News & views | The best food neighbourhoods in London: Part II

News & views

The best food neighbourhoods in London: Part II

When I blogged about my Christmas in East Dulwich the other day and speculated where else in London would make a good place for a food lover to live I never expected it to trigger such a response.

People piled in on Twitter singing the virtues of their neighbourhood - so much so it seems that the whole of London is one giant haven for foodies. (Of course it isn’t - there are food deserts - but as a capital city it is particularly well provided for.)

So, make your own mind up. Here is the original post and here are the most recent nominations.

Islington

I don’t know why I left Islington out really. It’s not as if I don’t know it well - in fact it was the first place I lived in London after uni. Maybe because it’s a bit of a cheat because there are several neighbourhoods including the Angel, Upper Street and Highbury Corner/London Fields.

I’d probably plump for the former which has one of the best fishmongers in London (Steve Hatt) the newly opened Turner & George (right), Chapel Market, a terrific new Italian bakery, Vivo, a branch of Paul A Young chocolates (not sure that’s not a downside - would spend all my time in there) but is still within walking distance of the attractions of Upper Street such as The Upper Street Fish & Chip Shop, Ottolenghi, The Sampler and Smokehouse N1. Yup, there was a lotta lurve for Islington - if you can afford it.

Clerkenwell

Technically part of Islington too though I always think of it more as the City. Certainly restaurant central with St John’s, Club Gascon, Polpo and - er hem - my son Will’s latest restaurant Foxlow plus the aforementioned Exmouth Market cluster but I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather live in Bloomsbury in this fantasy world.

Stroud Green

This I don’t know but according to @Oenotrian there’s a “good butchers, a fishmonger and a good selection of pubs and restaurants” I do remember some great shops heading up from Finsbury Park towards Crouch End. Not the most picturesque part of London, I’d venture though tell me if I’m being unfair.

These apart most of the action seems to be in South London. There were fervent advocates for the following (in alphabetical order)

Brixton

Brixton Market has always been brilliant but now there are the myriad restaurants and cafes of Brixton Village. According to @tomp2 aka Tom Betts - @cannonandcannon @honestburgers @Salon_Brixton @frenchandgrace @sevenatbrixton @FrancoMancaPizz @FederationCoffe @wild_caper and @BrixtonBrewery And the Victoria Line. (Most of South London is Tube-less) Not sure it’s not too much of a scene for me though.

Brockley

I have to admit I didn’t even know where Brockley was and had to look it up (it’s next to New Cross). However according to @gibbygibby1 it "has a brilliant Saturday market, it's leafy, close to Peckham & East Dulwich, 7 mins from London Bridge & on the ELL [East London LIne]". @beccabailey namechecked @The_Orchard_ @The_Gantry @ArloMoe @brockleybrewery @brownsofse4 @theBroca and @BaburRestaurant Sounds promising.

Clapham

Had dismissed this as a bit ‘nappy valley’ but there are of course the attractions of the much fêted The Dairy and Trinity - and a branch of the Ginger Pig, that weather vane of on-trend foodiness.

Clapham Old Town offers a “nice pint at @bobbinsw4 & @MoenButchers and Sylvia at Fantasia Cafe for best brekky” according to @richardgriffo

Crystal Palace

You've missed out #CrystalPalace” cried @GoodTasteFood who runs a cheese shop and bar in the area. She also mentioned @JoannasRest @TheAlmaCP @Sparrowhawkpub @westow_house @ThGrapeandGrain. @juliaglotz highlighted “Transition Town food market with local produce, lots of good restaurants, eg Joanna's, Exhibition Room, a Venezuelan cafe (and a Brazilian one too), award-winning Algerian food at Numidie and the Blackbird bakery". Who knew?

Nunhead which according to someone called Hugh has four excellent food shops within 100 yards. “Sopers Fsh, for me is even better than Moxons (ED). There's the fabulous Ayres Bakery, a good butcher {Smiths], greengrocer [Beaumonts] and a decent deli [Bambuni]. Is that enough to make a good food neighbourhood? More feedback on Nunhead please.

Peckham

Definitely on my list since eating at Peckham Bazaar the other night. And the shops on the high street, especially the wonderful Persepolis are amazing. There’s a posh bit too around Bellenden Road which apparently boasts one of London’s best Thai restaurants The Begging Bowl. Not sure some of the other streets don’t have more character though. Read Helen Graves excellent blog Food Stories to be further convinced. Strong contender.

And if proof were needed of Sarf London’s status as a up and coming gourmet destination I read somewhere (Code?) that Russell Norman of Polpo is consdering premises in Deptford. Really?

The striking omission in this and the previous list are neighbourhoods in West and north-west London. Surely there must be some though I gather from locals that Ealing isn't much cop. Fill me in west Londoners!

As you can see this post is a bit short on images. If you have one of your favourite neighbourhood do send it - and any other feedback - to fiona AT matchingfoodandwine DOT com.

 

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