Here at London Cheapo, we get you. We know that spending money is one thing, wasting money is another – and nothing is more depressing than shelling out your hard-earned cash on a mediocre meal. We’ve gathered together contenders for the best curry in Soho & Covent Garden for when you’re in a potentially pricey part of town and need a reliably fabulous (but reasonably affordable) Ruby Murray.

Darjeeling Express

Whether you go for an a la carte lunche, thali dinner or their legendary Biryani supperclub, Asma Khan (of Netflix Chef’s Table fame) and her all-female kitchen of home cooks will welcome you like an old friend and feed you like royalty. Order whatever you like, it’s all fabulous – although the Tangra prawns and chilli cheese toasties have a special place in my heart if you can’t stretch to the supperclub. Not only contender for best curry in Covent Garden, but in the whole of London. Not to be missed – website.

Nearest Tube: Covent Garden

Candidate for best curry in soho, Gunpowder Indian Restaurant
Gunpowder | Photo by Gunpowder

Gunpowder Soho

Newest sibling of the Gunpowder family, with the same great value set lunch and pre-theatre menus and classic menu picks – venison doughnut, kashmiri lamb chops, soft shell crab – plus some hot new dishes such as the CPC prawn toast and a new weekday Express Lunch – a weekly special main dish and a glass of wine for £15. The fancier end of the dining scale but still very welcoming and relaxed – website.

Nearest Tube: Leicester Square

Kricket Soho

I love the counter seats here, where there is fast-paced kitchen theatre to match anything in Drury Lane. The Keralan Fried Chicken is a next-level crowd pleaser, the mussels are an absolute flavour bomb and the butternut squash will be ordered for the veggies in your group then stolen by everybody else. There is also a considered wine list and inventive £10 cocktails with spiced gin and rum, turmeric, pink peppercorns and Indian bay – website.

Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Cinnamon Bazaar

From Executive Chef Vivek Singh’s highly successful stable of restaurants comes the sassy, bright and bustling Cinnamon Bazaar. All-day dining with a melting-pot of a menu, there are bargain set lunch and early/late dinner menus and High Chai, an Indian-inspired afternoon tea if you want some sugar with your spice. From the main menu, their Rogan Josh Shepherd’s Pie, duck leg curry and selection of chaats are particular highlights – website.

Nearest Tube: Covent Garden

Tamarind Kitchen

Chilled-out little brother of grown-up Tamarind Mayfair, the food here is the same high quality but a little more modern and laid back. Beautifully plated as well as delicious, it’s as good for the ‘gram as it is for your wallet; the set-price thali lunch here is a steal at £20 – website.

Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road

The Delhi Brasserie

Two doors down from Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club on Frith Street is this classic curry house with all of your favourites on the menu. The restaurant has been a much-loved Soho institution for over thirty years and is a reliable stop if you’re after a classic tandoori or tikka masala – website.

Nearest Tube: Leicester Square

Dishoom Carnaby

Breakfast on the bacon naan roll and thank me later; it is both the ultimate set up for a productive morning at the office and the perfect offering to the hangover gods (or demons). Other must-haves from the menu include the chicken ruby and the house black daal but, to be fair, it’s all good. One of our top candidates for best curry in Soho (and also Shoreditch, and King’s Cross, and Kensington…) – website.

Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus

Hoppers Soho Interior
Photo by Hoppers Soho

Hoppers Soho

Slightly left-field suggestion as this is Sri Lankan rather than Indian (so many curries, so little time) but if you’re after a curry fix in Soho you need to know about this. Vibey, buzzy little place with the most amazing food: start with an egg hopper and a black pork kari and then have a play. You can’t go wrong – website.

Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road

Tandoor Chop House

North Indian canteen meets British chop house. Not your classic curry but they have the best coronation chicken caesar salad you’ll ever eat, bargain lunchtime thalis for a quick treat and Mighty Thalis on a Sunday that will feed a crowd. With tandoor-cooked mains and superb naans (garlic, cheese & green chilli, bone marrow), expect an elegant twist on the classics: onion bhaji rings with smoked aubergine raita, cauliflower croquettes with lime pickle mayo, Bombay Jersey Royals – website.

Nearest Tube: Charing Cross

The India Club

One of the most charming quirky time-warps in London, head up the stairs of the Strand for some of the best – and cheapest – South Indian cooking in the capital. The set menus (for a minimum of two people) are fabulous, cocktails in the bar are £8.50 (or two for £12 during happy hour) but enjoy browsing the menu hidden away from the bustle of the street. It’s a real gem – website.

Nearest Tube: Temple

Written by:
BIO: Freelance writer, flâneuse and former blogger at London Girl About Town, Amanda is dedicated to sharing the latest on London's restaurants, bars, hidden quirks and general wonderfulness.
Filed under: Eating & Drinking

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