London's Best Quick Lunches

By Lydia Manch Last edited 6 months ago
London's Best Quick Lunches

Feeling the need for speed? We've rounded up the places in London where you won't have to choose between a quick lunch and a good lunch.

Say hello to Kimchinary.

Kerb, Camden

This street food market's a moving target, but they've got a foothold at Camden Market — seven days a week, from 11am. The line-up of traders rotate, but for a fast, portable lunch watch out for Kimchinary, with their Scandi-Korean take on burritos. Or Bill or Beak, whose pork and duck burgers and rosemary fries are all of your quick-lunch dreams come stickily true.

Kerb, check website for latest locations and times

Rotisserie chickens at Chicken Shop.

Chicken Shop, Kentish Town

Rotisserie chicken is tacit permission to eat like a wolf. It's hard to stand on ceremony with a food with which cutlery's only going to get you so far. That works in your favour at Chicken Shop when you're looking for a fast lunch — tearing through your food at a rate of knots with pieces of charcoal-roasted chicken in both hands isn't going to set you apart from most of the punters here.

There are Chicken Shop outposts scattered across London for you to get your rotisserie fix, but the Kentish Town one has the advantage of their sister restaurant Dirty Burger under the same roof — their cheeseburgers make for a fast, brilliant lunch as well.

For other quick chicken pitstops try the chicken burger from Lucky Chip in Camden and Islington and Rudie's in Dalston for charcoal-smoked jerk-marinaded chicken.

Chicken Shop, 79, Highgate Road, NW5 5TL

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A souvlaki from Hungry Donkey.

Bánh Mi Bay, St Paul's  

The Vietnamese baguettes at this central chain are freshly baked every morning and filled with pickled carrots, chilli and your choice from their range of meats marinated in lemongrass, soy or satay. Slammed together in front of you at high speed, and with high dexterity.

For quick bánh mi hits in other parts of London, try Panda Panda in Deptford or Keu in Old Street.

Banh Mi Bay, 33, Cannon Street, EC4M 5SB. See website for other locations

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Hungry Donkey, Aldgate

This Greek canteen's got everything you want for a high velocity lunch — big portions of mezze, hot, grilled meat souvlaki and a bright, light-flooded corner spot near Petticoat Lane Market. Large windows and a bit of outdoor space for tables mean even if you can't drag yourself away from the desk for long at lunchtime you'll be able to cram in a decent amount of daylight.

For fast Greek lunches in other corners of London, try the revithosoupa lunch boxes (chickpea stew) at The Greek Larder in King's Cross, or the grilled meat skewers from the Souvlaki Street stall — see website for locations. Also check out our round up of London's souvlaki.

Hungry Donkey, 56, Wentworth Street, E1 7AL

A wrap at Chifafa.

Chifafa, Farringdon

Chifafa do some of the best kebab wraps in town, made with ethically-sourced meat, and ready in a matter of minutes. By kebab standards they're reasonably healthy - with a 'no doners, no deep fat frying' manifesto - so you won't be sacrificing virtue at the altar of speed.

If you're in the market for other quick wraps, try Chilango for reliably good burritos and the Kati Roll Company for spicy, chicken-stuffed paratha wraps.

Chifafa, 41-45, Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5RS

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The wrap at Mr. Falafel.

Mr Falafel, Shepherd's Bush

Falafels: filling and reasonably cheap — the quick lunch of champions. Also fast to cook, and in the hands of an expert — which they definitely are at Mr Falafel — packaging them into wraps with hummus, fried aubergine, pickles and chilli sauce is the work of seconds. So even when the queue looks daunting, you can be in, out and clutching your #4 (falafel and spicy potatoes wrap) like a whirlwind.

For great falafels in other parts of London, try Pilpel in E1 or E.Mono at 257, Kentish Town Road.

Mr Falafel, Unit T4, New Shepherds Bush Market, W12 8LH

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Viet Pho, Soho  

There's usually a sense of hustle to the service at Viet Pho, the bill often presented while you're still face-deep in noodles. So it's not a place for a relaxing lunch. But it's hard to do better when you want excellent ramen, and to order, eat and settle up at lightning speed.

For other good high-speed noodle soups, try Mama Lan in Clapham or Brixton.

Viet Pho, 34, Greek Street, W1D 5DJ

Grab a slice at Voodoo Ray's.

Voodoo Rays, Dalston

Fast and furiously hot, straight out of the oven, the pizzas at Voodoo Ray's are NY-style, foldable slices. It's counter service, so you can, if you have to, do this as an eat-and-run. If you can stretch your lunch break out a little longer, they have seating and the option to order whole 22" pizzas to share. Experience has taught us it still won't take long to turn that into just a memory and crumbs.

If you’re needing a more central pizza by the slice, try Maletti in Clerkenwell and Princi in Soho.

Voodoo Rays, 95, Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB. See website for other locations

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Big Apple Hot Dogs, Euston

A few years ago the only reason to visit Euston station would be a train. Guaranteed now that some of the crowds outside the station at lunchtime are there for the hot dogs, rather than the transport links. When they turn up at festivals and events the queues outside their stalls get frenzied like a mosh pit. Thankfully it's a bit more orderly at the permanent shop on the piazza outside Euston station - collect your Big Dog with extra pickles.

For other great hot dogs try the chilli dog at Meat Mission in Hoxton or the roving Popdogs - see their website for locations.

Big Apple Hot Dogs, 42, Euston Station, NW1 2DN

Last Updated 24 February 2017