North London Food & Culture

Secret Feasts: a guide to Kentish Town’s food scene

As Secret Feasts hits NW5 we round up the best places for dinner

You might remember us mentioning Secret Feasts, the one-off foodie nights organised by our friends at Camdenist (and supported by Camden Council’s Love Your Camden High Street Fund). Their last event was in Belsize Park and the good news is that next month it hits good ol’ KT.

The simple idea is you get a bargain midweek soiree that also helps support local restaurants – even more important with Kentish Town tube station now closed till next summer.  Scroll down for the four participating venues – but first, let’s remind ourselves why the area’s dining scene is unique.

Anima E Cuore
A KT institution. Photo: SE

Fact: Kentish Town’s food scene is as underrated as it is diverse. Some proof? Why, let’s start with a wander along its southernmost strip, just shy of landmark Irish boozer Quinn’s. Here you’ll find the area’s longest running Asian BYOB restaurant Bintang, with its quirky dining room, surprisingly idyllic back garden and fusion menu: try the moreish chicken liver popcorn or signature prawn curry.

Nearby are more outlets in the family-owned Maginhawa group’s petite empire: you have Guanabana for Latin Caribbean-influenced dishes from jerk chicken to steak (it’s also BYOB), Mamasons for “fully loaded” traditional Filipino dirty ice cream, Filipino bakery Panadera, whose delicate egg sando is a thing of beauty (and just a fiver, too), noodle haven Ramo Ramen and vegan bowls at Moi Moi Island. Also on this stretch are risotto specialists Albion’s, oozy pancake-merchants (both savoury and sweet) Crepes a la Carte and smash-hit Italian pioneers Anima E Cuore, who caused a sensation when they opened back in 2013 with a daily changing chalked-up menu of next-level foodie dishes, including a fresh take on tuna tartare.


The Parakeet
The dining room at The Parakeet. Photo: Rob Jones

In recent years, the area around the station has levelled up considerably. Here you’ll now find a heady mix of international cuisine, including newly relocated Japanese restaurant Kami, classic Indian Bengal Lancer, still going strong after 40 years, Turkish specialists E.Mono and Gokyuzu, Korean BBQ newcomer Bonga and another mainstay, the longstanding Ethiopian restaurant Queen of Sheba. A couple of minutes’ walk further is the wonderful Baan, whose Pad Thai we consider to be the best in the area.

This part of NW5 is also where you’ll encounter several family-run Italian restaurants, including the Venetian-owned Delicious By Franco, hip new sourdough pizza joint Berbere, housed in former Victorian police cells and, up on Highgate Road, wildly popular local institution Rossella, with its rather glam dining room, deli and café. Arrive early to enjoy a negroni on its pavement terrace – or, in fact, a beer first at nearby taproom the Southampton Arms.

Pineapple by night. Photo: Tom Storr

Ahhhh, pubs! There seriously can’t be a food guide to Kentish Town without a quick scoot around its many neighbourhood watering holes. Take your pick from laidback corner pub The Abbey, hearty gastropubs The Grafton, The Vine and the Lion & Unicorn, with its three surrounding outdoor terraces and gardens, the snug Lady Hamilton, sister to the famous Pineapple (both serving Thai menus), pie dons Tapping The Admiral, and legendary revamped former music venue the Bull & Gate. To top it all off, new arrival The Parakeet, formerly The Oxford, boasts ex-BRAT chefs serving up unique flavour combos in small and sharing plates: the signature trout, sea herbs and butter sauce is a real highlight (read our review here).

And finally, don’t forget to go west: just a few moments’ stroll off the high street is Vietnamese streetfood specialists Pho Ta as well as a new Japanese katsu and teriyaki arrival, Kakki Katsu. A true Kentish Town culinary crawl really is there waiting to be discovered.

KT’s Secret Feasts


Never For Ever

1. Never For Ever

What? This Highgate Road venue, with its appealingly bucolic exterior, is something of a multi-tasking space comprising pub, restaurant and bar – or, as the team cleverly call it, a ‘neighbourhood social’. Its loungey interior is peppered with houseplants, shelves, books, board games, rugs and leather banquettes: swing by for coffee, light lunch or a full-on dinner. A new small plates menu offers cauliflower croquettes, crispy courgettes with romesco and dukkah, fried chicken, wild garlic and sheep’s cheese and crispy squid, spiced honey glaze and lemon.

Why? “The focus of the whole menu is seasonality and sustainability,” says General Manager Jonno. “The signature pizza menu uses a blend of spelt and wheat flour to create a unique, thin and crispy dough: my tip is the lamb merguez sausage, Sicilian olives, red onion, mozzarella, London feta and wild oregano.” Drinks-wise, they only collaborate with the smaller brewers such as local King’s Cross brewery Two Tribes and Lost and Grounded on a range that includes a signature Never for Ever lager. If you’re more of a cocktail person, don’t miss a seasonal spritz on tap, or try a pink gin fizz or cold brew negroni.

Where? 79 Highgate Rd, London NW5 1TL,

Find out more and reserve your ‘Sharing Platter Feast’ at Never For Ever at Secret Feasts on July 12th at just £25 per head.

2. Patron

Patron NW5

What? A staple of what its owners call “Kentishville” since 2015 – “the area could be compared to the 11th arrondissement of Paris for its eclectic mix of bars and restaurants” – says Jean-Francois – this classy dimly lit brasserie serves authentic French food cooked over wood fire. The new dining room is a must-see, boasting period features from its original incarnation as butcher’s shop, including a meat hanger or two. Some signature dishes? Crispy duck confit, hand-cut steak tartare, garlic snails and modern twists such as deep-fried dauphinoise with sriracha mayonnaise or oysters topped with champagne eggs.

Why? “We have a passion for producing timeless spaces. Places where time stands still,” Tanzi says. “We love to create special moments for our guests, and we realised that they just don’t want to go after their meal has finished, so our new cocktail bar and dining room Patron Next Door was born. You won’t just leave with a full belly and big smile on their faces, you’ll leave with a special memory, captured and imprinted for a lifetime.”

Where? 24-26 Fortess Road NW5 2HB,

Find out more and reserve your table at Patron for Secret Feasts on July 12th, 5 courses and wine for just £25 per head.

3. Rose & Crown

What? Surely one of NW5’s best craft beer boozers, located on a chilled backstreet location – with a magical sunken rear garden (alongside a basement comedy venue.) Fresh from honing their skills over the past year at Leytonstone’s hip Filly Brook (read about it on our sister site Leytonstoner here), new kitchen residents Tangy’s Tasty Stuff has just launched a pan-Asian small plates menu. Recommended is curried bone marrow with Malaysian beef and a roti, Chinese cabbage with gochujang, crunchy coated cauliflower, and an expert red curry prawn toast that’s somehow chewy and yet melt-in-the-mouth.

Why? “We like to think that we’re a bit of a hidden gem, nestled off the beaten track,” says co-owner Theo. “Unassuming on the outside but buzzing with good vibes on the inside. Expect some of the best craft beers from all over on tap, cracking free live comedy most nights of the week and food from some of the best, up and coming street food vendors. Our latest resident Tangy’s is serving up deliciously fresh, tasty and tangy dishes and snacks.”

Where? 71-73 Torriano Ave, London NW5 2SG,

Find out more and reserve your place at Tangy’s at the Rose & Crown at Secret Feasts on July 12th at just £25 for the ‘Malaysian Feast’ with beers.

4. Babuji


What? A reinvention of the longstanding Indian restaurant Gulshaan, Babuji’s turquoise exterior and engaging font shines irresistibly opposite Kentish Town tube station. But traditional curry house this is not, with its contemporary wood panelling, glossy teal tiles and pendant lights. Think classic train station café, while the menu serves everything from Bengali bites to traditional Pakistani homely fare.

Why? The name Babuji refers to owner Mo Miah’s father, who travelled through Bangladesh, India and Pakistan in the late ‘50s before settling in the UK and later starting Gulshaan in 1982. The dishes are inspired by those Babuji encountered in the street stalls and cafés of Calcutta, Mumbai and Lahore – “his three personal favourites,” says Mo. So there are chaats (roadside snacks), biryanis and garam grills, as well curries (tip: try the butter chicken or Dabba Gosht (slow-cooked lamb in tomato sauce). “Our food can be described as Desi style – which simply means home-style South Asian cuisine,” he says. And save room for Falooda, a traditional Pakistani dessert. “It’s a cold milk-based drink with rose syrup, sweet basil, and vermicelli noodles. And it’s gorgeous.”

Where? 343 Kentish Town Road NW5,

Find out more and reserve your ‘Indian Feast’ at Babuji on July 12th at just £25 for the meal.

This is a paid partnership opportunity with Secret Feasts. If you’re a business wanting to speak to thousands of Londoners, email

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