Fancy a break from meat and the chance to stuff yourself for under £10? Then head to Drummond Street, near Euston station, with its unique collection of South Indian vegetarian (and probably, although I can’t guarantee this, vegan) restaurants.
There are four or five – all along a short street which also features food shops selling exotic vegetables which never appear in mainstream supermarkets.
To be truthful, there’s not a lot to choose between them as they all operate low cost eat as much as you like buffets at lunchtime with a more select menu service in the evening.
The lunch deal consists of around a dozen dishes for as little as £6.95. I went to Ravi Shankar – the name of the 1960s musician gives a clue to the date when Drummond Street turned vegetarian restaurant central. But I have been often to the virtually next door Diwana Bhel Poori House – a bhel poori (or puri) is Indian street food consisting of a mix of vegetables served with puffed rice. There are also dhosas (dosas) which is a sort of stuffed pancake.
The midday buffet (usually served until 2.30pm) offers these plus rice, naan breads, and naturally, loads of different vegetables including salads. In the evening, you can get an assortment of foods by asking for a “thali”, a big metal plate with half a dozen or so smaller dishes.
Don’t expect silver service or super comfort. You serve yourself including collecting knives and forks on the way. These restaurants have probably never been redecorated since they were opened around 50 years ago. But you don’t go there for five star luxury.
They don’t serve alcohol but most are happy to open bottles of beer or wine that you bring yourself. Otherwise, it’s the usual soft drinks plus lassi, a yogurt based drink that can be either salty or fruity (often mango).
The buffet includes pudding – most are best avoided although the gulab jamun can be good if you are not on a diet.
There may be no alcohol in vegetarian Druumond Street but along the road nearer Euston station, there’s The Bree Louise, a pub with a wider choice of real ales and genuine farmhouse ciders and perries (that’s a cider made with pears instead of apples) than probably any for miles around.
Nearest stations – Euston, Euston Square, Warren Street
Opening hours – variable but usually midday to 2.30pm and from 5pm to late at night. The Bree Louise pub stays open from 11.30am to 11pm.
Most restaurants in this street are cash only. And they generally won’t do reservations.