The Best Set Menus In London

Where to eat a special lunch or dinner without paying sky-high prices.
The Best Set Menus In London image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

The set menu can feel like a collection of dishes that would be chosen last during PE. The ones you’d never order from the a la carte menu—a sad salad for a starter and a mousse for dessert. It’s always mousse. But not all set menus are like that. Some are full of excellent, good-value food with delicious courses that have been specially made and thought through. These are a collection of those kinds of set menus, with options for lunch and dinner. 


photo credit: Koray Firat

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Main and a drink: £15

This woozy Clerkenwell small plates restaurant is one of London’s most gorgeous date night spots, but from Tuesday to Saturdays you should be taking yourself to Quality Wines for a little self-love. The weekly changing express lunch is a straightforward pasta and a glass for £15. Think bucatini con la sarde, handmade spaghetti and meatballs, or cavatelli with ventricina al sugo (a.k.a. salami and sausage). Of course, you can always supplement with QW’s excellent focaccia for a little lunchtime scarpetta moment. 

Two or three courses: £25/£29

No area in London is more set lunch-ready than Soho and in The Devonshire there’s another restaurant where two or three courses can take as long as you want them to. The upstairs dining room at this excellent pub was born with old-school charm and a set menu with British dishes like prawn and langoustine cocktail, steak and chips, and sticky toffee pudding, only ladles on that classic long lunch feeling.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



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Three courses: £39

From the first tear of warm complimentary bread (yes, complimentary), to the final swipe of luscious sauce, 64 Goodge Street in Fitzrovia is a show of rich French cookery. The lunch set at this dimly lit and potentially debaucherous-feeling corridor of a restaurant is always going to lean classic. An onglet and bérnaise here, a rhubarb vacherin there. Three set courses feels concise, but this is a restaurant made for leaning back and very long lunches.

Chicken, chips, and salad: £19

For anyone looking to embrace the essence of childhood lunches past, Bébé Bob’s posh chicken nuggets and chips (and a salad) will do very nicely. The OTT spot on Soho Square is all about embracing your fun-loving side, even if this chicken is straight from the south west of France rather than Bernard Matthews' farms. FYI this express lunch is counter-only, no reservations.

Teja lunch menu: £45

The set lunch menu at Indian restaurant Bibi only serves hits. It includes things like a grilled Lahori chicken in a cashew and yoghurt whey sauce that is tender and creamy and will invade your dreams. For dessert choose between two changing kulfi, like Pondicherry chocolate, or lemon and hazelnut. Plus, the stunning Mayfair dining room alone is worth coming here for. Try and get one of the four-person booths, surrounded by plants and overlooking the bustling kitchen. 

Two or three courses: £38.50/£43.50

Charming French restaurant La Poule Au Pot is stuffed to the wooden beams with baskets of dried flowers, hanging grape decorations, and yellowing framed prints. The Victoria spot is full of well-dressed groups sipping wine as though it’s a gathering in one of their rustic-chic farmhouses. The set menus are just as transportive and wholesome—wine-infused beef bourguignon, rich cassoulet, and perfectly cooked guinea fowl, all served with vegetables that are heavy on butter and bacon.

Sushi set: £25

There’s no lack of set lunch options at this super-popular Fitzrovia sushi spot. A 13-piece salmon set starts at £25 and there are vegetarian and bento options too. Everything at Sushi Atelier is, at the bare minimum, very good. Whether you go for the Iberico pork teriyaki bowl or the nine-piece omakase sushi set, you’re going to get a high-quality lunch. Plus, the counter is an excellent excuse to swing by solo and treat yourself.

Two courses and a drink: £15

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 3pm) has similar mass appeal. There’s house-baked datterini tomato focaccia followed by a choice of 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.

Two or three courses: £22/£26

The longstanding gold standard of set lunches, Noble Rot offers one of London’s best deals at their restaurants in Bloomsbury, Soho, and Mayfair. If you’ve got £30-ish knocking about, this is where you spend it. Not just because it’s one of London’s best restaurants, but because you won’t get better value fancy-ish restaurant cooking anywhere else. 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.

One, two, or three courses: £18/£22/£25

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 goats’ 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.

Three courses: £29

You come to 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 fortnightly 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 courses: £26/£29

With three courses for £29, the Kudu set lunch is almost suspiciously good-value. Almost. But the thing to know is the T&Cs. It’s only available on Fridays from the Peckham restaurant—from midday to 2:30pm. You’ll have a choice of South African-leaning snacks and plates, like Kalahari-spiced biltong or peri peri chicken hearts, as well as bigger dishes like confit sea trout with a roe velouté. Which sounds quite fancy-schmancy, doesn’t it?


Two or three courses: £24.50/£29.50

A classy French brasserie in Chelsea that can make a pot of buttery frog legs feel romantic, Josephine Bouchon wants everyone to feel the love with its well-priced prix fixe menu. There’s a choice of four starters, four mains, and two desserts—from a decadent pike mousse with langoustine sauce, to an elegant brawn made by the same expert hands as Cadet, to Lyonnaise beignets. And given the room is already one of the most charming in town, this classy set menu only makes it more so. It’s available at lunch too.

Three courses: £95

Some set menus don’t offer a tonne of excitement, but every one of Chishuru’s carefully curated dishes packs a punch. The warm West African restaurant just off Oxford Street has one of London’s most exciting menus from start to finish. From things like ekuru topped with pumpkin seed pesto and a scotch bonnet sauce siphoned from Mount Doom, to yaji-topped grilled guinea fowl.

Four courses: £65

The royal thali at this Soho Indian restaurant is a highlight reel of Darjeeling Express’ best dishes. There’s still some choice and happily, it’s an edible pick-your-own adventure where every scenario is going to be good. Mini poppadoms, an array of chutneys and sauces, two curries, and five sides are all part of the £65 platter. The fact that it feels like you’re at your cool friend’s house instead of a restaurant means this is a spot you’ll want to spend a lot of time in.

Four courses: £66

Perilla is one of north east London’s moodiest dinner spots. The creative restaurant on the corner of Newington Green has the capacity to serve a whole hollowed-out onion’s worth of flavour and its four-course set menu is an excellent choice for a classy, low-key special occasion. The food is familiar flavours ramped up to the max (our heart still pounds for a spectacular mushroom tart we once had) and combined with its low-lit, hands-across-the-table ambience, it makes for one of the best neighbourhood set menus around.

Four hand roll menu: £24

Walking past Temaki, you’ll clock the simple ceramic plates, the sleek bare walls, and see people perched at a light wooden wrap-around counter. This slick Brixton sushi spot knows what it’s doing. Its hand rolls, from BBQ eel to melt-in-your-mouth akami tuna, are excellent. And the set menu choices are strong too. There are options for four, five, or six hand rolls that start at £24 and in terms of a light dinner with a side of serious cocktails, this place is up there.

Multi-course with drinks and dessert menu: £30 

Persepolis tends to have a constant stream of people at lunch and dinner. The Persian vegetarian cafe and deli is an extremely popular spot in Peckham and their £30 a head tasting menu is one of London’s best group dinner 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—and dessert.

Yaowarat Road sharing menu: £39

The big sharing set menu dinner from this Thai tribute restaurant in Chinatown is where you really get value for money. The seven-dish menu spans sweetcorn fritters to bitingly spicy Chinese sausage with pickled mustard greens. And we’d highly recommend adding on the sweet, crunchy, syrupy, hot, cold pineapple pie dessert too. Book upstairs if you want to call dibs on the pool table afterwards.

Multi-course menu: £42

Bubala’s extensive, all-vegetarian a la carte 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 Middle Eastern 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 has all their greatest hits. Stuff like their hummus and labneh and warm salted laffa flatbread, mushroom skewers, and crispy, crispy latkes.

Multi-course menu: from £50

Flavourful modern Peruvian food meets a pink palette at Chicama in Chelsea and their extensive dinner sharing menus are perfect for pescetarians, 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: £68

It’s 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 with creative food that draws on global influences. You’ll be served eight courses of things like almond ravioli in chuggable mystery broth #1, or a bowl of plain-looking pasta that tastes like the very essence of oyster. We’d recommend bringing a date, as this is one of E8’s most intimate and unique restaurants.

12-18 courses: £98.80

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 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 £60.80, while the evening menu will set you back £98.80. But it’s worth it as we’ve never had a bad meal here. The crispy fried pork in a bag is especially joyful.

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