Drummond Street has long been an underrated spot where you can find authentic, well-priced world food in a hype-free setting. It’s home, for example, to Diwana, the first South Indian vegetarian restaurant in Britain, having opened in 1970. Thus it’s perhaps the opposite of all things Insta-friendly or hipster.
But that may well change with a latest attempt at raising its profile amongst Londoners. The Drummond Streatery project is a vibrantly colourful construction, one that’s as seductive to locals who might casually walk down the street as tourists stumbling out of Euston station.
A collaborative effort between Euston Town BID, Drummond Street traders, Jan Kattein Architects and Camden Council, its aim is quite simply to bring an injection of new life to this longstanding, rather embattled food street.
The eye-catching social-media-friendly design is by Jan Kattein Architects, drawing inspiration from carnivals and parades from South America and South Asia, in an attempt at celebration, following years of disruption from HS2 construction. After all, this is an area that sure needs a bit of cheer: a walk down here from Camden Town this week along Hampstead Road proved a grim, noisy experience dodging construction sites and bollards.
And it’s a positive way to remind us all how culturally diverse the immediate neighbourhood’s history is, with its South Asian, African, Turkish and Chinese roots.
The flexible carnivalesque space seats 64 and hosts 14 participating restaurants and cafes, including many of the capital’s oldest South Asian restaurants. The stretch is part-pedestrianised, too.
Food-wise, you can choose between – say – a samosa chaat from Shah Tandoori, a thali (or tuck into the mega-popular £7.95 buffet) from Ravi Shankar, above, or, for the sweet-toothed, gulab jamuns from Guptas. And, of course, so many more eating options, too. Best to wander up and down first and then take a seat.
Fancy a pint before? Sole boozer, the rather elegant Grade II-listed Crown & Anchor (137 Drummond Street), has also enjoyed a post-lockdown makeover, and is right on the corner by the Streatery.
So will the beleaguered thoroughfare become overrun with 2021’s rollcall of micro-influencers? Perhaps not, but this project is a welcome way to underline a unique London stretch, and is well worth a weekend stroll. If the apocalyptic rain ever stops, of course.
The Drummond Streatery, Drummond Street NW1 is now open for diners to visit, usual dining hours apply for each restaurant, with a carnival later this summer.
Main image: Gary Street