Best New Opening 2011: Arancini Brothers Factory Cafe

1. Arancini Brothers, 115 Kentish Town Road 2. The Vine, 86 Highgate Road 3. Tapping The Admiral, 77 Castle Road …

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.

If this sign doesn’t get you through the door you must be dead.

What do you think? And where have we missed?

Words: Stephen Emms
Tomorrow: Best Gallery 2011


  • Show Comments

  • Daniel Solomons

    I feel I must give a shout out for the new Lahore Massala House.
    I feel I must spread the word amongst the Kentish Town foodies.
    I feel I must urge you all to try their fantastic Pakistani food.

    This is the latest venture from the “Original” Lahore, with their highly regarded Kebab House in Whitechapel, with restaurants also in Hendon and St. John’s Wood. My friends and I have been enjoying their lamb chops and tikkas for many years and, after initially mourning the loss of my nearest Turkish kebab house (which was never quite as good as back when it was Ceylan or The Villa) I was jumping up and down with delight to see Lahore’s red lettering go up above the door.

    The place is not much on looks, with simple-but-pleasant decor and two TV screens playing Bangra and Bollywood (although they’ll put Sky Sports on if you ask!), but the food is first class. Like all good Halal restaurants, Lahore serves no alcohol, although you’re welcome to bring your own to accompany their lovingly-cooked dishes. I’ve been 3 times since its opening and it’s always been pretty empty with the owners emploring me to “tell my friends”. Not normally something I’d do but this is such a great addition to the Kentish cheap-eats landscape that I felt compelled to do it just this once.

  • Ian

    I’ll second Daniel on Lahore – I had the finest onion bhaji I’ve ever had there last week.

    E. Mono at 287 Kentish Town Road is worthy of a mention too, it’s only been open a few months. My favourite kebab shop.

    So pleased to see Arancini Factory top of the list if only for the fact we can now get a decent coffee in Kentish Town. If they could open weekends and evening that would be great – I had to take a day off work just to go within their opening hours.

  • Kentishtowner

    If only you’d voted! And told your friends to…it may have stood a chance.

    But we’ll check it out and report back. It sounds fantastic.

    On another note, David Earls from Arancini Brothers has this to say about his win:

    ‘Firstly thanks for the great review. We use coffee supplied from Bean About Town’s roaster (Oli, the owner of B.A.T is a friend from the markets.) It’s marginally ironic that we are in competition with him.

    ‘The menu is seasonal. We are not dedicated locavores nor seasonal sourcers but it seems to work that way when we buy our produce. The menu will change constantly – we hope to build up a portfolio of about 40 hot dishes and 50+ baked goods that are produced well and consistently. Until then, things will be a little chaotic. ‘

    And there you have it.