1. Arancini Brothers, 115 Kentish Town Road
2. The Vine, 86 Highgate Road
3. Tapping The Admiral, 77 Castle Road
So the votes are in for our first annual Kentishtowner Awards. Thanks to everyone who contributed, and if you didn’t have time then you can still give us your choices in the comments below. From now until Xmas eve, we’ll be unveiling one category a day, and to kick things off it’s the Best New Opening 2011.
Votes for this category came from all quarters: new hairdressers, corner shops and even the tattooist on the high street (‘makes a difference to the usual coffee shops’, said AU). Then there were the fans of cult kebab joint e.Mono (with its original signage), and the NewSpace Gallery on Queen’s Crescent; and well done to the owners of the Lahore Masala House for voting for their own restaurant.
But three clear winners emerged. In third place is Tapping The Admiral , which opened in October at the bottom of pretty Hadley Street, and is becoming quite the cosy local alehouse de jour; it’s also one of the most searched-for terms in our stats.
In 2nd place, The Vine, relaunched in July after a costly refit, is an inspired reinvention of a long-tired gastropub, and its Polpo-influenced sharing plates have never disappointed on half a dozen visits.
But #1 is a late arrival, indeed. Open only a month, Arancini Brothers (above) is the real deal: Antipodean-style baristas who know their coffee inside out, tempting boards of cakes and open sandwiches, a stylish interior and lighting, and imaginative hot dishes: we loved both the arancini tortilla with slow roast chicken and salad (£5.90) and its vegetarian equivalent with braised mushrooms (£5.60). We’ll be back to try the other daily specials, such as a very aromatic chicken stew (£6.80).
Arancini Brothers have already built up a reputation with stalls at markets across London -yet it was nice to see such strong support already for Dave (pictured) and his team for their first cafe venture. And let’s campaign to get them opening in the evening ASAP.
What do you think? And where have we missed?
Words: Stephen Emms
Tomorrow: Best Gallery 2011
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