City Life, Student Budget
I had a bit of a shocker over Christmas break. I finally got round to totting up everything I’d spent since starting school. A benefit of cashless is that I’m easily able to do this. Though if I was really savvy I’d be using Monzo and having it all done for me (I wish this was an ad). There’s something really humbling about adding up every little purchase by hand in Excel, only to press enter and be floored. “Monopoly money,” I tried to tell myself, as I realised my eating-out budget had been surpassed ten times over each month.
There’s only so long you can go on in denial before life teaches you a lesson. Mine had been served. The lesson was: ‘you’re a student so stop spending like you’re still working and paying reasonably-priced rent.’ Since my return to SCA this year, I am now diligent. I’ll stay up making lunch and dinner for the next day even if my body’s screaming for sleep. Aldi of course is my newest ally.
The only downside to this massive plus is that I am no longer a generous donor to the eateries of Brixton. With the footfall of SW9, it’s highly unlikely they’ll notice my absence but still, I feel a duty to use this blog for some good. To spread the word and pass on what I can no longer do by myself. Read on for my roundup of the best independent spots for lunch that rank high on the price-to-satiation ratio. Pret, who? Tesco meal deal, what?
You know it’s a haunt when you can’t find them anywhere online. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Khadija eat from her early days at SCA. A big takeout box piled high with rice, beans, and the most amazing, juicy-looking chicken with a straight-off-the-BBQ char. Crazier when she said how much — a fiver. I later realised you can get a wedge of homemade mac ‘n cheese for an extra 50p! This box keeps you full across lunch and dinner and may just make you cry tears of happiness — SO MUCH FLAVOUR!
The ONLY dedicated place you can find falafel in Brixton. Giant balls of chickpea, heavy-handed with herbs and seasoning, giving it a distinct green tinge, these falafels come wrapped up in crunchy, fresh salad, really putting shame on a lot of contenders. Let’s be honest falafel’s getting a bit boring these days. It’s mushy, turns to a thick paste in the mouth, it’s all just a chore to eat. But David cooks these like a pro. Crunchy on the outside, pillow-soft inside. Feel free to come at me if you’re disappointed after eating them.
The first rule of advertising: always be honest. So I’ll admit I’ve only ever come here for cakes. Some days I just need a sugary sponge for lunch and that’s that. Beyond the VERY reasonable prices, there are a plethora of homemade sweets that taste like your Mum made them. Traditional Italian cannelloni’s and — the star of the show — polenta cake! It’s not always on so if you see it, you’re having a lucky day and should take it as a sign to purchase. Their stuff’s not too sweet and generously sized. Google reviews concurs.
Happy munching one and all!