Continuing from The Hampstead Guide, I’m sharing some notable businesses in my new neighbourhood. When we are finally able to do anything again, I would implore you to support some of these local gems in the Kentish Town area. Where we spend our money is more important than ever.
And without further ado, the Kentish Town Food Guide.
Carrots + Daikon
You’ll probably start to notice that my lists and favourites have an asian tilt. And that’s natural given that I grew up around vietnamese and chinese cooking. Carrots + Daikon is legit vietnamese (coming from a half vietnamese person, is this half legit?). Why do I think this? Number 1: fish sauce. Vietnamese food demands fish sauce. Not the watered-down soy sauce that seems to be rampant in other London ‘vietnamese’ establishments. Number 2: peanut sauce. Their peanut sauce tends towards the vinegary, which I really like. Vietnamese peanut sauce does not equal thai peanut sauce. They are different things. And Number 3: they make their own sriracha sauce that you can purchase. Therefore, just by their sauces, they are legitimate in my eyes.
It’s a tiny family run shop just across from the O2 in Kentish Town. They are equally good at Banh Mi, Summer Rolls, and Vermicelli. I have to say, I haven’t tried the Pho, because growing up with homemade pho, ox tails simmering for 10 hours to make a rich broth, I just can’t bring myself to eat it from a restaurant. However, I bet they do this well too. Oh! And I forgot to mention the homemade ice cream! Vietnamese Ice Coffee flavour is my favourite.
Though I’ve been to Italy quite a few times, I couldn’t say if Rosella’s is actually authentic. But I think that they are an Italian family that does a decent job of representing their roots while still catering to the clientele in Kentish Town. Small things like welcoming you with an enthusiastic “Ciao Bella!” and finishing the meal with a traditional homemade limoncello, give a very good impression that you could be somewhere in Italy somewhere. Candle lit tables crowded together (though a nightmare during Covid19 outbreak) makes for a warm and inviting atmosphere. My personal favourite is the Linguini alle Vongole. It’s a garlicky, buttery sauce with just a small kick of spice and it just hits the spot for me. Enjoy this with a nice glass of wine and it’s a perfect casual night out that won’t set you back much more than £45 for two.
You couldn’t ask for a better neighbourhood coffee shop if you are a bit of a coffee snob. Which I am. I have a Sage Barista Express (also known as the Breville Barista Express in the States) and I happily make myself an artisan latte every morning. What I have found is that the beans are very important and Doppio, supplies some excellent ones. I began by just popping in for a take away flat white. Then I found myself browsing the shop. Self-proclaimed as a coffee shop for coffee shops, Doppio doubles as supplier to cafes around London and a coffee machine repair shop. Needless to say, they are experts. The barista’s are top notch and so is the coffee.
A quaint little pan-european eatery. I’ll admit that Albion’s Restaurant doesn’t have much of an identify. The food ranges from pastas to british classics to french delicacies and the décor is a combination of modern and traditional wallpapers, exposed brick, and antlers. Nonetheless my experiences here have been positive ones. I especially enjoy the moulles frite. Most of all this place is affordable while still feeling like a treat, and I don’t have to go into west london to do it.
I was surprised to find this Ramen shop in Kentish town. It appears to be owned by the same people who own Mamon and Bin Tang which leads me to believe that the owners are actually Phillipino and not Japanese however this does not prevent them making a legit bowl of ramen. There may not be as many options as a place like Kanada-Ya, you can’t choose your noodle doneness or anything like that, and seating is limited (even when there is no pandemic). BUT, the broth is rich, you get a good amount of noodles, and most importantly the egg ajitama jammy egg is perfectly jammy. I’ve also tried the fried squid which was absolutely delicious and not oily at all. Comparing this to others in London, it’s at the top and earns its 4.5 rating on Google.
A neighbourhood pub for a relaxing night with dear friends. It’s quite small and very homey, and best of all they specialise in cider. I’m not much of a beer drinker so my go-to at any pub is cider, and it’s all the better if they have something on tap other than Asphal’s. Southampton Arms usually has 4-5 ciders on tap ranging from dry to sweet, so there is definitely something for everyone.
The Fields Beneath
For the vegans in Kentish Town, this tiny establishment nestled under the Kentish Town West Overground station is a solid choice. If oat milk flat whites and almond milk lattes are your thing, then you will be a very happy customer. They also offer a wide range of vegan breakfast and lunches that are genuinely delicious even to a non-vegan. Plus it’s a cute a quirky place with friendly service, little tables, and plenty of plants to keep you company if you go on your own.