London is internationally renowned for countless things – its landmarks, its pubs, its culture, its music, its excellent public transport system and its fashion. However, one thing that London was most certainly not renowned for was its food. In fact, the city was widely regarded around the globe as having some of the worst food in the world.
Luckily for Londoners, the last few decades have seen somewhat of a renaissance in London’s food. This can be attributed to the influx of immigrants with their rich, authentic cuisines, a growing national consciousness about the value of organic produce and increasing public awareness of healthy eating habits. All these factors have resulted in the proliferation of eateries in all shapes and sizes, perfectly catering to any budget, time constraint and location.
In the market for a quick, healthy bite for a hurried work lunch? Your choices are plenty.
Depending on which area you’re in, your options can generally be divided into three. The first is your typical healthy fast food outlet, such as Pret-a-Manger or Café Nero. Within these mini food emporiums are sandwiches of all varieties, wraps, basic sushi bentos, crisps and salads. You`ll also find little sweet treats including fruit, brownies, muffins and yogurts, as well as most of the popular non-alcoholic drinks and fruit juices.
Also within this category are franchise coffee chains, such as Starbucks and Costa, who offer a good range of healthy quick meals and snacks, to add to your giant coffee if you`re so inclined.
An often overlooked option are the food halls of supermarket chains such as Sainsburys, Waitrose, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer’s. The advantage of grabbing your lunch from these types of outlets is the extensive variety. Not to mention that the buying of food is an impersonal transaction, which is ideal when you’re thinking about that overdue report waiting for you on your desk.
Next, we have the hole in the wall sandwich and bagel shop. In recent decades, most of these have graduated from being grimy greasy spoon-esque sausage roll houses to offering a decent range of fresh sandwiches, salads and wraps. No fuss, no muss and generally much more friendly service than the sullen pimple faced employees of places in franchise eateries.
Finally within the speed-eat category, we have the restaurant takeaway option. This may take a little more time and cost a little more, but if you’re looking for something hot, tasty and probably likely to slightly irritate your co-workers, zipping into a Thai or Indian restaurant to grab a curry to eat at your office may be your best bet.
If you have a little more time and money at your disposal, London is endlessly littered with cheapy restaurants with cuisines from all around the world. Chain restaurants such as Pizza Express are always a safe bet for a leisurely sit down lunch. Another option is the quintessentially English pub lunch, with just about every block in central London housing a pub that offers various traditional dishes to be washed down with a well deserved pint. At the pub down the road from your office, you can expect to find a good pie, hearty stew, steak and chips. Many pubs will do a passable curry also and a Sunday roast if you`re unlucky enough to be working on a Sunday.
London’s wealth of cheap eateries, ethnic restaurants and food outlets mean that wherever you`re standing in central London, you`re likely to be less than 50m from an eatery. However, it can be hard to find something that takes your fancy straight away and even more so when you’re pressed for time. Repositories such as events and London are an invaluable navigation tool and your ticket to getting what you want to eat, when you want it.