Ich Bin Kentishtowner: Giles Coren, 43, Restaurant Critic

‘What do I most dislike about my appearance? Penis too big.’

Giles Coren was born in 1969 in Paddington. He is food critic at The Times, as well as a television presenter most famous for hit BBC show with Sue Perkins, The Supersizers. In 2005 he published his debut novel Winkler. His latest book, How to Eat Out: Lessons from a Life Lived Mostly in Restaurants, is published by Hodder & Stoughton.

When were you happiest?
When I wheeled my newborn daughter Kitty down my road for the first time on a bright cold February morning in 2011, to show her off to the neighbours, and then on up Highgate road to the top of Parliament Hill to show her London and the World and everything that would one day be hers (I may have been over-reaching a little).

Where would you like to live in the manor?
In my house, but maybe with the next door as well, all knocked through to make ten beds with a giant garden. Oh fuck it, actually my whole terrace would be nice. Six houses or something. All rolled into one. Or possibly one of those detached villas on Dartmouth Park Road, but it’s a bit posh up there.

What is your favourite sound or smell?
Coalsmoke from chimneys in November (not smokeless shit but the old-fashioned stuff which you can get from Mehmet on Leverton Street).

What is your greatest life achievement?
Haven’t achieved anything really. I published a novel in 2005 which I had always wanted to do, but nobody really noticed.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don’t smoke.

What is your earliest Kentish Town memory?
School swimming gala at the old gunky KT baths, 1978 or thereabouts.

What makes you unhappy?
Contemplating the death of newspapers.

What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
My father still being alive.

What is your most unappealing habit?

What is your guilty pleasure?
Parly Hill girls.

Where do you hang out?
Bull and Last, Chicken Shop (left), Bread and Bean, Southampton Arms, Junction Tav, Cafe Rustique.

Who or what do you hate and why?
Dogshit on my street.

What was your best experience in NW5? Worst?
a) Pulling a girl who worked in the Owl bookshop.
b) Being burgled (not related)

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Penis too big.

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in London and why?
I’d live where i live now. There are bigger and more beautiful houses but they aren’t in Kentish Town.

Tell us a secret.
I’m gay.

What has your career taught you?
That writing for money and writing for pleasure can, sometimes, be the same thing.

What is your favourite dish and why?
Linguine alle bottarga, because I first had it in Pane Vino opposite KT tube, and subsequently all over italy, but never better than in Kentish Town.

What was your best gig and why?
I hate gigs.

Describe yourself as an animal.
Any kind of cat: kill what you need, eat it, then sleep the rest of the day.

Ich Bin Kentishtowner is a new weekly column all about you lot. We simply want to know what makes our readers, contributors, celebrities and local characters tick. Email us at info@kentishtowner.co.uk and we’ll send you the questions. You can answer as many or as few as you wish. Easy-peasy.


  • Show Comments

  • Ben

    Oh ho, it’s soooo funny to joke about being gay.

    • monkey for sale

      I follow Giles Coren on Twitter, and if all the straight guys in the world were as easy about sexuality as him, this world would be a better place.

  • Kentishtowner

    Perhaps it wasn’t a joke.

  • Giles Coren

    Actually, Ben, it’s not a joke about being gay, it’s a joke about secrets. I have done things in my life, in secret, which most straight men in this country would think mean that I am gay. So that’s my secret.

    • Pajji

      Do tell. I’d be happy to make a call on those situations.

    • Kentishtowner

      Do we have an exclusive on our hands Mr Coren?

      • giles coren

        i think that wd be stretching it.

    • Ben

      Yawn, privileged straight white male is privileged…

  • Nick

    I’m very happy to see you mention Bread & Bean! One of my favourite places to go on a weekend mid-morning.

  • Jessica Jacobs (@rebrandlevant)

    And Parly Girls – is that a joke too? Please tell us in what way are teenage girls your guilty pleasure???

    • giles coren

      Well, I’m gay, so it’s complicated.

  • Dr Wanda Wyporska (@WandaWyporska)

    Nice coincidence of truth telling, as I saw you walking down our street at the weekend with lovely Kitty and nipping in to Cafe Rustique this morning.

    • Giles Coren

      eek. i’m being watched… xx

      • Dr Wanda Wyporska (@WandaWyporska)

        Just a neighbour who is glad to be at the upper end of the street, thus I hope to avoid your expansionist plans. I shall never buy anything with you in it again, in case you purchase the street…

  • monkey for sale

    It’s always refreshing to encounter people who don’t take themselves too serious .Particularly people with a personality.

  • Mark

    If you mean you “accidentally” found the Hampstead Heath man-ponds once, when trying to find the general swimming pond, that doesn’t count. Unless you then spent the day there wearing speedos.

  • Joanna

    I’m a Parly Girl who left some time ago. Giles never said current Parly Girls. However we’ve never met so I think he’s exaggerating a bit.

  • Robert

    Giles why oh why is a man of your shape, age and, lets not beat around the bush, disposable income, wearing sleeveless vests? You may of course have a doppelganger.

  • DirtyBurglar

    everyone should calm down. Everyone is a little bit gay after all