Food & Drink

Best Bites – London’s Great Food Alternatives

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

As a Londoner and a hardcore foodie working in the West End, I find myself repeatedly saddened by the number of tourists and visitors we have coming to our amazing city who fall victim to the multiple tourist traps that lurk around every corner.

If visitors in London just looked around, or did a tiny bit of research, they’d find a vast array of incredible, independent, quirky, delicious restaurants where the menus do not consist of heavily MSG covered ribs, limp burgers, over-salted fries and rubbery steaks, but instead serve succulent BBQ’d pulled pork, juicy burgers, exotic curries, sweet home-baked pies and cakes.

For example, instead of taking your kids to TGI’s you could head to The Big Easy in Covent Garden, where they have an incredible lunch menu consisting of steaks, lobster, wings and BBQ meats for under £10, and as an alternate to Angus Steak House, you could visit Hawksmoor on Seven Dials where some of the best steaks in London are served.

You could forget all about Burger King & McDonalds and have one of the best burgers of your life at Honest Burgers in Soho! And oh, for the love of all that is decent in the world, bypass M&M world and go spend your money on some award winning chocolate at Paul A. Young’s on Wardour Street. Please, I beg of you, don’t fall into that brightly-coloured chocolate trap – you and your kids deserve better than that!

When you’re in one of the food capitals of the world, why wouldn’t you want to try some of the unique, exciting, delicious dishes that the city has to offer? It’s like flying First Class and not drinking the free Champagne; silly and a complete waste!

Caribbean Cuisine bringing sunshine to London

So with all that being said, why don’t I recommend a fantastic new restaurant that opened last month on Bedford Street in Covent Garden; Dub Jam.

Situated in what was once the cloakroom to the neighbouring Adventure Bar, this BBQ rum shack seeks to bring the sunshine of the Caribbean to your lunch or dinner – serving up jerk seasoned meats along with homemade Reggae Rum Punch & sides good enough to return to this place for alone!

The menu is simple, consisting of a choice of BBQ skewers & beach burgers. The skewers are the champions of this menu; in particular the Chicken and the Peppa Pig Pork Belly which are marinated for 48 hours prior to being BBQ’d and served. Tender doesn’t even begin to describe the meat, and the jerk flavours are intense, juicy and addictive.

There is a good choice of sides, but the best choice is the Sweet Potato Chips which are fluffy, sweet, chunky, and beautiful when dipped into the homemade salsa that comes with the skewers. Swallow this all down with a can of Reggae infused Rum Punch and tap your toes to the funky music coming from the huge speakers and you’ll leave this place with a feeling that you’ve spent your entire afternoon on the beach!

I don’t know a single chain restaurant that can give you that feeling, and I defy you to find one that serves food this good.


Dub Jam

Tel: 020 7836 5876

Location: 20 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9HP

Opening Times: Monday – Saturday: Midday to 12pm; Sunday: Midday to 10.30pm


The Big Easy

Tel: 020 3728 4888

Location: 12 Maiden Lane, Covent GardenLondonWC2E 7NA

Opening Times: Monday – Saturday: Midday – 11pm;  Sunday: Midday – 10.30pm



Tel: 020 7420 9390

Location: 11 Langley Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9JG

Opening Times: (Lunch) Monday – Saturday: Midday – 3pm

                          (Dinner) Monday – Saturday: 5pm – 10:30pm;  Sunday: Midday – 9.30pm


Honest Burgers

Tel: 020 3609 9524

Location: 4a Meard Street, London, W1F OEF

Opening Times: Monday – Wednesday: Midday – 11pm;  Thursday – Saturday: 11.45am to 11pm;

                          Sunday: Midday to 10pm


Paul A. Young

Tel: 020 7437 0011

Location: 143 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 8WA

Opening Times: Monday – Saturday: 10am to 8pm; Sunday: Midday to 7pm