Monday 2 November 2009


People say that everything in London is expensive and I suppose they have a point, but one thing has surprised me over and over again since moving here, it is very easy to eat cheaply.

We eat Vietnamese food two or three times a month - summer rolls, grilled beef in betel leaves, grilled pork with cold rice noodles and sweet chilli sauce for me, pho for Chris. We go to Turkish restaurants and eat chargrilled lamb chops and scoop up onions in pomegranate sauce with bread that has been used to mop up the lamb juices on the barbecue. We order southern Indian vegetarian curries to eat at home - beetroot curry, spinach with paneer, lemon rice, paratha. We eat well.

Often at the weekend when we leave the house we are going out and need to grab a quick something for lunch that can be eaten on the run. When we lived in Edinburgh this could be that start of a frustrating search that left us staring disconsolately at the chilled sandwiches in a local shop. Here, for the grand sum of £1.50, we have choices...

Lahmacun. We usually go to Numara Bos Cirrik. You order a lahmacun to go and sit and wait for a couple of minutes. A very thin flatbread with a crisp underside and a fine coating of spiced herbed lamb mince arrives from the kitchen. The guy behind the counter adds salad and asks if you want garlic or chilli sauce before rolling up the whole thing in paper ready to be eaten.

Gözleme. Ladies in headscarves sit working as the piles of cooked gözleme mount up. We usually have the cheese gözleme - lightly spiced feta in a soft pancake, but there are spinach and potato options as well.

I have never taken photos as I always eat these too quickly but I don't know that I could ever get tired of having either of these for lunch.


Shauna said...

yum yum yum yum :) so many options! and i compleeeeeeetely agree about Edinburgh and lunches.

Can I ask for your Vietnamese recommendations in London? I haven't had Vietnamese food since I moved to Britain and would love to put it on the list for next trip down south :)

Gemma said...

Just head for Kingsland Road (not far from Old St). We always go to Song Que but I have friends who swear by Tay Do Cafe as well. There is plenty of choice and none of it is expensive. Hope you make it there the next time you're down.

Gemma x

cara said...

Oh London food, how I love thee.

Scotland sucks.

Gemma said...

Oh I don't know. Some days I would cheerfully abandon it all in favour of a seat in the bar at the Plockton hotel and a plate of freshly caught scallops or for fish and chips with salt and sauce from an Edinburgh chippie...