London (Re)Calling 2 – Eating with a toddler on a budget


I am not an expert.
I claim no expertise except my own experiences in and around london during September 2008

feeding myself and a toddler was ambitious.
My son will eat mostly anything as long as he can try it and decide
I am reasonably open to eat most things, (except custard and banana.)

so to the strategy

tip 1
– eat breakfast at the hotel.
If your room includes breakfast eat it. you have paid for it.
If your room doesn’t include breakfast, buy it.
We had to buy it as an extra but it meant that at the beginning of the day, we would get up eat and out the hotel for a decent time.

tip 2
– use coupons
we eat with my freind matt. he l;ives in london and had recieved a coupon for 2 for 1 burgers at a london based chain. this cut ther cost of our meal significantly. if you are not in london this can be hard to get you hands on. try moneysavingexpert’s official coupons and discounts forums for some great information.
If you are looking for more fine dining restaurant deals check 5pm.co.uk (not a great range but decent)

tip 3
– use recommendations
In the in flight magazine on the way to london I read about Wahaca, a mexican restaurant opened by Thomasina Miers. (she won masterchef in 2005.) The in flight magazine said it had won an award for “Best cheap places to eat in london 2008. and her restaurant was in covent garden. It also mentioned that their was no advance bookings so you turn up queue and eat.

We went to covent garden but couldn’t find it. Using Rich’s-Tech-Allsupport-In-One© System. I managed to ge tthe address and locate it in relation to where I was.

Small hint.
If you do go with a toddler in a push chair, by using the push chair/wheel chair lift you miss the queue on the stairs.

anyway we got seated and the guys there took good care of us. The food was very good indeedand they serve the proper ginger beer. Woo and indeed Hoo.

tip 4
-use local knowledge
about 3 years ago one of my former bosses was talking to me about the big offices our church has in London. International HQ of The Salvation Army is a huge glass box on the walkway between Tate Modern / the Millennium Bridge to St Pauls. it is open, light, welcoming, and has a cafe which is open to the public, good value and good food. It is where the General, (the sort of pope of The Salvation Army), works. Quite cool really. In contrast the British HQ has controlled entry and getting in is not a welcoming process.

So 3 years later I went to check if it was true.
Yes it was

lunch for both of us, (soup x2, bread x2, juice x2, fruit banana), for around £10 which is stunning in Central London.
but the tip off paid off

SO by sticking to the four tips we managed to eat very well with no real hassle. Everywhere was very welocming and tried to really help us. It couldn’t have been easier to be honest. Listen to people, Follow good advice, read well and have fun.