5 London restaurants for hungry people

Roll up, roll up (quite literally!)…

If you scoff at artistic flowers arranged atop your food, if pea puree smears really get your goat and if piddly portion sizes have you swallowing down cries of “RIP OFF!”, you’ll love these Big Girl (and Boy) dishes. From Indian banquets to meaty breakfasts and filling foodie market stalls, here’s where you need to head if you’re ready to not feel ravenous. Like, EVER again…

Tayyabs, Whitechapel

This tiny Whitechapel haunt is family run and offers a tasty fusion of past and present Punjabi cuisine. And it’s getting quite the name for itself. Not that you’d know that from stepping inside. This is not a bells and whistles affair, this is an Indian restaurant as it should be. Started in 1972 and today run by three sons, Tayabbs began as an Indian eatery for Indian people; mainly city workers who wanted a good, wholesome and cheap meal come midday. Originally, the menu consisted of one curry, a rice and a bread and changed daily.

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Today, the menu still isn’t huge but it needn’t be. Everything from the meat  grill to the veggies to the sauces are seasoned beautifully in a way that means you can taste each flavour and what’s underneath it, rather than being overpowered by powder and spice. Should you make a trip to this casual establishment, which you absolutely should, you have to try the lamb chops. Everyone I know who has been agrees. I recommend pairing that with the pumpkin, which is salty and slightly sour with a delightful texture and also the chicken which is super tender and mixes well with rice. I went with three other people and we ordered enough to mean there was no space on the table for our BYOB (another highlight!) and our total bill was just £60. Yeah. I know.

Sold? Go here >>>

Hawksmoor, Guildhall

You’ve probably heard of Hawksmoor’s infamous big breakfast but owing to the fact it’s only available at the Guildhall restaurant on weekdays before 10am, you might not have been lucky enough to sample it yet. As a jammy self-employed person, I’ve undertaken the meaty challenge twice. Arrive hungry and go easy on the drinks if you want to eat more than half of your casserole dish of food, which includes smoked bacon chop, sausages, (made with pork, beef, & mutton), black pudding, short-rib bubble & squeak, grilled bone marrow, trotter baked beans, fried eggs, grilled mushrooms, roast tomatoes, HP gravy and unlimited toast, for two people to share.

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The meat is such good quality and really tasty, not your usual sausage and bacon combo, but for me it’s the hash and the beans and the gravy that totally steal the show. If you can face an earlier start, get a crack o’ dawn reservation – the last time I went they’d sold out of bone marrow, which is the most impressive visually, but I did get an extra sausage and avocado to make up for it, so can’t complain.

Breakfast time? Book now >>>

Tramshed, Shoreditch

I’ve been meaning to review Mark Hix’s cow and chicken-themed restaurant for a while. If I’m honest I wasn’t sure the pictures were blog-worthy enough, bursting at the seams with all that chicken stuffing and steak sauce, a little messy and unappetising. But this post seemed an appropriate occasion to show you the huge portions and tasty but fuss-free food on offer at Shoreditch’s meaty eatery. I’d describe it as a foodie version of somewhere like TGI and really don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s loud and bustle-y with lots of tables full of families and great stuff to look at on the walls – think canvases of Cartoon Network’s Cow and Chicken (remember them!?), and oh, I don’t know, a huge dead cow in a tank of water. Hello, Damien Hirst.

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The menu is super simple, you’ll either be having steak or chicken. The chicken is a huge whole one for two people to share, complete with feet, which the waitress will cut off at your table should you wish. I had the steak (I no share) and Alex and his Dad went for the chicken. Both were juicy, pretty salty and oh god the sides were great and plentiful. Obviously the mains are the main attraction but I’d definitely recommend checking out the starters – buttermilk fried chicken wings with holy f mayonnaise – and the pud – anything but the cherry pie is a mistake in my book. All quite affordable too.

Interested? Book a table >>>

Monty’s Deli, Bermondsey

Moving away from restaurant-with-cutlery vibes, this salt-beef-stall-turned-open-air-canteen-under-a-railway-arch is a must for hungry foodies in need of no-nonsense sandwich options in the back streets of Bermondsey. Mark of Monty’s offers Jewish soul food made by hand – from their own salt beef and pastrami, crafted and cured by the team, to the homemade mustard and bagels. The portion sizes are so big I’ve seen grown men struggle and beg for another Ginger Beer to wash it down. In my humble opinion, The Full Monty is where it’s at, though the other options are pretty darn inviting too. My creation of choice is layers of salt beef and mustard with cheese and pickle and coleslaw cushioned by thick bread and features, like all the paper plates in this permanent-make-shift space, a large pickle on the side. Is there anything better than a plastic forkful of pickle after your lunch? Not cheap and the staff aren’t the fuzziest, but well worth it.

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In my humble opinion, The Full Monty is where it’s at, though the other options are pretty darn inviting too. My creation of choice is layers of salt beef and mustard with cheese and pickle and sauer kraut cushioned by thick bread and features, like all the paper plates in this permanent-make-shift space, a large pickle on the side. Is there anything better than a plastic forkful of pickle after your lunch? Not cheap and the staff aren’t the fuzziest, but well worth it.

Peckish? Head here >>> 

Desi Indian Food, Greenwich Food Market

This market stall in Greenwich is bloody good. And the ladies who dish up your grub are nothing short of generous and flexible with the rules – should you fancy a dollop of each delight, they’ll allow it. Options include lamb rogan josh, chana masala with rice, tomato-y lentils, curry-flavoured potatoes, chicken tikka and all manner of sauces and pickles to heat it up or cool it down. They have breads and samosas and side-y things too but I prefer the hot, stew-looking stuff, straight out of those huge silver cauldrons.

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The portion sizes are ridiculous – you cannot eat a whole box for lunch – and one overfilled tub costs approx £5. There’s nowhere to sit but that’s no matter, you’ll be completely unaware of all the market-goers trying to manoeuvre around you as you chow down on this mountain of food.

Planning a mosey around Greenwich? Head here after >>>

Where’s your go-to spot for filling food in London? Share your faves in the comments below 🙂

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Freelance writer, eater, drinker and cook living in London.

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