Secretly, we’re all after a bargain. I mean even not-secretly, we’re all after a bargain, aren’t we? And even for those of them who dine frivolously and swipe their black Amex with the same ferocious frequency with which I swipe my Boots Advantage card, trust me, they’re also secretly after a bargain.

Well, I make no secret of it. From Toptable discounts to TasteLondon specials and the mild fact that I am Chinese (the thrifters that we are), any bargain is better than none, and when I find a good one, far be it for me to withhold the precious information from you!

And so with that, I give you The Little Bay, where a full sized, full quality three-course lunch rings up at just under £12 per head.

No kidding.

It’s Friday and the girls at my office have organised lunch. Normally all over venue ideas, I was flattened by my workload last week and the responsibility of venue choice was relinquished and somewhere along the line, someone booked a table at The Little Bay in Farringdon.

I’d never even heard of the The Little Bay before, but a brief perusal of their menu on Friday morning sent the pink haired troll in my belly into rapturous tumbles, celebrating the impending deliciousness that was going to set me back the cost of a normal wrap+fruit+drink from Pret. Excitement plus. Plus. PLUS.

[It occurred to me that the teensy weensy price could mean either low quality products or minuscule portions, but I’m happy to report that it is neither. Good food, large portions – win :D]

So we arrived at The Little Bay and check out the menu (even though of course I’d already picked what I wanted). It’s an interesting menu, dabbled with European cuisine by Yoguslav chef Peter Ilic. I couldn’t really place the feel of the place either, with the interior decor ranging from Greek to Turkish and uh, they serve a Sunday roast. Let’s just call them pan-European.

Onto the food. We ordered our starters – Parsons pastry, goats cheese & beetroot tart and pig’s cheek for me, recommended by the wisdom that is the Twitterati – which at only £2.55 each, left us waiting in anticipation for what could potentially be the smallest or crappest or smallest and crappest meal we’ve ever had.

But as each starter was brought out, our fears were slowly put to rest. The Parsons pastry, smoked chicken, mushrooms and herbs encased in a light filo pastry was delightful in its clean and tasty flavour and for the price, two portions of filo pastry is honestly a bargain.

The goats cheese & beetroot tart also proved to be a fantastic deal – a full sized tart, complete with baked beetroot and topped with a generous slice of goats cheese.

But it was the pig’s cheek that won it for me. Two fat, juicy (and perfectly pinkly cooked) pieces of cheek served over garlic mash and topped with a slice of crispy smoked bacon. Tell me that doesn’t make you drool.

Starters didn’t disappoint, and the bar had just shot up for our mains. Not surprisingly, we all adored our mains too but you know what was shocking? My workmates, they said their mains were actually too big. Too big. At £6.45 each, having a meal which not only tastes good but is “too big” actually confuddles my little brain.

Anyway here’s a snapshot and first up, the culprit. The chicken surpreme, stuffed with minted mince lamb and served with lentils and a port wine jus. Again, not just one but two full portions of solid chicken breast, sinfully stuffed to the brink with mince lamb. The taste was good, but not my personal choice as I’m not into chicken breast nor lentils and not lamb when it’s all minced up.

Another main was the chicken breast with grilled vegetables (not on the online menu) which was delicious in all its simplicity and again, two large serves of chicken breast.

I, of course, was a little more luxurious (and really, to be able to be luxurious at £6.45 is a luxury in itself) and ordered the breast of duck, with steamed bok choi and a honey & ginger jus. A little nervous about the breast (I’m a leg girl, and always opt for the confit of duck leg) I have to say it was spectacular – moist, cooked to a dark pink with an ever-so-thin layer of fat. Oh and that little parcel next to the duck? No idea what that was. A little filo parcel of happiness is what I’ll call it.

At this point, we were sufficiently full but never one to let down the foodie team that is me and I and catty, I ordered dessert – white chocolate and pistachio parfait. I have to say my dessert looked the lamest out of all the others that we saw (the apple cake and profiteroles were massive servings and looked amazing) but really at £2.55, I need to just stop my whining.

My white chocolate and pistachio parfait was ok, and really more like ice cream, which I’m not complaining about. The pistachio flavour was a little synthetic so maybe don’t order this one. Go for the apple cake, it really did look incredible!

And there you have it. £2.55 + £6.45 + £2.55 totals something along the lines of £11.55 and yes I used a calculator because my math is like way worser than my English.

The Little Bay
171 Farringdon Road
Farringdon, EC1R 3AL
0207 278 1234

Little Bay on Urbanspoon

32 Thoughts on “best deal in London? The Little Bay Restaurant – three courses for under £12. no kidding.

  1. That’s remarkable… I can’t believe they don’t charge more than that. Pigs cheeks sound brilliant.

  2. I am well impressed! The food looks much better than when I visited a number of years ago – it looks like they’ve upped their game.

  3. I remember when they did a very special promotion of ‘pay as much as you like for as much as you want to eat’…worded a little more eloquently, but that was the idea. I ate 4 courses and had no idea how much I should put down, knowing I could get away with putting down nothing.
    ( I put down a tenner as my mate put down a fiver…)

  4. Sarah: I know, and seeing as they don’t cut on quality, portion or service, makes you wonder how much other places mark their prices up! Pigs cheek were DELICIOUS 😀

    Su-Lin: Yeh, I’d heard they were so-so a couple of years ago and so was a little apprehensive but it was actually a very nice meal. Obviously not the very best I’ve had but really very good at an unbelievable price.

    Holly: YES! They did that just last month again, apparently! Did you enjoy your meal?

  5. It looks a great deal and normally I don’t give a stuff about interior design. But really who did they put in charge of interior design? It looks really bad, its like they put a footballers wife in charge of it.

  6. Chicken stuffed with minced lamb sounds very odd indeed. The pig cheeks look great.

  7. Ok.Noted as one restaurant for us to check out when we are in London. We love dinning. 🙂

  8. Mr Noodles: LOL it is a bit garish isn’t isn’t it? And here I thought I was being diplomatic saying that it was confusing 😉

    Lizzie: The pigs cheeks was really very good. Something I’d expect from a much higher priced restaurant.

    The Cooking Ninja: Make sure you make a booking! 😉

  9. Wow, what a deal!

  10. Those pig cheeks haven’t lost their lustre since my last visit a couple of years ago where they did three courses for £7.95 if you ordered before 7pm (I think I’m remembering it right – surely it wasn’t that cheap..?)

    Their goose fat chips were also fab then and almost (and inadvertently) converted a staunch veggie who didn’t read the menu closely enough.

  11. Seriously???!!it was last year that I went!

  12. Laissez Fare: sure is 😉

    The Grubworm: Wow, inflation huh, three courses from £7.95 up to £11.55! Who’d have thunk!! Hehe.. well the pigs cheek was great thanks for the rec, but I didn’t have the chips! 🙁

  13. What a deal! And you get pudding too. Ok I gotta go!

  14. that is a good deal in London!

  15. diva: Indeedy you do! it’s all about the desserts 😉

    peteformation: I know, for London this is like a goldmine!

  16. We must have similar tastes Catty. I’m not a fan of chicken breasts and lentils either. I’m also a “leg girl”, lol. And not to finish without desserts. 😀

  17. Shayne on March 9, 2010 at 5:35 pm said:

    Hi catty! I came to your blog from TasteSpotting and ended up reading about a dozen pages. Great blog and writing. This place looks great for such a small price, if I ever get to London I will check it out!

  18. FlavorBoulevard: We do! I mean, who likes breasts anyway?? OK, don’t answer that. And yes, desserts are a must 😀

    Shayne: Well thank you for single-handedly upping my pageviews today! 🙂

  19. You really can’t beat Little Bay for value for money, it’s been a while but I used to go there all the time. Must go back soon.

    You wouldn’t want to walk in after taking mind altering substances though……

  20. Hi Catty! Thanks for stopping by the blog =)

    3 courses for £12?? I managed to spend more than that in Tescos this eve (and for very few days’ food — I can’t forward plan…) And it’s so central! Must check it out.

    Agree with the thrifters comment – found a really great value Japanese place the other day, and it was packed out with chinese people. 😉

  21. Food Urchin: LOL no, the decor is kinda crazy! Definitely good value and you should absolutely go back 🙂

    Jen: No problem, I LOVE your blog! What great value Japanese place??

    • I’ll do a write-up at some point, but it’s Eat Tokyo on Romilly Street – it’s no Dinings, but you can’t beat a decent tekka-don for £7.

      [Unrelated to this post, but: wow, it’s been a real matcha month so far in the blogworld… =) ]

      • Eat Tokyo, I’ve never noticed it on Romilly before – thanks for the tip, might wait for your write up first 😉 and yes, matcha boom in bloggersphere!

  22. wow what a great price and the food looks AMAZING!!


  23. missyhii on March 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm said:

    Wow..all these pictures make me hungry and it’s not even lunch time yet.
    Thanks for reviewing..might give it a try sometime this week!!

  24. Franca on March 10, 2010 at 9:32 pm said:

    This looks awesome,i’ll be there before you can say yum…
    In terms of best deal in London,though,i have to say that i had a fantastic 3 course meal for £10.95 at Maltings Cafe’ in Tower Bridge.
    Thanks for the tip!

  25. missyhii: Any food pr0n makes me hungry before lunch. Really bad idea to be reading food blogs then! 😉

    Franca: Ok you’re the second person who’s mentioned Maltings Cafe now, I think I really should check it out! 😀

  26. Oh my god, who ARE you? I just stumbled across your site and it’s freaking me out. Not only is my one and only and well-travelled stuffed toy named Catty (y not ie!) but I am Antipodean (Kiwi not Aussie though) Asian (Japanese not Malaysian though) living in Europe (Austria not England though) and um, when I lived in London I used to go to The Little Bay ‘cos my ass was broke and I was squatting at my friend’s place in Angel. It might not seem all that coinkydental but dude, I read all that in like, 30 seconds and twas quite a lot to take in.

    • LOL! Oooohh my golly god your comment had me rolling in giggling fits when I first saw it 🙂 You’re my TWIN! and I just read your blog and guess what?? I have ONE brother also!!!

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