North London's Cultural Guide

Six new openings for summer 2021

Mexican burritos, top-notch ramen, a huge beer garden - and three more to stick your teeth into

Kentish Town: Kentish Town Garden

Do the best things in NW5 come in small packages? That’s the big question. After all, who isn’t seduced by the petite pleasures of tiny vegan cafe Fields Beneath, cosy Gallic wine bar Tabac, quirky speakeasy Knowhere Special, or pint-sized neighbourhood boozer the Rose & Crown? Meanwhile, the vast swathes of the Regis Road industrial estate have long been mooted as a possible mammoth entertainment venue: now, it seems, that time has controversially come. What the organisers are calling “North London’s Biggest Beer Garden” opened today and boasts a whopping capacity (950!), a massive 15,000 square feet of outdoor drinking space, eight street food traders, two huge sports screens and weekly events like bottomless brunch and drag bingo. Follow @kentishtowngdn

South End Green: Magdala Tavern

In the noughties we used to love this NW3 pub (see main pic, above), from its tucked-away location and tasty plates to its unique history: Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK, shot her boyfriend here in 1955. Then it was taken over and promptly closed down. Dormant for years, the team behind the Sussex Arms in Twickenham and the Express Tavern in Kew – which sounds like a “sensible pair of hands” – have rebooted it, including a menu of British dishes with Italian influences courtesy of the ex-Polpo head chefs. Open now. Follow @themagdalahampstead

Kentish Town: Tonkotsu

The quality ramen chain is having a go at the spot where, it seems, so many independent restaurants have failed over the years. Most recently La Patate tried to make its juicy French-style burgers work, and prior to that was popular Beef & Burger, which admittedly had a decent run. The classic in the noughties was, of course, Pane Vino, much loved at a time when Kentish Town had very few good places to eat. So we welcome Tonkotsu – and if anyone can do it, we reckon they can. Opens late Summer/ early Sept. Follow @tonkotsu.ramenbar

Belsize Park: Cinder

Previous Papa Del’s takeaway, this new Belsize Lane opening is the baby of chef Jake Finn and what he calls his “love of cooking over fire”. It also helps that he’s done time at places like Coya, La Petite Maison and The Ritz. Expect everything from whole grilled sea bream with fennel and radish to chicken thighs marinated in confit lemon, chilli and garlic. Open now. Follow @cinder_london


Camden Town: Azura

Inamo was the purpose-built pan-Asian restaurant opposite Mornington Crescent tube whose many gimmicks – interactive table surface technology, chef-cam, delicious sushi – sadly weren’t enough to stave off its post-Covid-related problems. So in its place will now be the optimistic Azura, which purports to offer “contemporary Aegean flavours” with cocktails and roof terraces. Certainly sounds like it could work and, next to the Asos offices, there’s plenty of potential regulars. Opens July tbc. Follow

Kentish Town: Zambrero

Finally, we’re teaming up with this ethical new opening to offer readers an exciting deal next week. Australia’s largest Mexican franchise, Zambrero chose Kentish Town Road for their first UK store selling burritos and bowls packed with superfood ingredients, specially crafted marinades and distinctive sauces. Better still, they donate a meal to someone in need for every purchase. You really can’t say fairer than that. We’ll give you the full lowdown, and details of the reader offer, next week. Opens June 29th. Follow @zambrerouk

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Article updated 1st July.

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.