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Top Student Eats, by Louis Walters

Cheap cool eats in London and Leeds

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As the office’s student placement/designated debt amasser, London can be a tricky one. Work chatter frequently turns to outstanding openings and desirable dining, whilst I’m sure Simon Rogan’s new tasting menu is to die for, I simply do not have the pennies. However, there are still plenty of places where you can have a brilliant nibble, keep your Instagram followers engaged and all without having to plead with your parents for some funding to subsidise your newfound, uber-trendy lifestyle. So here are some top student spots on a budget, and don’t worry Leeds folk, we have you covered as well.

Baba G’s – Brixton, London

Some love it, some hate it, but one thing you can’t dispute about the shipping container mecca that is Pop Brixton is the great food offerings. The stand out for me is Baba G’s and their Indian style burger food. Jalfrezi flavoured lamb and onion bhaji in a seeded bun? Yes, please. Spice-coated chips with a mango drizzle? Go on then. Whether it be a weekend hangover cure or a quick bite before you see that up-and-coming Indie band at Brixton Academy, G’s has you covered.

Caravanserai – Crown St., Leeds

Hidden next to the corn exchange is this colourful hotspot, surrounded by small, independent shops that attract the hippest of hipsters, so bring your A-game. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner through the week, this Ottoman feast is bound to engage the senses, with delicious, visually gripping plates for carnivores and veggies alike. You can order takeaway from a window on the bottom floor, alternatively sneak upstairs to the small seating area, packed with more candelabras and rugs than your nan’s loft.

Beigel Shop – Brick Lane, London

Brick Lane is exhausting, and after a day of posing in front of graffiti and trying on vintage jeans, you are bound to be crying out for something to restore your energy levels. Biegel Shop is the place to go, having served mouth-watering, salt beef filled bundles of goodness for over a century. I would be lying if I said I haven’t purposely cut a night out short and made the excursion, and for less than a fiver, my friends should be completely understanding. The best thing about it is it’s open 24/7, so lace up your Reebok Classics and get yourself down there.

Chida Cantina – Cross Belgrave St., Leeds

Located at the end of a dead-end road, only people in the know make it to this Mexican hangout. Open till late, the bar offers a unique take on some classics, including three different kinds of Margarita, so at least one’s bound to put you on the right track for the long night ahead. With a student hotspot just a few doors down, your new pre-drinks spot is sorted, with drinks and food being very student friendly (cocktails start at £7.50). Also, every six months (ish) a different restaurant takes over the kitchen tenancy, keeping you on your toes for many evenings to come.

Bao – Soho, London

Nestled down one of Soho’s many narrow streets is this thirty-capacity haven. Bao buns are the specialty (clue’s in the name), ranging from duck confit to pork belly with some fab vegan options thrown in for good measure. Individual Bao’s are around the £5 mark, whilst their three-course lunch deal comes in at £15 and more than fills you up. Drinks-wise the Peanut Milk is a real treat and makes you feel young again. Most importantly, the food looks great (perfect for your social media stories), which is all that truly matters at the end of the day – just be prepared to queue.

Belgrave Music Hall – Cross Belgrave St., Leeds

The most famous hotspot in Leeds and full to the brim with students and young professionals, this place has you got your back from dawn till dusk. Spread over three floors, start early with a coffee before moving up to a craft beer or two, paired with a treat from their pop-up burger and pizza stands. The middle floor is an event space, hosting everything from DJ sets to yoga sessions. Finish on the roof terrace with whoever has made it this far, cocktail in hand. No frills, plenty of spills.

Joe Public – Clapham Common, London

Situated behind Clapham Common station, Joe Public is that slice of New York delicacy you have been crying out for, pun intended. This spot does it the old-fashioned way, by the slice, eat in or take away. The free wifi makes it great for a casual drop in on an indulgent Saturday afternoon, whilst its midnight closing time provides a warm hug for that sobering train journey home. My advice? Keep it simple with a chorizo and halloumi slice or two.

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