A handful. That’s the way to describe the perfect grab and go meal. A handful is both significant and manageable. A handful can be enjoyed and interchanged with a handful of liquid in your other hand. Most importantly, a handful can be simply eaten, as you would expect, with your hands. If you’re out and about in Soho, a handful is often what you want or, more importantly, need. So here are some excellent options perfect for a comfy-looking bit of pavement away from everyone else.
Price range: £7-10.
The jian bings from Pleasant Lady - Chinese crepes packed full of crunchy vegetables, warming chilli oil, a fried egg, and a crispy wonton - are a perfect handful. And you can get them with pork, lamb or chicken too. FYI - they aren’t active on Greek Street but head to Bun House on Lisle Street round the corner, and you’ll find them there.
Price range: £2-10.
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 both alongside a weapon-sized bit of battered fish.
Price range: £8-10.
When the choice is between banh mi and a char siu roast pork rice bowl, the winner can only be the greedy, or the tactical. You and your friends may be both, in which case Keu is an always-delicious decision. The Vietnamese deli has plenty of options both meaty, veggie, soupy, and bahn mi-y.
Price range: £3-10.
Odds are you’ll walk into Joyce’s on Wardour Street planning to get a patty or two to sate your hunger, and you’ll walk out with a curry goat, jerk chicken, or brown stew fish box brimming with gravy, ric and peas. And you know what, we’d understand. This Caribbean spot is more of a knife and fork situation, but that won’t be a problem once you get going.
Price range: £7-12.
Dean Street is the OG 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. You can pick up a margherita for a couple of quid under a tenner, or if you’re looking for Italian sausage, truffle, and all that jazz, you can pay a little more.
Price range: £10+.
Although the downstairs of The Duck and Rice looks like a pub, don’t be fooled. This isn’t a boozer, it’s a slick Cantonese restaurant. Expect to pay £10-£20 for a portion of roast duck and rice, or Singapore noodles with some dim sum on the side. It’s not the most cost-effective grab and go, we admit. But it’s a very tasty one.
Price range: £3-12.
In a city chocka with fried chicken options, it’s only right that Soho has a solid go-to in Chik’n. The sibling restaurant to Chick ‘N’ Sours is all about freshly fried buttermilk burgers, wings, and tenders. There’s evem a vegetable chik’n option as well.
Price range: £6-10.
Tongue & Brisket is best known for its hefty salt beef in between rye bread, topped with sauerkraut and pickle, and smeared with mustard. They’re good sandwiches. But if that’s not your thing, there are other options here too. Things like chicken schnitzel, latkes, and cheesecake or pecan pie to finish it all off. We didn’t say they were light options, okay?
Price range: £5-11.
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. It’s all we ever think of when we think of Bun House. Anyway, this Cantonese-style café is perfect for a quick bite, and you can get four of its fluffy pork, beef, lamb, fish, vegetable, or even custard-filled buns for just over a tenner.
Price range: £3-12.
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. It’s a little spot on Poland Street that pretty much only does paratha wraps. Though if you’re looking for something a little lighter, you can get a whole wheat roti option instead.