Let us take you back to your early twenties, when you lived in halls. It was all so easy, wasn’t it? Someone just shouted ‘pub’ in the middle of the afternoon and approximately twelve minutes later you were all complaining about Harvard referencing over a nice cold pint. Now, everytime you meet up it involves a passive aggressive stand off over the District line. Don’t worry friends, that’s why we’ve created The Meet In The Middle Guide, so you can see your pals without ever having to hear, ‘I thought it was your turn to come to me?’.
Need to meet between: Hackney and Camden.
You’ve been planning on meeting up, but life keeps getting in the way. And by ‘life’, we mean sheer laziness. Luckily, getting to the Highbury & Islington end of Upper Street is faff-free for both of you. All you need is your own two legs, the Overground and you’ll be sharing a plate of jamon at Llerena before you can say ‘two glasses of rioja too, please’. It’s lucky the journey is short, because choosing between their selection of tapas is quite a task. You definitely need the oxtail croquettes, and the ewe’s cheese. Just make sure you leave enough room for churros.
Need to meet between: Angel and Brixton.
Everyone’s answer to ‘let’s just meet somewhere in the middle’ is Soho, even if one of you lives in Edinburgh. But, because of the winning combo of the Victoria and Northern lines, if one of you lives in Angel and the other lives in Brixton, it’s actually true. So, if you both agree to meet in Soho, Duck Soup should be your choice. This restaurant and wine bar on Dean Street doesn’t feel like another central spot. For starters, it’s relaxed and intimate enough that you can actually hear your friend speak. Then there’s their eclectic menu, with dishes like grilled aubergine, and the bobby beans with charred potato, walnuts and parsley from the kitchen. Or, if it’s a ‘quick catch up’, code for ‘more booze, less food’, then they’ve got you covered with grown-up ‘nibbles’ like salame campagnolo or a half a dozen oysters.
Need to meet between: Hoxton and Kilburn.
The mains at Euston’s Roti King are so cheap that you could probably get a guilt-free Uber all the way from Cockfosters to eat here. But, check you out, you don’t even have to. This restaurant in Euston serves excellent roti canai, which is basically flatbread’s, fluffier, Malaysian cousin. They’re served with bowls of delicious curry that you’ll happily lick clean. The restaurant itself is a pretty casual affair, but so are the prices. The basic roti canai weighs in at a slightly ridiculous £5, and some of London’s best laksas are only around seven quid. It’s cash only and BYOB, but really that’s just a great excuse to get a nice bottle of wine.
Need to meet between: Shepherd’s Bush and Clapham.
Your favourite human on the planet lives in Clapham. But, you’re also the kind of person that says things like ‘I’d rather face off with Cujo than go south of the river’. To each their own. But don’t fear, Greyhound Cafe in Fitzrovia is a great spot for a serious catch up and, geographically, suits you both. Greyhound Cafe serves a huge variety of Thai street-food. You could easily share the German-style pork knuckle with curry paste and sticky rice, or perhaps the rib-eye satay if you’re feeling a little less brave. Once you’ve chatted your way through dinner, we recommend moving onto the cocktail list, starting with the Manhattan Mama.
Need to meet between: Putney and Bow.
During a particularly lonesome hangover last week you extended the search radius on your Tinder and now you’ve found yourself meeting up with someone from the mythical land of Bow. Luckily that chariot of love the District line will bring you both to Gordon’s. This wine bar / underground vault of candles has a changing daily menu of British classics, cheese platters, and, somewhat predictably, a pretty good wine list. If you should decide that you’re better off as pals, (Bow is very far away, it never could have worked) then that’s fine, this classic establishment is a lovely place to spend an evening with anyone from family to friends.
Need to meet between: Stoke Newington and Maida Vale.
Your fanciest friend moved out of your eight-person ‘creative space’ (translation: illegal digs) and settled in W9. Don’t worry, you’re still both equal in the eyes of TfL. German Gymnasium at King’s Cross is fancy enough to make your friend, the high-ceiling convert, feel at home, and it’s also secretly affordable enough for you to not to have to live off of tinned hotdogs for the rest of the month if you have anything more expensive than a glass of water here. Their set menu offers three courses and a glass of sparkling wine for £30. We’d go for the Kasekrainer, and finish the catch up in style, with an apple strudel soaked in vanilla sauce.
Need to meet between: Peckham and Dalston.
You and your Dalston pal have decided to start writing that interpretive dance musical where mean tweets are embodied by humans dressed as ravens. You do you. Luckily, Tayyabs in Whitechapel is only a short trip for both of you, and, importantly, they serve some of the best lamb chops in London for a casual £7.95. Yes, for obvious reasons, there does tend to be a queue come dinnertime, but that just gives you and your friend enough time to discuss hair and lighting before getting to the serious business. Eating. It’s BYOB, so be sure to grab a couple beers around the corner to wash down their tasty dry lamb curry and the unmissable meat-bread-meat-wonder that is their keema naan.
Need to meet between: Finsbury Park and Mile End.
The only reason you’d want to go all the way to see your pal in Mile End after work is because your Fitbit is demanding that you walk 10,000 steps a day. But, thanks to our good friend the Hammersmith and City line, Farringdon is only a short journey for each of you, and it happens to be home to St John. The restaurant here is the original champion of nose-to-tail dining in London, but you can also get a few bits in the bar area. At least one of you should go for the bone marrow, and if, for some reason, you’re still worried about those steps, walk back to the bar for another bottle of house Burgandy.
Need to meet between: Hammersmith and Angel.
You moved to the wild, wild west about a year ago to pursue your dreams. Nice. Luckily, catching up with your mate from Angel is still pretty easy if you choose to meet at Pergola in Paddington. This spot is like the beautiful love child of Borough Market and Barcelona’s La Rambla, with food from folks like Patty and Bun, in what is essentially, a very aesthetically pleasing rooftop garden. Think, BBQ you can eat with your fingers, frozen margaritas, and enough foliage to make Alan Titchmarsh happy. Plus, even if you end up getting a bit lairy on craft beer, it’s just a short trip home.
Need to meet between: Elephant & Castle and Acton.
Acton? Realistically, your friend could have popped on over to Siberia and you’d probably see them more often. Of course, they think the same about south London. Enter, The Grazing Goat which is a great pub for any occasion, so it’s really just a bonus that Marylebone is smack bang in the middle of both of you. They serve all the British classics you know and love, like roast lamb, scotch eggs, and a pie of the day. In the winter, you can discuss that crappy date in front of the fire with a whisky, and in the summer, you can discuss that, er, equally crappy date on the patio with a guava martini. Of course, if you’re planning a weekend hang, go for Sunday so you can get down and dirty with the beef rib roast.