourite and we can definitely understand why. With such a wide variety of items on the menu, an authentic Japanese setup of tables in the restaurants, and an endless supply of green tea, this is a student haven for yummy food. If you can get past the (mediocre) service and slow waiting, having a meal here is 10000% worth it. Their juices and smoothies are also so refreshing and complement the spicy cuisine perfectly.
Where? Pretty much anywhere. High Street Kensington,
What? Chicken Ramen, or the popular Chicken Katsu Curry.
Which meal? Dinner.
7. Franco Manca
Three words: Best. Pizza. Ever. Franco Manca’s pizza is not only affordable, but also really tasty as it’s made on a sourdough base, which gives it a cool, slightly chewy texture. Sounds weird, but basically, it’s like eating tomato sauce and toppings on really good bread. Plus, some venues have good student deals and all have a vegan option – it will definitely become one of your staple pizzas!
Where? Everywhere. South Ken, Covent Garden, Soho, Fitzrovia, King’s Cross, Shepherd’s Bush, Fulham and others
What? Classic Tomato & Mozzarella, or Courgette, Mozzarella & Ricotta pizza
Which meal? Lunch/Dinner
Have you seen the Incredibles 2? Well, the short film that precedes the movie features a little baby dumpling – a bao. Bao are round, soft, fat steamed buns originating from Taiwan, filled with a stuffing commonly made with pork. BAO amps this basic bun up, with fillings including chicken, beef, fish or vegetarian options, as well as other Chinese specialties for the bao-haters (we see you). Comfort food with a Chinese twist.
Where? Soho, Fitzrovia
What? Classic, Fried Chicken or Black Cod Bao
Which meal? Lunch/Dinner
It’s our personal favourite (and our bank account’s favourite), Wasabi. Famous for their sushi dishes, the seafood Wasabi has to offer is top class. Their sushi always tastes fresh as it’s made daily, as is their hot food. Their Katsu Curry is a crowd favourite, as is their sweet and sour chicken, which comes either served with rice or noodles. Also, about half an hour before closing time, most Wasabis reduce everything to half price, so you can stock up for lunch the next day too!
Where? South Kensington, High St Kensington, Hammersmith, and around every other corner
What? Katsu Curry, Wasabi Rainbow Set, or the Salmon Nigiri Set
Which meal? Lunch
10. Flat Iron
Good quality and decent price are words that never really come together when it comes to steak. At Flat Iron, you can order a tasty (!) steak with an included salad for £10, allowing you to eat a fancy meal out with your new friends or SO without becoming broke. If you so desire, various chips and veggies are also available as sides. And did I mention the complimentary cup of popcorn?
Where? Soho, Covent Garden, Shoreditch
What? Classic Steak
Which meal? Lunch/Dinner
It would be a disaster to name top places to eat under £10 without mentioning the holy grail - Imperial College Union’s FiveSixEight. Located by the Beit quad, this will be your go-to place for a quick lunch, a pint or just somewhere to meet people. If you haven’t heard of the real reason everyone goes there, shame on you (hint: curly fries!). Plus, they’re rolling out a new breakfast menu starting this term – stay updated by reading the Food Section!
Where? South Ken, on Imperial campus!
What? CURLY FRIEEES (and possibly a Burger or the new Breakfast option)
Which meal? Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner