Primark is by far one of the most requested British brands on Airfrov, and for good reason – it has no foothold in Asia and lacks online shopping facilities. They boast some of the cheapest fast fashion clothing on the High Street, producing items of reasonable quality that last long enough till the next fashion trend hits.
As a result, it’s not uncommon for Airfrov travellers to take on multiple Primark orders and fulfill them in a single trip. With the shopping that has to be carried around, it makes sense to find a place to eat nearby before heading back. But, it can be tedious to find a decent cafe or restaurant amongst the fast food joints, kebab shops, sandwich outlets and tourist traps. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of eateries around Primark that would provide a welcome respite after jostling about with other shoppers in Primark’s Marble Arch or Oxford Street stores.
(Note: All prices exclude VAT, currently at 20%, and service charge, customarily at 10-15%, though the latter can be refused if the service is found to be unreasonably bad)
Primark Marble Arch
Primark’s first flagship store in London is often packed with both tourists and locals, both looking for a great fashion bargain. Given the nearest eating options are sandwich chain Pret A Manger, pubs, McDonald’s and the occasional kebab shop, the food-conscious Singaporean traveller might find these options uninspired and look a bit harder for a post-shopping meal. Here are some of the more interesting finds.
Last 5 years, London saw a revival of Indian food. Roti Chai is an attempt to ride that wave, showcasing affordable Indian street fare in a simple unassuming setting. In keeping with current trends, the menu is structured to encourage sharing with friends tapas-style. So, while most items served in the street kitchen can be had for under £10, you will have to order multiple items to make it a meal, as recommended in the menu. Tucked away from the bustle of Oxford Street, the restaurant can be rather quiet, providing a welcome break from intense shopping sessions.
The British-Italian restaurant chain Pizza Express established their first outpost in Singapore at Scotts Square, featuring a smaller selection compared to their branches in the UK. Sadly, none of their branches are close enough to the Primark flagship at Marble Arch. ASK Italian is pretty similar (they were once owned by the same group that owns Pizza Express), and is far more convenient. They have a branch just a few metres away from Primark. ASK’s must-tries include the Salsiccia Pizza, which, though slightly costly at £13.25, features ’nduja, a spicy sausage spread (yes, really) that is nearly impossible to find in Singapore.
Lauded as the best newcomer in this year’s National Fish and Chip Awards, this new entrant to the dining scene in London has a fresh take on the traditional staple of Britain. Their decor is more upscale than the typical chip shop, perhaps to cater to the more moneyed clientele in the local vicinity. While the prices at Mayfair are steeper than other mainstays in London, being able to eat fish and chips in a comfortable setting at a convenient location is always a good thing.
Primark Oxford Street
Primark’s second store can be found close to the British Museum, at the crossroads between the Northern and Central lines at the Tottenham Court Road station. The lesser food options found nearby include a McDonald’s, a Burger King, and budget American food chain Garfunkel’s, all of which would not be hard to find in Singapore. Unfortunately, one would have to venture a bit further away, for a good meal, but if you do, it would be well worth it with the following restaurants.
Our nearest recommendation, Five Guys is a burger chain from the United States known for its quality burgers. While their burger options are pretty standard affairs, the restaurant offers free flow peanuts, and “fresh-cut” french fries fried using peanut oil. This results in a more buttery taste, albeit sacrificing a more crispy texture. Given its lack of availability in Singapore, this burger restaurant is definitely one to check out.
Five Guys would have found stiff competition from Byron Burgers, one of the longstanding players in London’s burger scene. They offer a more focused range on their menu, with slightly higher quality burgers. While the outlet nearest to Primark Oxford Street is a 1-minute walk away from the main road, it offers comfortable seating and time away from the maddening crowd. Their deep-fried courgette (zucchini) is particularly memorable, if a little on the heavy side.
While Flat Iron’s branch may be the furthest of the food places listed, the prospect of having a steak for cheap definitely makes it worthwhile. They would only set you back £10 for a smallish but flavour-packed steak. Flat Iron uses feather blade cuts (also known as the flat iron), typically cooked medium rare, or to your preferred doneness. Also unique to them are knives shaped like little cleavers. Words hardly do this steakhouse justice, stake a look at their photos on their Facebook page.
The above article is contributed by Airfrov traveller Alwyn Tan. If you would like to contribute similar travel tips & hacks, drop us a mail!