When Never For Ever was born, “our goal was clear”, says general manager Marianne: “to create a unique, fun and relaxing space for the residents and workers of Kentish Town.”
Sounds simple enough, right? But then, like so many things, the opening coincided with the start of the lockdown in March 2020, rupturing everyone’s best laid plans. Now, with the pandemic hopefully drawing to a close, “we’re ready to keep our doors open for good and let you know about all the exciting things we have in store this year”, she says. High five, indeed.
If you haven’t yet made it through the doors – after all, it’s only been a handful of weeks – Never For Ever’s interior is unique in Kentish Town: from sofa areas to traditional tables, it’s a rather lovely, loungey space peppered with houseplants, shelves, books, rugs and leather banquettes. It’s been designed to offer relaxed comfort and accommodate parties of all types and sizes: have a closer look at the walls for work from some of “our favourite artists” – including Run, Stephen Anthony Davids and Carali MCcall.
Stroll through to the back and there’s a treat for pool fans: a full-sized table that’s free to play, or head down to the private basement bar, a versatile space that will see both live music and live theatre in the coming months, as well as the perfect spot to hire for a party of up to 100 guests. With eight beer taps running and a stage for live music, the possibilities are endless for it to be an artistic Kentish Town hub.
Peckish? With casual dining in mind, the team have carefully curated a menu of pizzas and small plates designed to share. For the pizzas (£9-£13.50) they use a blend of spelt and wheat flour to create a unique, thin and crispy dough, which is also super moreish. For toppings, the chefs work with “amazing British suppliers for vegetables, cheeses and meats, sourced as locally as possible” to create twists on the classics or something new altogether, such as the Purple Potato, Beauvale blue cheese and Fennel Jam, or Merguez Sausage, Sicilian Olives, Red Onion, London Feta and Wild Oregano.
Our top two tips? The colourfully vegan Smashed Peas & Broad Beans, Shaved Courgette, Radish and Nettle Feta, visually summer on a plate, and an extremely tasty way to scoff a helluva lot of healthy veg. Arguably more sensational still is the juicy and rich Braised Ox Cheek, Fermented Wild Garlic and Pine Nuts. On our last visit, both were gone in seconds.
There are also seasonal small plates (£5.50-£7) that celebrate the best of British vegetables, with most being entirely vegan and a great accompaniment alongside a pizza or two. Tips here include the must-try Courgette Fritters, offset by an addictively tart Burnt Lime and Green Chilli Jam, or the umami-packed Smoked Ham Hock, Pea an Scamorza Rice Balls on a whorl of light horseradish cream, for just a touch of fire.
For a quick lunch they offer made-to-order focaccia sandwiches to eat in or take away, while during the day you can swing by for a leisurely coffee from Kiss the Hippo – London’s first carbon-negative roastery.
The focus of whole menu is seasonality and sustainability – and this applies to the beer menu too. They only work with smaller British breweries to deliver an exciting range on both taps and in the fridges, including a signature Never For Ever lager.
When it comes to wine you’ll find a slightly more global list behind the bar. Bored with the status quo of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio (delicious as they are), the team aim to be a little more creative: try a glass of firm Kentishtowner favourite Vinho Verde, or the organic, unfiltered Cataratto on tap. If you don’t fancy those, there’s also a full range of cocktails including a rotating seasonal spritz on tap.
Later in the summer the team will be expanding their food menu (and the use of the wood-fired ovens) to include brunch and large plates. And that’s not all: with an on-site microbrewery and whole schedule of live music events also in the works, “this is set to be a great first year,” says Marianne. “We can’t wait to get more involved in the Kentish Town community”.
Best of all, go for lunch or dinner until 9th July and enjoy a complimentary 500ml carafe of delicious (trust us, we’ve tasted it) organic Tempranillo or Cataratto, worth £15.50, for all lunch or dinner reservations. Just type the code KENTISHTOWNER in your online reservation comments to redeem.