Michelin starred restaurants don’t come cheap, and with the current state of everything from increasing interest rates to rising energy bills, they aren’t going to be the restaurants we all turn to for a mid-week meal. That was, until we found out that there are some very affordable Michelin star restaurants in London. A set three course meal for under £25 per head? Count us in.
Following this year’s Michelin star awards, we’ve put together a guide to the cheap Michelin star restaurants in London that are genuinely affordable – without sacrificing on the quality.
It’s official, when it comes to Michelin star restaurants, Leroy is king: it’s officially the cheapest in the entire country! Punters at the Hackney hangout can expect to shell-out an exorbitant £23 for a three course menu that’s, on paper at least, no worse than Tom Sellers’ Restaurant Story (also one star, but four times more expensive).
Start from the very short list of options with a plate of olives (we think this may be where the methodology went a little awry, of course you can’t compare ‘some olives’ to, say, wagyu beef topped with caviar), followed by a main of scallop girolles and white wine sauce and finish with a strawberry sorbet and walk away only £21.50 worse off.
I’ve spent more than that Deliverooing Nando’s!
2. The Ninth
If you count down the top ten cheapest British Michelin star restaurants, the ninth on your list (so, um, the second cheapest, this set-up sentence isn’t going to work) is The Ninth!
Jun Tanaka’s Mediterranean restaurant brings some Frenchy flare to Charlotte Street. Start off with some house duck soppressata, move onto some marinated scallops, seaweed consommé and asparagus before wrapping up with white peaches, granita and almond ice cream and expect to part with £29.50, which is a good deal higher than the average price of £24.80.
Again, methodology alert, the meat dishes at the restaurant are rather more spenny, and you have to buy your veggies separate (a real bugbear, like when burger restaurants make you pay for chips separately), but still, even at thirty quid all in, you’re still paying Pizza Express prices.
Where: 22 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 2NB
Unlike some of London’s brattier chefs, demanding astronomical figures for distinctly mediocre food, Tomos Parry’s simple Basque cuisine measures up against his competitors and yet comes in at a fraction of the cost, with a full three courses possible for £32.50. Fresh chorizo to start, Plaice ‘pil-pil’ with Cockles, and Olive Oil Ice Cream & Fig Leaf for dessert.
For such affordable pricing, you might as well treat yourself to the lemon sole for main instead, upping your spend to £53.
Where: 4 Redchurch Street, Hackney, E1 6JL
4. St John
Where shall we meat? St John, always. The simple (even austere) décor focusses diners’ attention on the plates, because this is where the real artwork happens. And for a very tidy sum of an average £29.10. Head cheffed by Steve Darou, the Michelin star restaurant is a must for meat eaters everywhere.
Start proceedings with a green salad, for mains take the grilled onglet, chicory and pickled walnut and finish up with half a dozen Madeleines and you’re just £1.20 over average at £30.30.
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5. Kitchen W8
Kitchen W8 looks and feels like a ‘proper’ Michelin star. There’s none of your East London hipster ‘we-cut-costs-by-upcycling-the-furniture’ nonsense, this is a smart dining room in Kensington. And yet, with an overall average price of £29.50.
Based on a dinnertime set menu (if they’d used the lunch menu, which is £28, then Kitchen W8 would’ve jumped to fourth cheapest London Michelin star restaurant!), why not sit down to a dinner of rabbit shoulder raviolo, fricassée of lamb’s sweetbread and tongue and a pudding of beauvale, mustard fruit and walnut bread? Oh, that’s a rhetorical question, there is no reason why not – not even for the sweetbread and tongue.
Where: 11-13 Abingdon Road, Kensington, W8 6AH
Trishna, I’ve got a Mary-le-bone to pick with you – how so cheap? This posh Indian favourite brings Indian coastal cuisine to central London and does so with style and a Michelin star to boot, not to mention on a budget of just £32.
Let’s opt for the Shahi salmon tikka, move onto the Kozhikode chicken masala before diving into a dessert of Kesai tele kulfi. Not sure what any of that is? Fear not, you’re in great hands. And if you hate it, you can roll the dice again because you’ve only lost thirty (two) quid!
Where: 15-17 Blandford Street, Marylebone, W1U 3DG
7. River Café
This one was a shock, growing up I’ve always thought of the River Café as one of those places that you’d be hard pressed to afford unless your horse had come in a highly unexpected first. And yet, at £34 a meal, London’s seventh cheapest Michelin star restaurant is actually a viable ‘fancy popping out for a bite?’ type of affair.
Made famous in the ’90s, the prices seem to have remained there, though we were unable to recreate the research to prove the case (a risotto starter still seems to cost £22), presumably there’s a set menu that’s not available online.
8. Galvin la Chapelle
Galvin restaurants don’t come cheap, Handbook favourite Galvin at Windows is well worth it but does cost an average £82 a meal. But baby of the chain, Galvin La Chappelle, is nearly half that at an average £38 per meal. Set in a former school, the surroundings are fun and interesting.
Choosing from the menu de chef, plump for scorched cornish mackerel, shift gears between courses to take on the pork belly and finish up with a chilled coconut rice pudding.
Where: 35 Spital Square, The City, E1 6DY
9. Hakkasan Hanway Place
It’s a little eyebrow raising to see this luxurious Mayfair hideaway, the respite of the rich and famous, in the top ten cheapest (Michelin star) restaurants in London, but incredibly £38 will sink you three courses of the finest Cantonese cooking there is, and ours is not the question why. Instead, get in line and enjoy Taste of Hakkasan, the £38 curated menu presenting the restaurant’s signature dishes but without breaking the bank.
Begin with a selection of dim sum, graduate to stir-fry black pepper rib eye beef with merlot and a side of steamed jasmine rice, and have a pudding of whatever the chef selects on the day.
Jamavar loudly and proudly and loudly claimed its spot on London’s enviable list of Michelin-starred Indian restaurants last year. Located in Mayfair, this smart restaurant is all about regional dishes and pan-Indian flavours.
The restaurant was brought to life in 2001 by Samyukta Nair with her father, Dinesh, as the first international outpost of Jamavar, which has five restaurants in India. Authentic and delicious, dishes originate from across India’s many regions and are prepared carefully with individual flair. There’s a fair amount of glitz thanks to the rich, opulent décor, but don’t let the luxurious surroundings fool you – you can get a three-course Michelin-star lunch here for as little as £47.
Where: 8 Mount St, London W1K 3NF
11. Wild Honey St. James
Wild Honey St James is all about simple dishes that deliver on flavour. As one of the area’s most impressive restaurants, expert chef Anthony Demetre showcases distinctive modern European menus in a Grade-II listed former banking hall. Everything is cooked with the highest quality ingredients delivered with authenticity and simplicity, and dishes are a mix of different portion sizes to satisfy every appetite.
The restaurant is the definition of good food and grandeur, and last year’s acquisition of a Michelin star proves it – however pop in Wednesday to Saturday before 6:30pm, and you’ll enjoy a three-course lunch or pre-theatre dinner for £40.
Where: 8 Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4AN
Benares is a London favourite for pre-theatre dining with its Michelin-starred set menu options. Offering diners two courses for £35 and three for £45, choose from exciting, modern Indian dishes like Essex Farm chicken momo with a sweetcorn infusion, citrus marinated and grilled hake with foraged sea broccoli, and kesar mango cheesecake.
An exceptional choice for an affordable Michelin-starred dining experience, just before dashing to the theatre.
Where: 12a Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BS
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