Neighbourhoods

Camden & Kentish Town

It’s where Amy Winehouse called home, 90s Britpoppers planted their flag, and tourists, punks and teens all find common ground in London’s largest market. Camden and Kentish Town are neighbourhoods with rich cultural histories, particularly as hubs for the city’s music scene, which had a sort of renaissance in the 90s with indie bands and Britpop dominating the charts. The areas have grown up a little bit since then, but they’re still full of popular hangouts, historic venues and beloved shopping districts.

You won’t be hard-pressed to find a good pub here, many in the area have gone for decades and keep a loyal customer base. One example is the Good Mixer, a slice of the city’s history and a ‘proper London boozer’ that became a popular destination for London bands in the 90s – it’s even cited as the site of the first stone thrown in the Blur vs Oasis feud.

Foodwise, take a trip to Camden Market to try one of their many street food stalls, or go for a reliable fave like Tonkotsu or Pizza Pilgrims. And for some more fun, catch a show at one of the area’s renowned and recently renovated venues, such as the Roundhouse (which was the site of iconic punk gigs in the 70s) or KOKO (which has hosted practically every band or musician to walk the earth). As buzzy and countercultural as it ever was, you’re never far from a good time in Camden and Kentish Town.

MR JI

63-65 Parkway, London NW1 7PP

Mr Ji has been around in one form or another since 2017 – first as a pop up at Hook in Camden before moving into a permanent place in Soho in 2019 and then relocating to Camden in 2022. Meng and Ana from TATA Eatery revamped the chicken-centric menu, inspired by Taiwanese night markets, in late 2020 and now Mr Ji has expanded beyond Taiwanese chicken to explore broader East Asian flavours. There’s the amazing prawn “in” toast, a brioche bun filled with bechamel, sweetcorn & prawns; The O’Ji, a deep fried chicken breast with chilli sprinkles & piccalilli mayo; mapo tofu wontons with chilli dressing; fried chicken hearts with sweet cirry & lettuce wraps; and braised pig’s head & dumpling skin tacos. Wash down with a couple of salted plum negronis and you’ve got a good time.

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THE PARAKEET

256 Kentish Town Road, London NW5 2AA

What was The Oxford Tavern on Kentish Town Road, has now been transformed into The Parakeet, a 60-cover dining room where a locally sourced, seasonally changing menu from ex-Brat chef Ben Allen and sous-chef Ed Jennings is served. The Victorian pub is bursting with character and is beautifully put together, with ornate antique furnishings set against a backdrop of wood panelling, dark green leather booths, white exposed brickwork, and an open kitchen. There’s lots to love on the blackboard menus, with dishes like spider crab croquettes with wild garlic aioli; lamb chop with confit Jerusalem artichoke and gremolata; charred asparagus served amongst almonds, nettles and confit lemon; ox cheek on pomme puree with crispy polenta; and Kossoff kouign-amann with brown butter custard. The Parakeet have something special here, it’s the kind of place we love; an unpretentious approach to modern seasonal food resulting an elevated menu of exciting dishes, housed in a familiar setting with a sophisticated edge. In short, a posh boozer with banging food.

CAMDEN TOWN BREWERY

55-59 Wilkin Street Mews, London NW5 3NN

No prizes for guessing where Camden Town Brewery makes its beer. Well, actually, if you want to get technical, it has a larger brewery in Enfield these days… But we digress. The Camden town site offers brewery tours, and it also hosts food pop-ups, complete with a sun-drenched terrace just designed for day drinking all the Camden classics: Helles, Pale, Off-Menu, Week Nite and the juicy Show Off lager. The location is home to Arch 55, too, the brewery’s selection of small batch, new idea beers. Basically, this is where you need to park yourself in summer. Fact.

THE GOOD EGG

93 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 0AS

The Good Egg has long been a Stokey fave thanks to its Middle Eastern menu, inspired by Tel Aviv street food, and the Jewish delis and bagel shops in NYC and Montreal. In Stokey, the brunch menu features treats bacon & date pitas, egg & cheese bagels, shakshuka, challah French toast, and babka, and over in the Stables Market in Camden, there’s more of the same, as well as street food fave knafeh ka’ak – crisp kataifi pastry with thyme & orange syrup and lots of gooey cheese, stuffed into a sesame bagel. The Camden location is also open into the evenings, meaning you can feast on sharing plates like labneh with pumpkin seed relish, za’atar fried chicken with chilli honey, lamb shawarma with pickles & hummus and cornbread with zhoug & honey butter. There are biodynamic wines on offer but we love the sour cherry & campari spritz, and don’t leave without getting a slice of babka to go from the takeaway counter.

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BUCK STREET MARKET

180-188 Camden High St, London NW1 0LT

Buck Street Market, which is located right next to Camden Town tube, is made up of 88 recycled shipping containers with the largest rooftop in Camden, complete with two rooftop bars and a pink terrace with sustainable pallet sofas. The eco-market is totally plastic-free, has multiple recycling points throughout the space and is composting food waste from its food and drink traders to generate energy to feed back into the power grid.

LADIES & GENTLEMEN

2 Highgate Rd, London NW5 1NR

Drinking in a public toilet might not be your idea of a good night, but you might change your mind with a visit to Ladies & Gentlemen. Housed in a former underground toilet, the tiny cocktail bar shakes up some bangin’ signature drinks and classic cocktails, and even has its own micro-distillery on site. It may not be a loo any more but its a great way to spend a penny.

PANADERA

83 Kentish Town Rd, London NW1 8NY

Florence Mae Maglanoc and Omar Shah, the pair behind Filipino ‘dirty’ ice cream shop Mamasons, also run Panadera in Kentish Town. The bakery serves up a range of Filipino-inspired treats including the classic pandesal bread, coco bread, corned beef hash sandos, calamansi meringue pie, ube (that’s the purple yam that’s been turned into ice cream and stuffed into doughnuts at Mamasons) tart, and drinks like milo mocha and brown sugar taro boba.

THE PINEAPPLE

51 Leverton St, London NW5 2NX

The Pineapple is so beloved by Kentish Town locals that when the place was threatened with redevelopment, a community campaign not only got it saved but listed by English Heritage. The Grade-II listed bar is home to a changing selection of ales, the kitchen dishes up Thai food and it’s also got a gorge conservatory that’s perfect if you’re hosting a little party.

PATRON CAVE A MANGER

26 Fortess Rd, London NW5 2HB

Bringing a slice of Paris to the London neighbourhoods it inhabits, this classic French restaurant can be found in both Kentish Town and Highbury. The menu emphasises French comfort food – think slow cooked duck confit, croustillant aux champignons (a kind of French pie) along with traditional French charcuterie and starters like countryside terrine, Burgundy snails and oysters. If you’re partial to French grapes they have a considerable selection of natural, biodynamic and fine wine on offer, so whether it’s Grenache or Gamay, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Patron Cave a Manger should have you covered. A true French bistro where dining is casual and the food offering holds up.

THE HAWLEY ARMS

The Hawley Arms, Castlehaven Road, London

Once the playground for all sorts of night dwellers like Amy Winehouse, Noel Fielding and Alexa Chung this Camden pub still offers up a night out to remember…all those impromptu and secret gigs mean you don’t know what you might stumble upon. There’s a tiny outside area you’ll struggle to manoeuvre around but the real gem is the upstairs terrace. The staff look younger than your newborn cousin and couldn’t give a shit what band you are in. Just don’t cause trouble and have a bloody good time.

THE MONARCH

40-42 Chalk Farm Rd, London NW1 8BG

Music, booze and food…that’s how The Monarch advertises itself and that’s exactly what they do. As well as live music in the week, they also host club nights on Fridays and Saturdays; they’ve got a solid beer selection and a good little gin range; and they serve up burgers, hotdogs and loaded fries. You want a pint, a burger and some bangin’ tunes, you come here.

TEMPLE OF SEITAN

5 Morning Lane, London E9 6NA

Vegan fried chicken. Yep – it’s a thing. The “chicken” is actually made from seitan, which is wheat gluten deep-fried and seasoned just like the real thing. You can get it as a chicken burger, a wrap, wings and as a two-piece with fries, and they even do gluten-free nuggets too. Trust us, vegan or not, this meatless joint is worth the visit.

PIZZA PILGRIMS

136 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JE

We’ll take a slice of Pizza Pilgrims N’Duja pizza any day, you can’t really go wrong. It’s basically heaven. Once just a pizza van and now a little cult, Pizza Pilgrims has got some loyal followers and their quick expansion has been impressive, damn good reason for that too. Their Neopolitan pizzas are pure satisfaction with simple generous toppings and soft doughy crusts. And anywhere that does a Nutella dough ring for dessert is alright by us.

TONKOTSU

382 Mare St, London E8 1HR

Tonkotsu is the best of the ramen wave that swept London back in 2013 and testament to that, they’re still going strong and opening new sites all the time. The signature Tonkotsu ramen, with its thick creamy broth, fresh noodles (made in house), and slices of pork is a thing of beauty and has got us through many a day and night. One to come back to time and time again.

LUMINARY BAKERY

71-73 Allen Road, Stoke Newington, London N16 8RY

Luminary Bakery is one of our favourite bakeries in London and not only because they make some of the best cinnamon swirls we’ve ever had. The bakery is a social enterprise designed to offer opportunities for women from an economic and social disadvantage to build a future for themselves – and that means you can feast on cake guilt-free.

CHIN CHIN

54 Greek Street, London

From creating a nitro ice cream parlour in Camden to collaborating with Cadbury to create a Creme Egg Sundae, Chin Chin know how to make weird and wacky ice creams. At both their Camden and Soho joints, they mix luxe chocolate and caramel flavour ice-creams with cakes, cookies and ice-cream sandwiches. There’s always a bunch of toppings and sauces to pick from, and with a wide variety of vegan options as well, there’s something for everyone here.

THREE UNCLES

12 Devonshire Row, London EC2M 4RH

Looking for authentic Hong Kong siu mei aka Cantonese roast meats? Three Uncles are doing it in the City and at Camden’s Hawley Wharf. The Three Uncles, friends and chefs Cheong Yew (Uncle Lim), Pui Sing Tsang (Uncle Sidney) and Mo Kwok (Uncle Mo), serve up their signature chopped-to-order Cantonese roast duck, crispy pork belly and char siu pork at this spot, as well as their Hainan chicken rice, lo mein noodles, dumplings and buns. They have two exclusive Hong Kong dishes in Camden too – curry fish balls served with Uncle Lim’s secret sauce, and Auntie Jun’s char siu sou, baked sweet BBQ pork pastries handmade by Uncle Sidney’s cousin.

ROUNDHOUSE

Chalk Farm Rd, Chalk Farm, London NW1 8EH

Roundhouse is a historic performing art and concert venue that’s been the location of many iconic gigs and revolutionary theatre movements. Now it hosts a mix of events across the arts, from circus and cabaret to spoken word and live music. The Roundhouse is also a registered charity that runs creative schemes for 11-25 year olds through the Roundhouse Trust.

KOKO

1A Camden High Street, London

KOKO is an iconic Camden destination that was recently reborn after a three-year and £70m renovation. The expansive venue is home to a range of spaces including the original theatre, the fly tower theatre, a merch shop and a late-night pizzeria and tap bar, Cafe KOKO. Guests can also become members of The House of KOKO (subject to approval by a committee) which gives them access to a roof terrace and conservatory, dome cocktail bar, penthouse and recording studio, piano room, library, a hidden speakeasy, stage kitchen and vinyl room.

THE GOOD MIXER

30 Inverness St, London NW1 7HB

The Good Mixer has a well-earned rep as being ‘a proper London boozer’. It became known as a Britpop hub in the 90s, especially as it was where the first stone was thrown in the Oasis vs Blur feud. Although it briefly closed down in early 2018, it reopened later the same year and remains the same laid back, authentic pub and hangout for musicians, locals and visitors alike.

THE FARRIER

87/88 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8BF

The Farrier is a neighbourhood pub, restaurant and wine shop located in Camden Market’s Grade II-listed former horse hospital (hence the name). The building is incredibly striking, with that sought-after warehouse look, its old brick walls and huge, bright windows. The kitchen is headed up by chef Ash Finch, who’s previously worked under acclaimed chefs Alain Ducasse, Rene Redzepi, and Marcus Wareing and is cooking up a menu of rustic and comforting classics. Expect the likes of braised steak & pale ale pie with buttered mash, charred Hispi cabbage and red wine gravy; battered haddock & triple-cooked chips with mint crushed peas and chunky tartare; and Cumberland sausage & buttered mash with red wine gravy and crispy leeks. Plus, there’s also a special roast menu for Sundays. Drinks-wise, the wine list brings together natural and biodynamic bottles from around the world, and there are regular specials too, so make sure you ask what they have on that day.

THE CHEESE BAR

unit 93, 94 Chalk Farm Rd, Chalk Farm, London NW1 8BF

The titles ‘Londoner’ and ‘cheese fan’ are synonymous – this is the land of cheese boats, cheese rooms and cheese bars, after all. *The* Cheese Bar in Camden is exactly what it sounds like, a bar where you can try a whole lot of cheese and cheese-based dishes alongside perfectly paired wine. Choose from a range of cheeses to build your own board or opt for a main from options including cheesy profiteroles, five cheese macaroni, and a truffled bacon burger with brie. Don’t miss out on their famed grilled cheeses though: crispy fried sandwiches stuffed with stilton, cheddar, mozzarella or goat’s cheese and paired with dipping sauces like chilli honey or beer fruit chutney. Or, if you’re ready to put your cheese stamina to the test, try their bottomless raclette – £20 for 90 minutes of all-you-can-eat melted cheese, potatoes, ham and cornichons.

KOSSOFFS

259 Kentish Town Rd, London NW5 2JT

Established back in the 1920s by Jewish refugee Wolf Kossoff, this independent artisanal bakery is now located in the heart of Kentish Town and run by great-grandson Aaron. These pastries are probably the butteriest you’ll find in London (bold but true) and feature the likes of miso and chive swirl; twice-baked hazelnut croissant; kimcheese claw; and Earl Grey swirl amongst others. There’s also a lovely line-up of sarnies, salads and sourdough to tuck into too.

CAFE KOKO

74 Crowndale Road, London

Cafe by day, bar and restaurant by night, Cafe KOKO is the food and drink counterpart to Camden’s legendary and recently renovated music venue KOKO. The design-forward bohemian space is lined with original works by artists including David Shrigley and Joachim Lambrechts alongside photographs of the likes of Grace Jones and Anderson .Paak – from KOKO’s private collection – which nod to the theatre’s rich music history. Music is, of course, key to KOKO, and it’s no different in the cafe which welcomes a variety of live performers in the evenings. It’s an ideal spot for anyone after a chill hangout with friends (particularly if you’re in Camden and you’re not feeling a pub vibe), complete with a list of classic cocktails like Espresso Martinis and Bloody Marys – it may not be molecular mixology but the drinks are decent.

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