WIN: £20 to spend on salt beef bagels and sides at The Bell & Brisket

The Duke bagel in all its glory at The Bell & Brisket. Photo: Katy Riddle

The Duke bagel in all its glory at The Bell & Brisket. Photo: Katy Riddle

The wonderful Bel behind The Bell & Brisket trading at The Barley Mow pub in Shoreditch, is offering one lucky London Cheap Eats reader the chance to win a tasty £20 to spend on their glorious salt beef bagels and sides.

Think great bread, amazing salt beef, crunchy pickles, tangy mustard, and blow torched cheddar. These guys use small and local producers who care about their products, and the beef is British and brined for them in north London. 

With that nifty £20 you can happily feed two. On with the feast!

How to Enter
 

1) Twitter - you must do all of the following

2) Instagram - you must do all of the following

  • Follow both the @brisketbel and @LDNCheapEats Instagram accounts
  • Like the competition post (look for the above image)
  • Tag the friend you would like to take in a comment under the post

3) Facebook - you must do all of the following

  • Like both the /TheBellAndBrisket and /ldncheapeats Facebook pages
  • Like the competition post (pinned to the top of our Facebook page)
  • Comment under the post and tag the friend you would like to take
  • Share the competition post

4) Email - you must do all of the following

  • Sign-up to the London Cheap Eats newsletter on our homepage
  • Send an email to leyla@londoncheapeats.com with the subject: The Bell & Brisket Competition entry
Bel Shapiro, founder of The Bell & Brisket

Bel Shapiro, founder of The Bell & Brisket

Closing date: 11pm on 17th March

You can enter across all channels, but only once for each. GOOD LUCK!

By the way, we interviewed the lovely Bel Shapiro behind The Bell and Brisket just recently, if you'd like a look.

T&C's

  • The prize is £20 to spend on bagels and sides at The Bell & Brisket in The Barley Mow pub in Shoreditch. Drinks are not included
  • The prize can be redeemed at any time during trading hours: Mon - Fri 12pm - 3pm and 5pm - 9pm, Saturday 2pm - 9pm. They do not trade on Sundays
  • The winner must contact The Bell & Brisket in advance via social media or email, to let them know when they plan to visit 
  • You must be over 18 years old to enter
  • There is just one winner, with one £20 credit up for grabs
  • The winner will be selected at random from all entries received across all channels, and the decision is final 
  • The winner will be notified within 7 days of the closing date 
  • If the winner does not respond to the notification within 7 days, the prize will be passed on to someone else
  • The prize is as stated: no cash alternatives are available
  • Entries submitted after the closing date and time will not be entered into the draw
  • Participants may enter across all four channels, but may only enter once via each channel
  • Participants who enter more than once on one channel will be removed from the draw entirely

10 QUESTIONS WITH: founders of Arancini Brothers, Big Dave and Little Dave

Big Dave (Director of Vegetarian Concerns) and Little Dave (Director of Meat-Related Arancini Issues) are the wizards behind Sicilian rice ball success story, Arancini Brothers; it's their arancini wraps that made it onto our list of London Cheap Eats.  

We had a good old chinwag with the two Daves, here's what they had to say.

Big Dave and Little Dave from Arancini Brothers

Big Dave and Little Dave from Arancini Brothers

1. Tell us briefly what your business is about

Its pretty simple really - serving good, easy, fast food, with a healthy and honest twist, at a great price. 

2. Tell us a bit about your background - where you've worked in the past and why you're doing this now.

Well, it's been quite a journey for both of us to be honest! We both started in the industry when we were 16 and never left. 

Big Dave is Australian with Scandinavian roots, and Little Dave is from New Zealand, so we marry up our native “antipodean” dining flair with some good, classic European food pretty nicely. 

After arriving in the UK in the mid 00's, Big D convinced Little D to come over to London after seeing a big gap in the market for reasonably priced, quality food. In 2009, we ventured out onto the streets with an Australian version of the traditional Sicilian arancini, and never really looked back.

Quickly realising Londoners wanted everything in some form of bread, we started wrapping the risotto balls and salad up and before we knew it, we were a big hit and began looking for our first site. Now with three locations, we're looking into franchising and expanding into retailing the risotto balls across the UK, and who knows, maybe beyond?

3. If you were out for an evening in London, where would we most likely find you?

Ah, that’s easy - good pizza and pasta. You can't go wrong with The Bite, a small place in Dalston. Cheap, with simple flavours that will make you smile every time.  

4. Where did you get the inspiration for your food / menu? 

We have always been big believers in doing things differently, and our backgrounds and the culinary traditions we have worked in fuel this. Basically, finding popular options but making them our way, and making them proper tasty!

Our inspiration always starts with vegetarians in mind, meat is always a second thought. We don't rely on the flavour coming from the meat - it's in our salads, stews and risotto balls.

Saying that though, all our meat is specially chosen to work and compliment the meal to the great delight of our carnivorous customers! 

pulled pork barbecoa arancini wrap from Arancini Brothers

pulled pork barbecoa arancini wrap from Arancini Brothers

5. Tell us an interesting fact about you that not many know.

Hmm, not sure how far we can go into this but, despite the urban legends, we are in fact not brothers. We're only related through the mysteries of the arancini - but don’t tell anyone.  

6. What's the most popular item on your menu?

Once upon a time, it used to be our lemon chicken wrap with classic mozzarella risotto balls (and don’t get us wrong, they are still awesome and very popular!)

But now, our risotto ball burgers and recently released vegan burger, are quickly taking the capital by storm! Its crazy to hear people saying they're better than the classic meat patty! 

7. What do you eat when you're off work and at home?

Big D – Fortunately, my wife is an amazing vegetarian cook. Anything she comes up with I'm very happy with, but if she is busy, it's vegemite and cream cheese toasties all the way.

Little D – I do cook at home pretty regularly, but can't say no to a bit of good home delivery from Zing Zing in K town once in a while. 

8. What's next for your business?

That’s a good question. We constantly get asked by customers if we are going to open more stores across London, and even beyond. I guess with this in mind, we really want to franchise the concept and potentially get the risotto balls into a retail pack so you can recreate Arancini Brothers at home! 

9. Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?

David Byrne for the music. Rick stein - love his clumsy cooking shows and he'd probably bring a nice bit of fish along too. Our mums. 

10.What’s your favourite London cheap eat?

Ahh, now that’s easy. Pacific Social Club, a café in Hackney E5. Best toasties in London. Don’t all go rushing there at once though, otherwise they may push up the prices!

 

Liked this? Then you'll probably enjoy our previous interviews too:

10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of Pilpel and Badolina, Uri Dinay
10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of Street Kitchen, Mark Jankel
10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of Monty's Deli, Mark Ogus
10 QUESTIONS WITH: owner of Park Road Kitchen, Sam Mousawi
10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of The Bell & Brisket, Bel Shapiro

10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of Pilpel and Badolina, Uri Dinay

Founder of Pilpel and Badolina, Uri Dinay

Founder of Pilpel and Badolina, Uri Dinay

Uri is the founder of falafel favourites Pilpel, as well as the healthy Mediterranean take away stop Badolina in Bishopsgate.

Both Pilpel's falafel salad with extras and Badolina's grilled chicken / lamb with salads made it onto our list of London Cheap Eats.

We had a very pleasant chat with Uri, here's what he had to say.

1. Tell us briefly what your business is about

Pilpel is all about serving fresh, healthy food with exceptional customer service, and lots of love.

2. Tell us a bit about your background - where you've worked in the past and why you're doing this now.

I worked for my grandfather from the age of 14 at his falafel stand in Israel. Later on when I was 20 years old, I moved to London and spent the first five years working in different jobs, and then five more years working as a sales manager for a food company distributing homous all around the UK.

The reason I am doing this now is because my grandfather wanted to retire back home in Israel, but none of his kids wanted to continue his legacy. I promised him that I would make him a legend and keep his legacy alive. Pilpel opened on the 5th of May 2009.

3. If you were out for an evening in London, where would we most likely find you?

You would most likely find me having a picnic with my kids at Alexandra Palace.

4. Where did you get the inspiration for your food / menu? 

My grandfather had a business back home for 60 years with his own secret recipe, which he himself inherited from his father. It's all about LOVE.

5. Tell us an interesting fact about you that not many know.

I am not a business man, I am an artist. I put lots of love into what I do.

6. What's the most popular item on your menu?

In a word... falafel!!

7. What do you eat when you're off work and at home?

When I am off work, I eat at one of my establishments (Badolina, Pilpel or Barraka). When I am at home, I eat lots of vegetables and whatever my wife puts on my plate.

8. What's next for your business?

Next for my business is making my grandfather a legend. In the city of London, the job is done. Now I'm looking at other areas.

9. Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?

Bob Marley, Ray Charles and Mahatma Gandhi.

10.What’s your favourite London cheap eat?

Pilpel, Badolina and Barraka of course!

 

Liked this? Then you'll probably enjoy our previous interviews too:

10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of Street Kitchen, Mark Jankel
10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of Monty's Deli, Mark Ogus
10 QUESTIONS WITH: owner of Park Road Kitchen, Sam Mousawi
10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of The Bell & Brisket, Bel Shapiro

WIN: £50 to spend on rotisserie chicken, sides and wine at Park Road Kitchen

Oh BOY, are we excited about sharing this awesome competition with you lot, our lovely readers.

The fabulous folk over at rotisserie chicken experts, Park Road Kitchen in Battersea, are offering one lucky London Cheap Eats reader the chance to win a whopping £50 to spend on their glorious rotisserie chicken and sides, and that can also include a bottle of wine!

Their birds are from Banham farm in Norfolk - they're marinaded and rotated over flames to golden perfection. As for sides, think roast potato wedges with sea salt and lemon thyme, basmati rice with saffron, cabbage slaw with spring onions, carrots with roasted harissa and honey, and the rest. 

the awesome Park Road Kitchen rotisserie chicken

the awesome Park Road Kitchen rotisserie chicken

With our expert maths skills, we've worked out you can feed about five people with that, and still saunter off with a bottle of Perrin Blanc. Get a few mates over, send someone over to Battersea to pick up the goods, get it home, and get on with the feast.

How to Enter
 

1) Twitter - you must do all of the following

2) Instagram - you must do all of the following

  • Follow both the @parkroadkitchen and @LDNCheapEats Instagram accounts
  • Like the competition post
  • Tag the friend(s) you would like to take in a comment under the post

3) Facebook - you must do all of the following

  • Like both the /parkroadkitchen and /ldncheapeats Facebook pages
  • Like the competition post (pinned to the top of our Facebook page)
  • Comment under the post and tag the friend(s) you would like to take
  • Share the competition post

4) Email - you must do all of the following

  • Sign-up to the London Cheap Eats newsletter on our homepage
  • Send an email to leyla@londoncheapeats.com with the subject: Park Road Kitchen Competition entry

Closing date: 11pm on 2nd March

You can enter across all channels, but only once for each. GOOD LUCK!

By the way, we interviewed the lovely owner of Park Road Kitchen, Sam Mousawi, just recently if you'd like a little gander.

T&C's

Sam Mousawi, owner of Park Road Kitchen

Sam Mousawi, owner of Park Road Kitchen

  • Prize is £50 to spend on rotisserie chicken, sides and up to one bottle of wine. Does not include daily specials
  • Park Road Kitchen only has six stools, so this is mostly a take away place. If choosing the wine, this must be drunk off site as they only have an alcohol off license
  • The prize can be redeemed at any time, but the winner must contact Park Road Kitchen in advance via email, to let them know when they plan to visit 
  • You must be over 18 years old to enter
  • There is just one winner, with one £50 credit up for grabs
  • The winner will be selected at random from all entries received across all channels, and the decision is final 
  • The winner will be notified within 7 days of the closing date 
  • If the winner does not respond to the notification within 7 days, the prize will be passed on to someone else
  • The prize is as stated: no cash alternatives are available
  • Entries submitted after the closing date and time will not be entered into the draw
  • Participants may enter across all four channels, but may only enter once via each channel
  • Participants who enter more than once on one channel will be removed from the draw entirely

PRESS: Cheap alternatives to London's fanciest restaurants, with Skyscanner

Smoked short rib sandwich from Zelman Meats. Photo: Chris Keeling

Smoked short rib sandwich from Zelman Meats. Photo: Chris Keeling

Being the London cheap eat connoisseurs that we are, we were asked a very good question by our friends over at leading global travel search site Skyscanner: "Do you have any suggestions for cheap alternatives to some of the city's most prestigious restaurants, that don't compromise on quality?".

The team put their heads together and came up with five belters, an article which makes up part of Skyscanner's The Locals' Food and Travel Guide series.

You can check out what we came up with here - let us know what you think and more importantly, if you try any!

PRESS: How to take pictures of food... properly, with Tabl

coffee and doughnuts from Leyla's Instagram account

coffee and doughnuts from Leyla's Instagram account

Ever wanted some pointers on how to take a decent picture of your dinner?

The lovely folk from Tabl, the new home for pop-up kitchens, “secret” supper clubs and food adventures, asked London Cheap Eats founder Leyla a few questions about how to take good pictures of food.

Includes overcoming uncooperative lighting, making food look good enough to eat, equipment, and a little more.

You can read the full interview here - let us know if try out any of the tips!

10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of Street Kitchen, Mark Jankel

Founder of Street Kitchen, Mark Jankel

Founder of Street Kitchen, Mark Jankel

Mark is the founder of Street Kitchen, who have recently opened a fourth site over in London Fields; it's their glorious hot roast chicken sandwich that made it onto our list of London Cheap Eats. We had a lovely chat with Mark, here's what he had to say.

1. Tell us briefly what your business is about

Slow Food, Fast. Real chefs serving restaurant quality food using natural and organic UK ingredients. Our food is super accessible; it's served in minutes and it's at street food prices.

2. Tell us a bit about your background - where you've worked in the past and why you're doing this now.

Environmentalist, turned chef in high-end French restaurants, turned street food trader, turned entrepreneur. 

3. If you were out for an evening in London, where would we most likely find you?

I love some of the more obscure Chinese dishes on the menu at HK Diner on Wardour Street - their baked eggs are epic.

Otherwise, I have been trying the new wave of Israeli food in London - The Palomar, Honey & Co, The Good Egg - as we are launching a Middle Eastern brunch and an evening sharing menu at the new arch in London Fields.

4. Where did you get the inspiration for your food / menu? 

It's all about 'Edible Soul' - if you don't feel stirred by eating our food, we haven't done our job. The dishes are inspired by the ingredients - we only source natural free range meat directly from UK farms, so we start with amazing ingredients and treat them with respect.

We are all about flavour first and presentation later. I spent a year forging relationships with farmers who believe in great animal husbandry, and who farm in a natural and sustainable way.

5. Tell us an interesting fact about you that not many know.

My first culinary experiment was at five years old when I tried to make chicken ice cream. At the time it made perfect sense - mix my two favourite things. The results were not so impressive.

6. What's the most popular item on your menu?

Crispy chicken salad, warm crushed potatoes, pickled red onions, bacon, croutons, soft lettuce, rosemary vinaigrette, Old Winchester Mayo - it is addictive.

7. What do you eat when you're off work and at home?

My wife's meatballs are the most amazing food on the planet - I could eat them every day without getting bored. They encapsulate the essence of 'Edible Soul'; it is impossible to eat them without making an 'mmmmmm' sound.

8. What's next for your business?

More sites building on the products that we have developed over the last four years. Investment into our supply chain to allow us to maintain the direct link as we scale.

9. Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?

Wendell Berry (Wendell would be talking), Miles Davis (Miles would be playing), Thomas Keller (Thomas would be cooking).

10.What’s your favourite London cheap eat?

I love Tong Kanom on Harrow Road, an amazing little Thai Cafe. And Alounak on Westbourne Grove; I love their yoghurt marinated chicken skewers.

 

Liked this? Then you'll probably enjoy our previous interviews too:

10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of Monty's Deli, Mark Ogus
10 QUESTIONS WITH: owner of Park Road Kitchen, Sam Mousawi
10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of The Bell & Brisket, Bel Shapiro

10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of Monty's Deli, Mark Ogus

Mark Ogus from Monty's Deli

Mark Ogus from Monty's Deli

Mark is the owner, founder and co-cook over at salt beef and pastrami mecca Monty's Deli in Bermondsey; it's the reuben sandwich for £5/£8 that made it onto our list of London Cheap Eats. We threw a few questions Mark's way, here's what he had to tell us.

1. Tell us briefly what your business is about

We are an authentic Jewish deli. We make all the meats, bagels, mustard, soup, latkes, knishes, babkas and much more, all from scratch each week, to serve from our railway arch in Bermondsey every weekend.

For the items that we don't have the time or equipment to make, we use the best suppliers such as Vadasz Deli for our sauerkraut, and Sally Clarke Bakery for our excellent rye bread.

2. Tell us a bit about your background - where you've worked in the past and why you're doing this now.

I was a musician for many years and then when that ended, I worked as a commis chef in a busy London restaurant for around six months. I really wanted to work with food but not in the traditional kitchen environment, so I started Monty's.

3. If you were out for an evening in London, where would we most likely find you?

Probably shovelling large amounts of Szechuan food into my mouth in Soho somewhere.

4. Where did you get the inspiration for your food / menu? 

I am enthralled by the Jewish deli and its history. Especially Jewish culture in big American cities. I've been to lots of them in New York/Brooklyn and Los Angeles, and I find the atmosphere so welcoming and comforting. I wanted to create a little reflection of that in London where I've grown up, and always missed that same feeling.

We always try to take a traditional dish and make it taste the best it possibly can, with the best ingredients, made from scratch, with love and care. That is soul food.

5. Tell us an interesting fact about you that not many know.

I once played on Top of the Pops.

6. What's the most popular item on your menu?

The Reuben or Reuben Special special. However, I always recommend just fatty salt beef (or pastrami), bread and mustard. We call that one "The Mensch". That's my favourite.

7. What do you eat when you're off work and at home?

Biscuits, biscuits and more biscuits.

8. What's next for your business?

An outpost somewhere in central London that's open seven days a week.

9. Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?

God, Satan and Death.

10.What’s your favourite London cheap eat?

Roadkill.

 

Liked this? Then you'll probably enjoy our previous interviews too:

10 QUESTIONS WITH: owner of Park Road Kitchen, Sam Mousawi
10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of The Bell & Brisket, Bel Shapiro

10 QUESTIONS WITH: owner of Park Road Kitchen, Sam Mousawi

Sam is the man behind Park Road Kitchen in Battersea; it's the half a roast chicken with wedges for £8 that made it onto our list of London Cheap Eats. We had a good old natter with Sam, here's what he had to tell us.

Sam Mousawi, founder of Park Road Kitchen in Battersea

Sam Mousawi, founder of Park Road Kitchen in Battersea

1. Tell us briefly what your business is about

Park Road Kitchen is a rotisserie and deli that offers healthy, fresh food to go. So often in London, people don’t have time to cook and PRK has affordable food that you can grab on your way home from work, or when you’re having lazy Sunday but still fancy a good roast!

2. Tell us a bit about your background - where you've worked in the past and why you're doing this now.

Being British-Iraqi means I’ve worked all over the place, in the Middle East as well as in England. I worked in property management in London for many years, but have always had a passion for food, and spent a period of time working at my sister’s coffee shop Mouse & de Lotz in Dalston.

I wanted to get experience working with food as I knew eventually I wanted to open my own restaurant or deli.

3. If you were out for an evening in London, where would we most likely find you?

Barrafina, Frith Street.

4. Where did you get the inspiration for your food / menu? 

Food is a huge part of Middle Eastern culture, we spend a lot of time cooking and a lot of time eating together! Over the years I have developed a natural love of cooking and in particular Arabic food, so I guess our food is inspired a lot by Middle Eastern favours and ingredients. We do like to mix it up sometimes and may have a good solid British dish like a meat and potato pie.

When I worked in property I often didn’t have that much time to cook, so I would eat a roast chicken with a chilli soy sauce dip (that my dad taught me), a salad, and some flat bread - really simple and quick, and I thought it made a great idea for a business. One day I found this site in Battersea and snapped it up.

5. Tell us an interesting fact about you that not many know.

I sing Stevie Wonder's "Don't you worry 'bout a thing" in the shower every day, and have done for about 20 years. Its my mantra.

6. What's the most popular item on your menu?

Chicken and roast potatoes, but the pork belly lunch special on a Friday sells quickest. It flies out.

pork belly lunch special at Park Road Kitchen

pork belly lunch special at Park Road Kitchen

7. What do you eat when you're off work and at home?

It ranges depending on time and my mood. Sometimes I’ll keep it very simple and just make some teriyaki salmon with purple sprouting broccoli and rice. Other nights I’ll make fresh pasta - and maybe do a butternut and sage ravioli.  If I have a whole day off I love baking bread.

8. What's next for your business?

We have just got a mobile rotisserie trailer, so we’ll be taking it to events, markets and festivals. Watch this space…

9. Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?

My siblings Nadya, Dina and Nabeel because I just don't get to see enough of them, and we all love eating.

10.What’s your favourite London cheap eat?

The salt beef sandwich at The Dairy Deli. You can even get a black coffee with it and its still only £8.

 

Liked this? Then you'll probably enjoy our previous interview too:

10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of The Bell & Brisket, Bel Shapiro

GUIDE: five cheap eats in London for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day meals don't have to be about clambering to secure a table for a pricey special menu at the hottest spot in town. The best meals are often made so by good food and great company, and we can certainly help with the former.

Here's our pick of where to eat for cheap in London on Valentine's Day, for you and your special someone. We'd recommend taking the money you saved on a meal and spending it on a little gift for maximum brownie points.

You can thank us later.

Agile Rabbit in Brixton

Agile Rabbit in Brixton

1) ROMANTIC: CALZONE WITH PARMIGIANA | AGILE RABBIT | BRIXTON SW9

We loved the small calzones at this quaint little Brixton joint. And because sharing is caring, and to really fill you up, you should also get the unashamedly cheesy aubergine parmigiana between the two of you.

Wrap up well, find a quiet corner inside under the fairy nights, and enjoy a great evening together.

2) BRUNCH: SKILLET HOT SMOKED MEAT HASH | HOT BOX | SPITALFIELDS E1

As Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday this year, a daytime brunch date is very acceptable. Nay, desired. It means you can get up late, fit two meals into one, and spend the rest of the day wondering around enjoying the sights of our beautiful city, hand in hand, we're guessing.

Hot Box does an exceedingly tasty hash of fried potatoes with a a variety of smoked meats (including beef, pork and sausage), all topped with a fried egg, for £8. And on Sundays, it's available way beyond normal brunch hours, until 6pm. Just the ticket.

pasta from Fiddie's

pasta from Fiddie's

3) WITH WINE: PASTA OR PIZZA PLUS WINE | FIDDIE'S | SWISS COTTAGE NW3

A little social lubrication is rarely a bad idea when it comes to a date, especially if you've only just started seeing someone.

Fiddie's in Swiss Cottage does a great lunch deal that stretches into the weekend, where you can choose any pasta or pizza item from the menu, and include a glass of wine, for just £7.90.

big bowl of Big Plate Chicken at Silk Road

big bowl of Big Plate Chicken at Silk Road

 

 

 

4) TO SHARE: BIG PLATE CHICKEN | SILK ROAD | CAMBERWELL SE5

If you're after heat and bold flavours to get your Valentine's date all in a tizz, you can't go far wrong with the Xinjiang cuisine available at Silk Road in Camberwell.

The enormous bowl of Big Plate Chicken for £15 is meant to share between two, with a huge amount of broth, intensely flavoursome chicken on the bone, potatoes and chillies, along with slippery handmade 'belt nodles'.

With that extra £1 making a hole in your pocket, we suggest getting a skewer of lamb shish, coated in cumin, chill and salt. Your date will be most impressed with your knowledge of regional Chinese cuisine.

mixed shawarma wrap, dolma and pickles at Maroush Beirut Express

mixed shawarma wrap, dolma and pickles at Maroush Beirut Express

5) LATE NIGHT: MIXED SHAWARMA WRAP PLUS SHARED SIDE | MAROUSH BEIRUT EXPRESS | EDGWARE ROAD W2

Don't fancy joining the hoards all going out to dinner at the same time on Valentine's Day? We don't blame you. In which case, a late night option might be what you're after, and there are few places that stay open as late for food as the strip of Middle Eastern restaurants found on Edgware Road.

Our favourite pocket-friendly place is Maroush Beirut Express, for excellent food right up until 2am, even on a Sunday night.

It's impossible to go wrong with the mixed shawarma wrap at £5, plus it comes with a portion of blushed and piquant pickled vegetables and chillies. But to fill you both up and for any excuse to share, also order a portion of six fat dolma between the two of you for £5, and you'll be well satisfied. We'd advise asking the staff to go easy on the garlic sauce, however, to avoid any potential disappointment at not getting a snog that evening. 

10 QUESTIONS WITH: founder of The Bell & Brisket, Bel Shapiro

Bel is the force behind street food venture The Bell & Brisket, currently in permanent residence at The Barley Mow pub in Shoreditch; it's The Duke Bagel that made it onto our list of London Cheap Eats. We had a lovely chinwag with Bel, here's what she had to say.

Bel Shapiro from The Bell & Brisket

Bel Shapiro from The Bell & Brisket

1. Tell us briefly what your business is about

Very good question. I wish I knew! The Bell & Brisket is a modern slant on the old school salt beef bagel. We've basically pimped it up within an inch of its life and reintroduced it to the streets of London.

We started out as a street food operation and now have a permanent home in the kitchen of the Barley Mow in Shoreditch. 

2. Tell us a bit about your background - where you've worked in the past and why you're doing this now.

I trained in Theatre Design and worked a bit as an art director for music videos and bit of TV. A slightly unusual path led from there to street food via working in event production, to launching a new takeaway brand, and then going it alone with The Bell & Brisket.

I'm doing this now mainly because I am probably unemployable! After my last job, I vowed never to work for anyone again. Plus, this is the most creative thing I've ever done in my life.

3. If you were out for an evening in London, where would we most likely find you?

Probably a street food event. Or a colleague's pop-up, or a pub. I spend a lot of time in pubs it seems. Mainly for work and research purposes, you understand.

4. Where did you get the inspiration for your food / menu? 

The original idea was based very much on the traditional East End salt beef bars; I used to serve ox tongue and everything! I started the business as the street food scene was taking off and at the time, no one was doing anything with salt beef bagels. Along the way I met amazing suppliers such as Vadasz Deli whose pickle products made sense beside mine, so a menu started to evolve from there.

5. Tell us an interesting fact about you that not many know.

I suffer from trypophobia (Ed - that's a pathological fear of holes or circular shapes in clusters, for the 99.9% of you wondering).

6. What's the most popular item on your menu?

The Lord Rupert (Ed - with pickled cabbage, dijon mayo, melted Cheddar and dill pickles). Closely followed by The Duke (Ed - with tomato chipotle sauce, pickled onions, melted Monterey Jack cheese, jalapeño sour cream and Hot Roots).

7. What do you eat when you're off work and at home?

My fridge is empty. I am a disgrace. I can be found gnawing on Ryvita and cheese and Branston pickle. Terrible confession of a food trader there.

8. What's next for your business?

I'm concentrating on private events and building the business at The Barley Mow at the moment. The idea of a bricks and mortar premises is always in the back of my head...

9. Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?

Jim Henson, Woody Allen, and Tracey Ullman.

10.What’s your favourite #londoncheapeat?

Spit and Roast. They can do no wrong. I have a massive crush on both of them.

TEAM: Kar-Shing's birthday celebrations 🎉

It's not every day a member of the London Cheap Eats team celebrates their birthday, so when that time does comes around, we like to let everyone know about it.

On Sunday, our fantastic intrepid culinary explorer Kar-Shing got a little bit older and none the wiser, celebrating the only way he knows how, with great friends and great food. A big group of his nearest and dearest headed down to Clapham to gorge on gooey Cheese Truck London grilled cheese sandwiches at The King & Co Pub (it's the last day of their month-long residency tomorrow), and stuff themselves silly with a gargantuan and glorious cake from My Sweet Tooth Factory.

Chocolate banana sponge with triple-layered chocolate ganache, filled with peanuts and caramel, coated with a final layer of peanut butter, and topped with caramel peanut butter brownies and chopped peanuts. The party made light work of it.

When asked what this year holds for him, Kar-Shing responded in true form: "I'm going to cheap eat the hell outta London!"

Thanks to London Cheap Eats team member Matt, and photographer and friend of the team Ian Sargent (here's his awesome food photography portfolio), for capturing the evening.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAR-SHING!

- Leyla

photo by Ian Sargent

photo by Ian Sargent

all images Matt Hickman, except the sandwich which is Ian's

all images Matt Hickman, except the sandwich which is Ian's

NEWS: MAGIC BREAKFAST CHARITY INSTAGRAM CAMPAIGN

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London Cheap Eats took part in an Instagram campaign this week, by sharing a picture of empty dishes to help raise awareness of the half a million children in the UK who go to school without breakfast each day.

Without a nutritious and filling start to the day, children are unable to concentrate in lessons, acting as a barrier to their education.

The Magic Breakfast charity believes there is a solution to this, but they need your help. For just 22p a day, a child can enjoy a protein-enriched bagel, porridge, low-salt and sugar cereals and fruit juice, to give them the necessary #FuelForLearning.

If you would like to show your support, please text MBBW02 £2 to 70070, which will donate £2 to Magic Breakfast so they are able to supply nine more children with a nutritious breakfast.

Thank you 🌠

TEAM: Website launch curry and beer outing

The team took to the streets of Whitechapel this week to celebrate the launch of the long-awaited, hotly-anticipated (we like to think so) London Cheap Eats website. The classic cheap eat Lahore Kebab House just off Commercial Road was our chosen venue (coming to the website soon), with a feast of great lamb chops, kebabs and curries, fantastic breads, a BYO flagon of good Beavertown Skull King Double IPA, and a bottle of less good prosecco from the corner offy.

With full stomachs calling for something a little stronger, Matt's unparalleled ability to sniff out a great bar lead us to the wonderfully pretty Wilton's Music Hall close by in Shadwell. We managed to sneak in a few negronis just before last call, sat around chatting all things future London Cheap Eats to a backdrop of soulful jazz and fairy lights, and felt pretty pleased with the evening and all we had achieved so far.

Thank you to all the early adopters, sharers and likers, those who've helped spread the word, and to our featured vendors for turning out great food for cheap in our marvellous city.

- Leyla 

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