This post is going to be lost on absolutely everyone that doesn’t own a Tastecard, so before I begin, I must implore you all to purchase one. If you enjoy eating out in London, or anywhere to be honest (because it works pretty much all over the country) then this card will soon become your must have item when you leave the house to dine out. Each card will set you back between £30-60 (there are deals to be had, you just need to look) and it’s only 3 meals before you’ve made your money back. But if you don’t fancy paying that sum up front, you can opt in for a free 30 day trial, or you could enter the *COMPETITION TO WIN A YEARS MEMBERSHIP* at the end of this post… just keep reading!!
Now that’s out of the way, we can begin. London is full of expensive, posh, over priced restaurants which can certainly be worth the price, but sometimes they really can’t. And who can honestly say they don’t absolutely adore a bargain?! And with my student loan barely stretching to pay my rent and bills, I feel I have become a bit of an eating out bargain hunter (and yes, I am fully aware that the cheapest option is to eat in and cook my own meals, but I respect my pallet too much to punish it with my cooking!) and so I thought I would share with you my favourite Tastecard locations… and because this is an ever changing world that we live in, i’ll keep adding and updating it so you never miss out on the latest deals!
Sen Nin Japanese, Pratt Street – Tastecard discount 50% Off (not available Fri/Sat)
You would normally expect to pay a hefty premium for a Teppenyaki meal, because you are essentially getting a show as well as a meal, but with Tastecard you can enjoy the spectacle of having your food cooked in front of you for less than £8 each. It’s not just teppenyaki served in this restaurant, you can also opt for sushi or tempura, but when you’re in a place like this it seems like a waste to order something that is being prepared behind the scenes. The menu includes a range of traditional dishes, such as Tiger Prawns and Prime Steak, as well as some special meals like Whole Tail Lobster which will set you back £18 with a TC. But the best thing to do is order from their set menus, which are perfect for groups. These menus all include a Miso Soup, rice, vegetables and two main dishes, and come as cheap as £9.50 each, and go up to £24.50 each! The menu is extensive, and even stretches to desserts which operate on a dish of the day style basis. You might find that when you sit down to enjoy your meal you find yourself drawn to the dishes being prepared for the guests opposite you. It all looks fantastic. And sometimes you can expect to take part in the cooking process yourself, as your personal chef invites you to try out some of the tricks he has perfected over the course of his career. Expect to make a prat of yourself. And probably a mess…
Albannach, Trafalgar Square – Tastecard discount 50% Off (not available Sat)
This is a lovely restaurant, sort of ideal for lunch meetings, situated in the heart of Trafalgar Square with a perfect view of Nelson’s Column, the fountains and the hundreds of tourists all climbing on the lions on a day to day basis. The restaurant itself is decorated in a very sophisticated way, with a behind the bar drinks cabinet/book case which I covet every time I dine here, and a wonderful mezzanine balcony with extra seating. They also hide an area downstairs in the basement called the A Lounge which retains features of the original 19th century bank in its unique Vaults, and is a great place to go for drinks and dancing in an evening; perfect for private parties. There are some scottish undertones which can be detected on the menu in this restaurant (as you might expect from the name), with dishes including my favourite dish Stuart Grant Haggis served with neeps and tatties (TC price £7.50) as well as Roast duck (£9.50) and Calves Liver & Crispy bacon (£7.50) They also do some small dishes which are great if you’re looking for a lighter, cheaper lunch, which include Mini Burgers and Fish Cakes (both £3.50 each) They also offer a cocktail of the day which will set you back £5 and have a wide selection of wines and whiskeys to choose from. When you apply the discount to these rich dishes, you can’t really argue – this is a great place to head for a good quality cheap meal.
Wheelers of St James, St James’ Street – Tastecard discount 2-4-1 (max 2 guests per card)
*currently closed for refurbishment*
I’ve eaten here a few times now, and I struggle to understand why they need to offer a Tastecard discount. This restaurant is owned by TV Chef Marco Pierre White, which should immediately boost it’s popularity (if he’s good enough to endorse stock pots then his food must be delicious, right?) and the address itself should also add to its credibility, and yet, they still offer a 2-4-1 offer for Tastecard holders. Wonderful! The food in here is homely with a gastronomic twist, such as Fried Haddock with Triple Cooked Chips, Mushy Peas and Tartare Sauce (£13.50), and Calves Liver with Crispy Bacon, Creamed Mashed Potato and a Jus Gras (£18.50) All dishes are cooked to a high standard – it’s not quite fine dining, but it’s pretty close. They serve lovely wines, but one of my favourite things in this restaurant is the jugs they serve their tap water in; a curved mug in the shape of a fish, which when poured, makes a glugging sound which is very satisfying.
Roadhouse, Covent Garden Piazza – Tastecard Discount 50% off (maximum 8 pax)
If you’re looking for food AND entertainment, this is the place to come. Especially on a Monday or Wednesday night, when a live band takes to the stage to provide live backing for all those brave enough to take part in Rockaoke! Rock the house hard and you could be in with a chance of winning a £100 bar tab! But before you take part, food is probably a must, and with a taste card you can get 50% off your food bill when 8 people or less dine. A great pre-rock-out deal. The Nachos Grande (£11.95) are a great option if there are a group of you as this dish serves 3-4 quite easily, and you can’t go too far wrong with their Fajitas (from £12.45 – Cajun, prime Steak or Vegetable) either. Basically if you enjoy your classic American diner food and a bit of live music, you’ll enjoy a meal in this great basement bar, and you’ll still have some money left over to buy yourself one of their great cocktails too. Screaming Orgasm, anyone?
Burrito Cafe, Trafalgar Square – Tastecard discount 2-4-1
On a sunny day it’s nice to be able to eat your lunch in one of the many parks around London. I particularly enjoy grabbing myself a burrito from this cute little shop on William IV Street just off trafalgar Square (near the Chandos Pub) and heading to the Victoria Embankment Gardens around the corner to do a spot of sun soaking. The burritos from this place are huge. I defy you to eat the entire thing in one sitting. They’re big enough to eat for both lunch and dinner combined, as they stuff these floury tortilla wraps like their lives depend on it, with a great choice of fillings, including Grilled Chicken (Halal) £6.50, Pulled Pork £6.50, Vegetarian £6.50 and Beef £7.50 as well as your choice of rice, beans, vegetables, salsa and salad. This is a great deal in itself when you consider you can get 2-4-1 with a Tasetcard, but you can make it even better if you opt for a Large meal deal (12″ tortilla borrito with chicken, pork or vegetarian, a refillable soft drink and tortilla chips) £8.95!
Fishworks, Swallow Street – Tastecard discount 50% off
For some reason, this used to be one of my go-to hangover lunch spots. Yes… it’s a fish restaurant, but for some reason it worked for me. Please don’t judge! Unfortunately the staff have a tendency to be incredibly rude, unhelpful and reluctant to have your custom, so don’t bother just rocking up – you HAVE to phone in advance, and if you’re lucky they might allow you to dine using a Tastecard. They have a lot of terms and conditions, so just be aware that the offer excludes the Ocean Platter, Fish 2 Share, Fruits de Mer and Surf & Turf, and does not apply to the lunch or pre theatre menu. You also can’t use it on special occasions so don’t even think about celebrating Valentines Day at this place… but aside from all of that, if you do manage to get yourself sat at a table, then you’re in for quite a nice fishy meal. I’d suggest the best thing to do it get yourself a nice selection of their starters. This way you can try most things without having to deal with the restrictions – the squid, whitebait, salmon and razor clams are my favourite choices, and the quality is decent. A great place to go if you fancy a challenge, and want to get your fish fix.
Fire & Stone, Covent Garden – Tastecard Discount 50% off
If you like pizzas, and you like a whole selection of different cuisines, then boy are you in for a treat! This great restaurant offers a selection of unique pizza recipes, inspired by flavours from around the world. Love North African food? Why not opt for the Marrakech – a pizza topped with spiced minced lamb, slow roasted red peppers, red onions, mozzarella, tzatziki and fresh mint! or fancy something with a bit Caribbean twist? Well then the Trinidad & Tobago is the one for you – spicy pepperoni, fresh red and green chillies, jalapeno peppers, mozzarella and tomato salsa. Or maybe you just love that classic London taste of Cumberland sausage, streaky bacon, chunks of roast potato with roasted cherry tomatoes and roasted field mushrooms. This restaurant will take you around the world with their options, and for that reason I love it! if you’re not in the mood for a pizza you can also try one of their salads or pasta dishes, and if you fancy a side, I have to recommend their Polenta chips or one of their flavoured flatbreads. And why wouldn’t you want to add more when you’re getting a great 50% off your food bill?!
Plannet Hollywood, Haymarket – Tastecard discount 2-4-1
I wouldn’t normally advocate anyone eating in this tourist trap, but when you throw a Tastecard into the mix, you might not be able to afford to turn it down. Especially if you’re a fan of giant, indulgent, chocolately puddings! The Chocolate Brownie Super Sundae is a pudding to share, but you can quite easily make it into a personal challenge if you want to. It’s an oversized martini glass filled with double chocolate chip brownies, several scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, smothered in very rich chocolate fudge sauce, a very large heap of whipped cream and topped with a cherry, for good measure. And if you add in the 2-4-1 offer you get with your taste card, you can get two! Perfect. If you’re not just after a giant dessert, the savoury menu is quite extensive. I always enjoy the salads, but seriously, don’t bother if you’re not using a Tastecard… you’ll find yourself forking out over £12 for a dish you could create yourself at the Tossed around the corner.
Sartori, Great Newport Street – Tastecard discount 2-4-1 (Max 2 Persons)
If you enjoy authentic Italian, you’ll be pretty pleased with a meal at this great little restaurant next to Leicester Square station. Particularly if you enjoy a pizza topped with great quality ingredients, packed with flavour. I opted for the Capricciosa (£10.95) – they’re certainly not stingy with the toppings. Huge great big chunks of artichokes, tomato, mozzarella, juicy slabs of ham, big succulent slices of salami, meaty mushrooms & black olives. The dough is obviously fresh, and is light and fluffy. The chilli oil provided on the table packs a punch and so if you’re a little sensitive to spice, don’t go sploshing it all over your pizza. Your eyes and nose will be streaming in no time!
Also available but not included in the Tastecard offer (unless you really haggle a deal or you’re buying in bulk) is their Pizza al Metro a selection of three very large pizzas – 1/2 metre (2 flavours), 3/4 metre (3 flavours) and metre wide (4 flavours, £30) – the perfect purchase if you’re looking to treat your colleagues in the office, or if there is a big group of you. Yes, you could probably each buy an individual pizza each for around the same price, but lets face it, the fun is in having a giant pizza. Imagine the Instagram snaps!
Not found something that grabs your fancy? Read my reviews for these restaurants, also available on Tastecard: