The Best Set Menus In London guide image


The Best Set Menus In London

Where to eat a special lunch or dinner without paying sky-high prices.

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 à 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. 

For Lunch


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 kulfi—Pondicherry chocolate and fig leaf, or buffalo milk paneer and pistachio. 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 courses for £36.50 / Three courses for £41.50

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: £20

There’s no lack of set lunch options at this super-popular Fitzrovia sushi spot. A 13-piece salmon set starts at £20 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.

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.

Two or three-course daily changing set menu: £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 £20-ish 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: £29/32

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-course set menu: £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 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: £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 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 chicken hearts, as well as bigger dishes like confit sea trout with a roe velouté. Which sounds quite fancy-schmancy, doesn’t it?

For Dinner

Four-course set dinner: £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 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.

Yaowarat Road sharing menu: £39

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. The seven-course menu spans sweetcorn fritters to bitingly spicy Chinese sausage with pickled mustard greens. Book upstairs if you want to call dibs on the pool table afterwards.

Multi-course sharing menu: £40

Bubala’s extensive, 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 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 is £40 a head and it’s their greatest hits. Stuff like their hummus and labneh and warm salted laffa flatbread, mushroom skewers, and obviously those crispy, crispy latkes.

Multi-course sharing 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 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 with an always-changing menu of creative food that draws on global influences. £68 will get you eight courses of things like almond ravioli in chuggable mystery broth #1, 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: £94.80

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 £58.80, while the evening menu will set you back £94.80. 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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photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

The Best Set Menus In London guide image