At Squeezed Media, we’re lucky enough to be situated on Dean Street in Soho, London. Not only are we slap bang in the middle of a very creative district, we’re in walking distance of an enormous range of lunch spots.
You see, in order to create jaw-dropping animations and motion graphics, we need to eat well. So here’s a list of our favourite eight lunchtime spots in the area.
We used to have a real Italian person in the Squeezed Media team named Lockie. He claimed that the pizza at Soho Joe’s is better than anything he’s ever had in Italy.
Whether that’s true or if he was just being polite, we’ll never know. But one thing we do know for sure, is that the food at Soho Joe’s is tasty and served at a pretty competitive price.
Sure, it’s a no-frills experience, but the atmosphere is buzzy and there’s plenty of seats making it a perfect lunch destination for groups.
Top Tip? Go on Mondays for a 12″ pizza for a fiver and on Wednesdays for a £5 burger and chips.
22-25 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 3RY
Much like the food it’s named after, Bibimbap’s décor is a colour explosion. The menus and back wall are neon green and posters of various colourful K-pop bands and Korean movies cover the walls. It’s a world away from the stripped back aesthetic that’s been taking England by storm over the last few years – and for that, you’ve got to admire them.
It’s the food that’s the real winner, though. Call me unadventurous, but every time I go to Bibimbap I always end up ordering the same thing: vegetable and tofu bibimbap with a raw egg dropped in the middle.
Woah woah woah. Raw egg?
Don’t worry, I’m not as hardcore as I sound. Your food it bought to your table in a very hot stone bowl. So hot, in fact, that your food sizzles and cooks before your very own eyes.
Top Tip? Don’t touch the bowl, you maniac.
11 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 4DJ
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to feel a deep, burning love for Mildreds. This Soho institution has lasted for nearly fifty years now, and shows no sign of burning out.
The menu is constantly changing, offering a hugely diverse selection of vegetarian dishes using organic, seasonal produce throughout the year. It’s enough to win over the most ardent of meat-eaters – if only for one hour.
It’s bright and airy thanks to a huge skylight and well-placed mirror at the back of the room. Plants tumble out of their containers. It’s all very bijou and civilised; you’d never guess the place used to be a sex club.
Top Tip? Mildred’s doesn’t accept reservations, so it’s a first-come-first-served situation.
45 Lexington St, Carnaby, London W1F 9AN
Vegan. Probiotic. Wholesome. It’s 2016; I know what you’re thinking. Poured cement floor, exposed lighting, and cold, minimalist electronica. Nope. That’s not what’s Vantra’s about. Vantra is old school. Its good old fashioned, tree-hugging, flip-flop wearing veganism.
Vantra liked probiotics before they was cool.
There’s no doubt Vantra’s located in a pretty incongruous position. You know those open-front emoji-pillow vendors which blare music like Pitbull out onto the street? It’s right next to one of them. So resist the urge to power-walk as fast as possible away from the scene and you’ll be rewarded for your open-mindedness.
There’s an enormous spread of curries, dahls, salads, and cakes, all of which are dairy and meat free. There’s even probiotic kimchi for the hardcore.
Top Tip: You pay either a set price for a container or a price dependent on the weight of your food, so choose wisely…
25-27 Oxford St, Soho, London W1D 2DW
It took me a while before I checked this place out during a lunch break. I’d been once before, near closing hours, and no food was out. I took the minimalist décor and name of the place to mean it was a concept cafe that only focused on coffee.
How wrong I was.
Coming back another time, I found an array of super healthy salads and sourdough bread sandwiches laid out, as well as a tasteful selection of artisan cakes and cookies. As for the coffee? It’s great. You’d hope so with that name.
Top Tip: At £4.50, you’d expect the salmon salad to taste a bit dodgy. It doesn’t.
193 Wardour Street W1F 8ZF
With its polished brass surfaces, granite islands, and ceiling to floor windows, Princi looks a lot more expensive than it is.
Which is just as well because the food at this Milanese bakery and pizzeria is delicious. You’ll find distinctly North Italian pizza slices at £2.50 a slice, whilst a huge slab of classically made lasagna will cost you as little as £6. The aubergine parmigiana is an apt vegetarian substitute.
Top Tip: the ‘canteen’ system can get quite hard to navigate in the busier hours so try and go early… or late.
135 Wardour St, Soho, London W1F 0UT
So good, but, sadly, so expensive. And under-portioned. You’re possibly beginning to wonder why on earth I’ve included BAO on this list at all.
I’ve included it because the minimalist interior is cool and the food really is something else. If you’ve never eaten bao before, you might want to fix that. They’re essentially sweet and fluffy steamed buns that tend to be filled with something salty like pork or chicken and some crispy fried shallots.
And whilst BAO does serve a nice variety of its namesake, there’s a bunch of other inventive Taiwanese dishes available, too.
Top Tip: Go early, ie. 12ish for lunch if you want to get a seat.
53 Lexington Street, London W1F 9AS
Pit-Stop’s Berwick Street Van
Pit-Stop’s little white trailer has been a much-loved fixture in Berwick Street Market since 2008. Specialising in Pan Asian food, the menu is huge so there’s something to suit everyone.
The whole cooking process is a spectacle in its own right – the two chefs work in a kitchen that’s barely big enough for one.
Dave, one of our animators at Squeezed Media, has described the Singapore Noodles as ‘just heaven’, which is no surprise really considering it’s all cooked fresh.
Berwick St, Soho, London
And with that… Bon appétit!