The Best Set Menus In London
Where to eat a special lunch or dinner without paying sky-high prices.
London has a tonne of options when it comes to excellent, good-value food. But when it comes to excellent, good-value food in a restaurant that feels, well, decidedly quite fancy—then things become a little more difficult. Enter: the set menu. Not the set menu of rejected pantry items, a lone prawn here experimentally paired with a leftover scoop of piccalilli there, but courses specially made, and thought about and most importantly, completely delicious. These are the best for lunch and dinner.
photo credit: Lateef Photography
Bread, pasta, and a drink: £14
The Islington handmade pasta restaurant is one of those everyday spots that can fit pretty much any kind of situation and its set lunch (available Monday to Friday from 12pm until 5pm) has similar mass appeal. There’s house-baked datterini tomato focaccia followed by a choice of three pastas, like brown butter cacio e pepe ziti or strozzapetti with fried aubergines and buffalo ricotta. A glass of wine, beer, or a soft drink is included as well.
Kerridge's Bar And Grill
Two-course menu du jour: £15
Any restaurant that features a headless gold statue doesn’t exactly scream accessible, good value or, perhaps, good taste. But upmarket British spot Kerridge’s, near Embankment, has all three. The fact we once saw Harry Redknapp dining here only confirms that. The two-course menu du jour changes but can feature courses like a roasted tomato soup with basil pesto, sugar pit bacon rib with a fried egg and posh ketchup, plus a strawberry meringue fool and ice cream. A solid crowd-pleasing option for a solid crowd-pleasing restaurant.
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Noble Rot Soho
Two or three-course daily changing set menu: £18/22
The longstanding gold standard of set lunches, Noble Rot offers London’s best deal—find us a better one, we dare you—at both of their restaurants, in Bloomsbury and Soho. If you’ve got £20 knocking about, this is where you spend it. Not just because it’s one of London’s best restaurants, but because unless your surname is Roux, you won’t get better value fancy-ish restaurant cooking anywhere else in London. The set lunch menus change daily but expect lovely, light touch, European-leaning things like braised chicken leg with beans and aioli before finishing with some kind of tart.
Two or three-course set menu: £32/35
There’s no lack of restaurant options in Shoreditch, but Leroy is up there with the best. The low-key wine bar and European restaurant offers a weekday changing set menu with dishes like asparagus, courgette, and parmesan risotto, or a crunchy plate of baby turnips with whipped goat’s curd. Paired with a glass of something similarly chilled and crunchy, it’s the kind of restaurant and set menu that says 'log off early for the afternoon' to us.
Quality Chop House
Three-course set menu: £25
You come to the Quality Chop House for a hearty, refined take on British cooking and, from Tuesday to Friday, one of London’s best set lunches. The Clerkenwell restaurant has a weekly changing lunch menu that will make you feel like a medieval monarch done good. Luxurious Devon crab rarebit, glazed beef cheek with mashed potato, and treacle tart have all featured in the past.
Two or three-course set menu: £24/28
With three courses for £28, the Kudu set lunch is almost suspiciously good value. Almost. But the thing to know is the T&Cs. It’s only available from the Peckham restaurant on Fridays and from midday to 2:30pm. You’ll have a choice of South African-leaning snacks and plates, like Kalahari-spiced biltong or peri peri duck hearts, as well as bigger dishes like confit sea trout with a roe velouté. Which sounds quite fancy-schmancy, doesn’t it?
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
Multi-course tasting menu: £25
Persepolis tends to have a constant stream of people at lunch and dinner. The Persian-inspired vegetarian cafe and deli is an extremely popular spot in Peckham and their £25 a head tasting menu is one of London’s best group dinner and affordable date moves. It’s a conveyor belt of food that begins with meze, moves to a soup, before a couple of mains—that may include an excellent bean stew—before ending on a dessert platter of ice cream sundae, paklava, and fresh fruit. This is great food at a great price in a space that, if you’re into kaleidoscopes, is also great.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
Five-course sharing menu, family-style: £38
Tatale is the kind of place where you can nestle into a big comfy cushion and feel the London-sponsored stress slowly evaporate from your body, quicker than you can say chin chin cheesecake. The pan-African restaurant in Southwark was one of 2022’s big hits and its sharing menu covers all bases. There are fiery ackee croquettes, beautiful groundnut-rubbed buttermilk fried chicken, and a moreish black eyed bean stew complete with a whole plantain.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
Eight or nine-course sharing menu: £40/£55
It’s worth highlighting that Speedboat Bar does an enticing £9 lunch deal from Monday to Wednesday, but we think the big sharing set menu dinners from this Thai tribute restaurant in Chinatown is where you really get value for money. Choose between an eight or nine-course menu that spans perhaps the best drinking snack in London—Speedboat’s chicken skins with zaep seasoning—to bitingly spicy and soy-stained drunkard’s seafood and beef noodles. Book upstairs if you want to call dibs on the pool table afterwards.
Seven-course sharing menu: £39
Bubala’s 20-something-item, all-vegetarian lunchtime menu may seem overwhelming at first. It’s got anxious decision making and the terrifying possibility of food envy written all over it—especially as almost everything at this Mediterranean spot near Spitalfields is completely delicious. But in the evening you’ll find it’s simply ‘Bubala Knows Best’. And trust us, they do. This set menu is £39 a head, and it’s the greatest hits of their menu. Stuff like their hummus and labneh and warm salted laffa flatbread, mushroom skewers, and obviously those crispy, crispy latkes.
Eight-course sharing menu: £50-£60
Flavourful modern Peruvian food meets a cute pink palette at Chicama in Chelsea and their extensive dinner sharing menus are perfect for pescatarian, vegetarians, and vegans. There’s a separate menu for each which covers everything from sea bass ceviche, to BBQ plantain, to banana and yuzu ice cream with torched meringue. Given their twinkly indoor-outdoor courtyard area, this is a particularly good spot on a balmy evening.
Eight-course tasting menu: £65
It’s much easier to forgo decisions when you wouldn’t have a clue if you were given the choice anyway. That’s the beauty of Casa Fofò, a low-key tasting menu restaurant in Hackney making an always changing menu of delicious and unusual food that draws on global influences. £65 will get you seven courses of things like almond ravioli in chuggable mystery broth, or a bowl of plain-looking pasta that turns out to taste like the very essence of oyster. The only decision to make is who to come with. We’d recommend a date, as this is one of E8’s most intimate and unique restaurants.
12-18 courses: £92.80
At Hunan in Victoria, you don’t need to worry about anything, because you won’t know what you’re getting until it arrives at the table. This old-school, classy Chinese restaurant operates on a ‘trust us’ menu where you simply tell them your dietary requirements, preferred spice level, and, you know, that you hate coriander, and they’ll do the rest. The lunchtime menu is £58.80, while the evening menu will set you back £92.80, but it’s worth it as we’ve never had a bad meal here. The crispy fried pork in a bag is especially joyful.