Top London restaurants slash prices as recession bites

Winter is always a pretty grim time in London.

January and February are the hardest months to get through, with the glittering Christmas lights and good cheer of December long gone and the realisation sinking in that the weather probably won't get warm until May.

The start of 2009 has proved particularly gloomy, thanks to Britain being in the grip of a big fat recession.

But Londoners are a hopeful lot and lucky to live in a city where you don't have to be stinking rich to have a good time.

Local businesses are falling over themselves to attract customers and have come up with all sorts of offers to tempt open those purse strings while the credit crunch drags on.

Fine food is back on the menu for the budget conscious thanks to a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants slashing their prices.

Chefs in some of London's top restaurants say they would rather have full dining rooms than empty ones and have introduced tasty set lunch and dinner menus from just STG12 ($A25) to help get people through the doors.

Don't fancy going out? Then pick up a three-course meal with a bottle of wine for a bargain STG10 ($A21) from retailer Marks & Spencer to take home.

Meeting your mates for a drink needn't break the budget either with one pub chain cutting the price of a pint to just STG1 ($A2.15) compared to an average STG2.75 ($A5.85).

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Once you're fed and watered, you can enjoy a West End show for as little as 10 pence if you're prepared to stand up - not a bad price to pay when can save about STG30 ($A64).

You can also catch up on some old movies you may have missed for the price of a Sunday newspaper, with many including a free DVD movie or CD each weekend.

Several papers are also printing daily discount vouchers for department stores, pubs and restaurants as well tips on how to save money.

And when you need a break from the recessionary gloom, a heavily discounted airfare to Venice, Paris, Barcelona, Dublin and hundreds of other European cities could be just the thing.

So while London's chilly weather drags on, there's still plenty to warm the hearts of the city's bargain hunters.

AAP

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