A tenner in Soho doesn’t ordinarily get you very far. Especially when it comes to a meal and not, say, a so-so cocktail. But take a moment, dodge a rickshaw playing Basshunter, and quickly get this guide up on your phone. Despite appearances and a completely overwhelming amount of options ranging from good and okay, to monumentally crap - Soho does have some options for an affordable meal. Be it plates of handmade pasta or Malaysian curry, these are the best £10 meals in Soho.
Your order: Salt beef sandwich (large) - £7.50
The Soho sibling to the legendary B&K salt beef bar, Tongue & Brisket’s go-to sandwich is one of London’s finest examples of a meal between two slices. The slices in question are rye, flecked with the liquorice tang of caraway seeds, and piled with slices of moist salt beef, tangy pickle, sauerkraut and a spread of mustard. It’s a properly good sandwich. But if that’s not your thing, there are other options too. Like chicken schnitzel, latkes, and cheesecake or pecan pie to finish it all off. We didn’t say they were light options, okay?
Your order: Margherita - £8.50
It would be easy to say that you can’t go wrong with a pizza, but you can go wrong with a pizza. Very wrong. Take the tomato paste tortilla thing (topped with raw cheddar) we experienced in Budapest years ago. Pizza Pilgrims is a far better example of an affordable, good pizza. Dean Street is the original location of this Neapolitan pizza mini-chain and they’re still a go-to for chewy, thick-crusted pizzas with a thin and saucy centre. Their margherita is under a tenner or add a few more quid if you after some other toppings.
Your order: Any pasta under a tenner - £6.50+
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. At least, that’s what they say. We certainly don’t think it when someone buys the same trainers as us. In this case, Pastaio is a Padella-style imitation that, mostly, does the right things. This isn’t a restaurant to spend a couple of hours in. It’s a canteen-style place you swing by, have a couple of pastas and a salad, and go on your merry way. The food is both tasty and well priced. And it is what you want most of the time, because who doesn’t like pasta?
Your order: Fish bites and chips - £9.50
Purists will say that fish and chips is best enjoyed out of the bag on foot. Professionals will politely disagree and suggest they park themselves on the nearest corner and let their digestive system come to terms with what’s ahead of them. We’d recommend you do the same after swinging by Golden Union fish bar. Whether it’s for a scoop of chips, a jumbo sausage, or a weapon-sized bit of battered fish. It’s a rare example of a consistently good hotspot chippy in a consistently hectic area.
Your order: Pig bun, lamb bun, custard bun - £8.40
If you’re familiar with MTV in the mid-noughties, then you’ll remember Run’s House - the reality show that followed Rev Run and his family. We think about it a little too often when we think of Bun House. Anyway, this Cantonese-style café is perfect for a quick bite, and its doughy buns are priced at £2.80 each. The BBQ pork and cumin lamb are our favourites and a gooey coconut custard bun for pudding is essential.
Your order: Steak sandwich - £10
Blacklock is a trendy converted brothel in Soho that has been repurposed to serve lovers of all kinds of different varieties of meat. There are several cuts of steak, chops, and a pretty serious burger. You’ll want to check their pork belly bun, or - our go-to - the Blacklock steak sandwich. It’s a majestic, mustardy, pink sirloin creation that will require napkins, a solid jaw, and somewhere to have a rest afterwards. There are few better things you can eat for a straight tenner around Soho.
Your order: Hoi-An Deluxe - £9.50
With three locations (in Shoreditch, The City and Soho), Kêu is probably London’s most recognisable bánh mì mini-chain. Don’t let that make you think that its standards are iffy though. In actual fact, Kêu isn’t just reliable but consistently delicious. Their Hoi-An Deluxe combines ham, roast pork belly, sliced head cheese, chicken liver pâté and a gravy-ish sauce that’s heavy on pork and sweet onion flavour. Oh, and pork floss too. Alternatively, their meat and rice or curry combos are always satisfying as well.
Your order: Char kway teow - £10.50
The problem you’re going to have at Rasa Sayang is twofold. Firstly, the things you want are technically over £10. But we hope you’ll allow us this 50p leeway. Secondly, it’s what to eat. Salty and slippery char kway teow with pork and prawn? Buttery roti with a side of creamy and tender chicken curry? A wholly shovel action-worthy beef rendang? Once of Chinatown, the Malaysian spot is is now very much a favourite in the heart of Soho.
Your order: Shami kebab roll - £5
A couple of moist and flaky paratha rolls filled chana masala, achari paneer, or beef tikka are just a few of the things you can get from The Kati Roll Company. The clue is in the name here because you shouldn’t be bothering to look at anything with rice or anything other than rolls, really. You probably want a couple: something veggie and something meaty we’d say - and for £10 you’ll be hard pressed to find two things that are as flavourful and filling around central.