As Camden expands its borders, a hunting cabin in the wild nature appears with an abundance of mushrooms, deer and hog. Impossible? Not at all! Wild nature of Camden’s culture we meant, but the rest is no metaphor! For our first blog entry in 2017, we have a very special place on the spot this week.
With only five minutes’ walk from Camden tube, Lazy Hunter is a hunting cabin themed cosy place, with an inventive menu and an upside down back story. Rather than building up a place and then trying to give character to it, Justina the lovely managing owner and her partners realised building the place up based on a character would be more clever and so, they invented Sam; a nature loving, friendly wise guy with a scruffy beard, wobbly belly, quirky stories and funny laugh, an English bloke whom everyone would want to spend time with. After finding Sam, questions like “what would this guy cook” and “how would his house look”, slowly but surely shaped the place up to what it is today.
When we asked Justina the reason behind Sam’s nickname; “He’s not much about hunting really, but rather about washing down warm good food from mother nature with a heartfelt toast devoted to friends, and hence the name, Lazy Hunter” she explained. The restaurant is Sam’s house and the guests are his friends… We don’t know if dear lazy Sam is a good hunter, but Lazy Hunter certainly is a good catch!
Lazy Hunter offers nature inspired juicy gourmet burgers, char-grilled or smoked wild meat dishes and warming stews indulged with forest grown fresh produce. Lucky Shot Venison Burger and Dark Forest Hog’s Burger are two of the best sellers. We couldn’t get enough of the truffle sauce which came with the fries either. They have quite a few brunch options and a lunch deal on week days for £ 9,95 which provide you with a main and a side of your choice with a can of house beer. Give it a go people!
More info at www.lazyhunter.co.uk
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun, 10:00-23:00
Address: 117 Kentish Town Rd, London, NW1 8PB
The rowdiest of anarchists, most outrageously dressed, alongside legendary music venues, a plethora of eateries, not to mention the markets - to be a player in Camden you better have some magic tricks up your sleeves to host and please the diversity that it’s known for. Having read their rich menu online, our hearts were set on having some good, hearty “Latin Caribbean” grub at Guanabana this week.
Upon entering this deceivingly tiny looking place, one might be stunned discovering the huge interior divided between several rooms, each having its own character and vibe for you to choose the experience you want to have. Be it colourful and energising or rustic and cosy… And as if that’s not enough, there is a small patio in front and a big garden out the back, ideal for enjoying fresh air and celebrated Caribbean BBQs. Overwhelmed by this amount of choice, we prepared to be surprised.
Should you ask, each guest might give you a different answer to what makes this place special. Their secret is personalizing their service to their guests, Sber the manager tells us, especially with group gatherings. There is no catalogue to look at for what can be done; once you explain what you have in mind, their crew will come up with ideas to make sure your night is unforgettable. You can order your food months in advance to focus on enjoying your company, which makes Guanabana perfect for group gatherings and explains why so many choose here for weddings, baby showers, school, charity and corporate dinners. Heck, if young love, Nickelodeon and Amazon can find common ground (-yes, they held parties here!), you will find something too!
Guanabana offers a wide variety of South America and the Caribbean delicacies, ranging from tender “Picante de Pollo”, crispy empanadas, gourmet fajitas, jerk chicken to sweet curry goat and of course the finger licking “Burrito Tomatillo”. Besides great Latin Caribbean food, you can get juicy gourmet burgers and steaks, which are on offer on Wednesday and Thursdays. A selection of sweet and sour mojitos and daiquiris are on the menu but they don’t come with alcohol which is something to keep in mind. You can bring your own or have it virgin for the full experience of fruitiness. Don’t forget to check their schedule for open mic nights, Kizomba classes, gigs, magic and comedy shows. They have vegetarian options and shisha as well!
More info at www.guanabanarestaurant.com
Opening Hours: 10:00 - 23:30
Address: 85 Kentish Town Rd, London NW1 8NY
Telephone: 020 7485 1166
When life gives you lemons, you throw them in its face and ask for your Espresso. That’s what Mario Schifano, the managing owner of San Marino did back in 1993. Not being able to get his sip of beloved coffee at lunch break in Brixton, he quit his job and decided to open up his own Italian coffee shop. We always thought jokes about Italians being overly passionate about coffee were exaggerated. So we decided to investigate more…
From the first moment you set foot inside, you can see what they are doing differently from Starbucks, Nero or any other major coffee chain. They ask you what you feel like and suggest an order that could fit the mood. It is the only coffee shop that we found which is willing to make you a half cappuccino-half latte, if you can’t decide between the two. You can get your delicious coffee and Panini sandwich to their garden on the high street and sit back and enjoy your time in vibrant Brixton.
San Marino has been a popular spot ever since it opened its doors and with Brixton becoming trendier every year, more and more people prefer its cosy vibe. Trends come and go but the friendly environment at San Marino looks like it is going to stay, as it did for more than 20 years now.
San Marino Brixton offers Italian pasta, paninis, pastries, and of course, coffee, lots and lots of coffee. Keep an eye out for their star chicken and coriander Panini. They open early and serve a variety of breakfast dishes all day long, so no excuses for you to skip the most important meal of the day! Gluten-free and vegetarian options available as well.
More info at www.sanmarinobrixton.com
Opening Hours: 05:30 - 21:30
Address: 413 Brixton Rd, London SW9 7DG
Telephone: 0207 978 8417
We too are an island! The warm weather, white sand and palm trees however are debatable. Still, London has its fair share of small, quirky Caribbean eateries, but this place we visited last week beats to a whole different drum. With its subtle yet strikingly well done décor, Rudie’s is a proper Jamaican restaurant and bar. Upon entry, one feels intrigued with the rather unusual take on Jamaican spots from what we are used to in London. No strangers to Caribbean food, we always knew there was more about Jamaica to be unfolded, treasures buried waiting to be dug up, and finally, someone decided to take’em out!
Driven by the desire to show a whole different side of Jamaican cooking, Matin the managing owner, explained how they explored the island far and wide with his wife to get inspired. They sampled the best that Jamaica has to offer and got creating to produce the perfect representation of this unique gastronomical culture, which can now be tasted at their spot in Stoke Newington.
With palm-like wooden light posts, bar shelves inspired by sugar canes, colours resembling the Jamaican flag and ambience, Rudie’s is sophisticated in its style, lyrical in the detail, yet strongly connected to its roots. Here everything consistently tells you the story of this amazing Caribbean Island. If charcoal grilled tender jerk with spicy-sweet or nostril-flaring hot Caribbean sauces, accompanied by the biggest Jamaican rum collection in London, and good old reggae vibes sound like your kind of ting, rude boy won’t disappoint you.
Rudie’s offers 24-hour jerk-marinated meats cooked over charcoal and wood smoke on traditional drum with a good selection of sides to accompany. You can choose between small plates to nibble on or big plates to share. Their banana brulee is a proven favourite. Wash that down with one of their signature cocktails which come with a historical explanation. They have the very rare Blue Mountain coffee too!
More info at www.rudieslondon.com
Opening Hours: 12:00 - 22:00
Address: 50 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7XB
Telephone: 020 7249 9930
Drinking a cocktail out of your favourite video game, while playing the game in your local corner pub?! Extraordinary places don’t pop up often, but a unique idea combined with great passion and a bit of crowd funding can give birth to a place like Loading Bar, a safe house where drinks are fresh and games are free. A place to try new things, sip on unconventional cocktails and get lost in games fun with your friends, be it a board or a video game! We had to see this place where virtual economy comes to life, so we paid a visit to their spot in Stoke Newington.
The impressive graffiti art covering the facade is impossible to miss, as is the cosy environment you see when you peek through their window. The sound of vintage arcade machines and sights of old consoles, accompanying the newest ones, will surely bring back memories even if you are not into games anymore. Their staff is always there to explain game rules besides making dope cocktails, and if you are travelling alone, they will find you a table to join.
The game enthusiast managing owner James explained how they worked to create an environment where people can drink, relax or play as they want –also confirmed by their name on social media @drinkrelaxplay- without struggling with forced concepts. Loading Bar doesn’t tell you how to have fun. Instead, it offers various ways for you and your friends to choose from.
Free to play board and video games with fun and mysterious game themed beverages such as “Rum-Total War”, “Evil with Gin” and of course, the fan favourite, “Resident Evil G&T Virus” alongside various beers and wines, Loading Bar is a place of adventure. They don’t have a kitchen but you can order any food to be delivered to you, just like at home. If you are an adventurer, this is a place you have to see!
More info at www.loadingonline.co.uk
Opening Hours: 18:00 - 00:00
Address: 97 Stoke Newington Rd, London, N16 8BX
One lazy afternoon while catching the sun from his favourite terrace, Jimmy the cat was suddenly interrupted by a very busy bee. After a brief moment of conflict, the two creatures decided to accept each other’s opposite spirits. Seeing this playful moment which resulted in the friendship of the two, the guys behind Jimmy & the Bee found their concept and their name.
Jimmy & the Bee is a coffee shop with a cosy charm where work and leisure can be friends. With colourful furniture and signs outside, it stands out from the cold brick offices and shops that dominate the surrounding area.
Daisy, the lovely manager, explained how much of a social interaction coffee culture has become, but yet many coffee shops choose to turn into fast-food-alikes by promoting fast consumption and taking that social interaction away from their customers. Coffee is a treat which serves for finding a peaceful satisfaction - you can’t expect to get the same joy by guzzling one down in a rush. So, unlike many, Jimmy & the Bee doesn’t serve foiled up food with a barcode, and the fact that they are making the food right there gives the place a unique homey feel. Daisy and her crew help you relish both the lazy pleasures as well as the working day buzz.
Jimmy & the Bee offers hot breakfasts and soups, freshly made sandwiches and salads and of course, coffee and tea made fresh with perfect precision and served with a big smile. They also provide local artists with the opportunity to showcase or create their art on their walls!
More info at www.jimmyandthebee.com/
Opening Hours: 07:00 - 18:00
Address: 135 Goswell Rd, London, EC1V7JY
When the guys behind this place were choosing their name, they wanted it to reflect how their food should taste like. Poetic, but not like sassy romantic cupcakes, no-no, the ideal burger is creative and chaotic; moulded with everything we like and put together with feeling. “The pulp-fiction hero” as The New Yorker wrote, Bukowski (also the name of the famous shameless American poet), was the name they picked… We had to try the so-called “poetic burger”, so we visited their shop in Brixton Village.
At first glance Bukowski Brixton stands out from other cafes and restaurants at Brixton Village with a dark, industrial environment decorated with neon lights. If someone is eating out at the tables in the corridor, it is almost impossible not to stare at the massive burgers they are having. After a good amount of staring, we shook-off the distraction and had a chat with the manager Luis, whom people of Brixton know as Mr. Bukowski.
Luis explained how they get their ingredients from Brixton to promote the local farming community alongside themselves. They make the ketchup, mayo, patties and all otherwise processed food fresh on their own in their central kitchen. When we asked how they take on the tough increasing competition with places popping up every week in Brixton, he replied “competition is healthy, makes you aware that you always have to be the best”, which might explain their success, opening their fourth shop in Croydon Box Park, on their fourth year.
Besides details like these, which we always like hearing - names of dishes such as “the fat gringo” or “the smokey beast” - are quite tempting, like their contents. You can’t help but wonder how the rest tastes like and end up coming back for a next meal.
Bukowski Grill offers steaks, ribs, and of course, a large variety of charcoal grilled tasty signature burgers with a good selection of sides and milkshakes, which go amazingly well with the burgers. Chilli chips are a proven fan favourite, give it a try y’all!
More info at www.bukowski-grill.co.uk/
Opening Hours: 12:00 - 23:00
Address: Unit 10, Market Row, London, SW9 8JX
Telephone: 0207 7334646
Hanging upside down from monkey bars, escaping flowing lava, jumping in puddles and so on...Some things we love doing as kids tend to fade from our appetites as we grow up. And some definitely never do! Crepes are one of those things equally loved by kids and adults, so today we decided to treat ourselves to just that at Senzala Creperie in Brixton.
The warm, bright colours of the creperie and its luscious aromas invite you in and ones there, it's impossible to leave without having a taste. The friendly staff pour the sweet dough and prepare all the different fillings right there in open view. It's quite easy to get lost in the options, so more often than not it is best to just point at the best plate you see and order "I need this, please!" You'll be understood.
The lovely managing owners Claudia and Elieser explained how they created and maintained a casual atmosphere so that visitors could relax and enjoy, just like at home. In fact, they might join you at your table at any given point and ask you how your week was - no one will be treated like a stranger. On our question of how they keep the guests happy, Claudia declared it was through "putting love into doing what they love". We agree - if love had a taste, it would taste like crepes!
Senzala Creperie offers organic tea, fresh cocktails and milkshakes, and of course delicious gallettes and French crepes both sweet and savoury, perfect for a brunch. What more, they have gluten free and vegan food and drink options - all welcome!
More info at www.senzalacreperie.co.uk
Opening Hours: 11:00 - 22:00
Address: 42 Coldharbour Ln, London, SW9 8PS
Telephone: 0207 274 2211
Choosing your meal preference in Islington can be little tricky sometimes since the area has no shortage of attractive eateries big and small. What caught our eye first was Vespa - yes, the iconic scooter - table. This and the overall cosy yet quirky interior invited us to discover what Cafe La Divina is all about and so we decided to have a closer look.
We stepped into what felt like a haven somewhere in the Mediterranean. The gloomy rainy day outside was forgotten and instead we were taken back into that warm memory of visiting sunny Italy years back. Old Italian movie posters, the smell of fresh pizza dough, all added to the warm ambience.
The managing owner Can, took us on a little tour and explained how they travelled far and wide to acquire their collection of ornaments that decorate the space. The Vespa, however, is definitely by far one of the most popular tables in the neighbourhood.
La Divina Cafe offers a range of Mediterranean delicacies to suit a summer or winter appetite; fresh salads and seafood dishes and a selection of vale and classic Italian pastas and pizzas.
You may have heard of the "Pho mile" down in East London. If you've ever walked the fashion catwalk that is Kingsland Road between Shoreditch and Haggerston, you will have noticed little Vietnam with its endless cafes and Pho hubs. There is one place however which particularly teases you to come in and discover its hidden charm. From the outside, Viet Hoa has an air of mystery about it and so we decided to get acquainted.
On entering, what takes you aback is the sudden sophisticated, nature inspired high-end style. The warm dark tones balanced with a light, clutter-free space, inspire cosy comfort and curiosity to indulge in new tastes. Hien Ly, the lovely managing owner, explained that they were the first Vietnamese Restaurant in the area, opening their doors a quarter of a century ago. As their food and place got popular, other cafes started popping up around and the area evolved into what is now known as the infamous "Pho mile".
Viet Hoa offers delicacies from traditional and modern Vietnamese cuisine, the good old with an element of surprise. Everything looks cooler with an infrared stove at your table. You are welcome to join in the cooking.
It is definitely a unique place, deserving a visit in our opinion.
More info at www.viethoarestaurant.co.uk
Opening Hours: 12:00 - 23:30
Address: 70-72 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8DP
Telephone: 0207 729 8293