Saying Goodbye to Kilburn

Last week I moved from Kilburn to Bermondsey, i.e., from an area in which “food” and “restaurants,” are not the first, second, or even third thoughts that spring to mind, to London’s undisputed foodie mecca. There is not a lot I will miss about Kilburn, although live in a place long enough (in this instance, nine months) and you develop funny little attachments.

When I move to a new area, the first thing I do is investigate my food options. What restaurants are nearby? What markets? What food stores? In Kilburn, basically, the answer is “not a whole heck of a lot.” On the high road there’s a giant Sainsbury’s and a Mark’s and Spencer’s. There are a few tiny fruit and veg stalls. The best find on the high road is a decent, honest, independent fishmonger (B & J Fisheries, 147A Kilburn High Road), where fresh seafood is sold at reasonable prices. Around the corner from my flat, there is a Syrian and an Iranian grocer (Nour, 95 Chippenham Road, and Al Ghadir, 197 Shirland Road), where I bought big fragrant bunches of mint, parsley, and coriander, and occasionally made awesome finds: tiny dense intensely flavoured Persian apricots, golden perfumed Pakistani mangos, tender baby aubergines. And of course the Portobello Market is only a half-hour walk or short bus ride away.

I didn’t eat out as much in Kilburn as I would have liked, partly because it was hard to persuade people to come to me when the options were generally so much better near them, and partly because for most of the time I was there I was too broke for restaurants. A destination for fine dining Kilburn is not. Here are some of the highlights (and low lights). Continue reading

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Brunch at NOPI

It’s official: London has discovered brunch. Even two years ago, you couldn’t find brunch anywhere except hotels, and said “brunch” consisted only of fry-ups (coyly masquerading as “English breakfast”), granola bowls, and the occasional forlorn Eggs Benedict. All that has changed, and as an American (i.e., brunch addict) I’m ecstatic about it. So when friend C turned up on an early Sunday morning flight from San Francisco, brunch was the Thing To Be Had. And, judging from the buzz, NOPI was the place to have it. Continue reading

Looking for that elusive spark at Corner Room

I really wanted to love Corner Room.

Corner Room is combining flavours in a creative and innovative way. It is affordable(ish). It is the brainchild of a hot chef. The staff persons are sweet and accommodating. But I just liked it. It was a bummer. Continue reading