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.
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.
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.
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.
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