April 27, 2003
The hand-written menu lists appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts at startlingly low prices. The food is simple and homey, including pasta, omlettes, a number of daily specials, and a set meal. Two people can easily have three courses each for around £20, tip included. For example, my meal of crispy fried mushrooms, spaghetti bolognese (tasty, but a little bland, a'la Chef Boyardee), apple crumble with the ubiquitous Bird's custard, and a Fanta was about £8. Wine and beer are available at reasonable prices for those who don't want soft drinks.
The Stockpot on Old Compton Street is small and somewhat cramped (leave big bags at home -- there's hardly room for customers, much less their gear), with a cheerful decor that includes posters for plays that once ran in the West End (not surprising, since Old Compton street is in the middle of that theater district). The prices and the food keep the place busy all the time, and they don't take reservations, so arrive early if this is a pre-theater meal. They also don't take credit cards, so make sure you have cash on hand.
To get there, take the tube to the Leicester Square stop and walk away from the square on Charing Cross Road. Old Compton Street will be on the left, one block after a large theater.
From journal London on the cheap