£30 - £49
64 Parkway, NW1 7AH
Grilling is the name of the game here and all the fiery action is on show as chefs skilfully handle the tandoor, sigri and tawa before your eyes. But that’s not to say this is a rough-and-ready sort of place, not a bit of it. Namaasté Kitchen has creamy leather banquettes, designer light fittings, and even a couple of chef’s tables – in other words, it’s a pin-sharp modern Indian restaurant. The menu reaches well beyond the curry-house favourites, with chukandari venison cooked in the tandoor (flavoured with beetroot and fennel), followed by Goan sea bass served with dhokla, or a Dorset crab vindaloo. Spicing is well judged throughout and everything looks rather splendid on the plate. To finish, mango brûlée is a contemporary fusion that wins the day. The wine list has a decent global spread, including options under £20.
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£30 - £49
83 Bayham Street, London, NW1 0AG
A culinary landmark in Camden Town for decades, it’s hard to resist the homespun charm of this bona fide backstreet taverna, where you wish the darling waiters were your long-lost uncles. Although it was given a refit back in 2014, Daphne is still old school to the hilt, with colourful trinkets, tiled floors and faded black and white photos of Cyprus setting the scene for some proper family-style food. Mezze plates of taramasalata, kalamari, spanakopita, char-grilled loukanika sausages and louvi (black-eyed beans, spinach and onions cooked in olive oil) pave the way for bigger dishes of pork souvlaki, beef stifado or sheftalia (rolled minced pork with onions, parsley and spices). Daily specials include an abundance of fresh fish (we’d recommend ordering the grilled swordfish steak if it’s available) and there’s sticky sweet baklava to finish. A small roof terrace beckons on summer nights.
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£30 - £49
245 Eversholt Street, London, NW1 1BA
“A lovely tapas restaurant”; “fantastic food at great prices” – you’ll rarely hear a bad word spoken about El Parador, where classic flavours, effervescent vibes and rustic good looks combine to make one seriously seductive Spanish venue. With so much garlic and verdant extra-virgin olive oil on the menu, it’s hardly surprising that everything tastes so good. All the classics are here, alongside a few “interesting extras”: boquerones, calamares and albondigas share the billing with, say, bacalao al piquillo (baked salt cod with piquillo peppers, shrimps, garlic and wine) or panceta con cidra (rolled pork belly braised in cider). Vegetarians are treated to some big, bold flavours too, from textbook tortilla to grilled courgettes with spinach and sunflower seeds, while everyone can indulge in sweet treats of orange crème caramel or Santiago tart. El Parador also boasts a beautiful courtyard garden – “perfect for alfresco lunches in summer”.
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£50 - £79
127-129 Parkway, London, NW1 7PS
John Nash (1752-1835) knocked up a few glam structures hereabouts, and this is one of them. Handsome is the word. Gordon Ramsay (1966- ) turned the old townhouse into a boutique hotel and it remains a useful address in NW1. The venue has much going for it: the one-time stables out back is the place to head for a well-crafted wood-fired pizza; there’s a zinc-topped bar for a smart cocktail or upmarket bar snack (spiced chicken wings with blue cheese dressing), and a restaurant decked out in underwhelming contemporary neutrality. Duck hearts on toast or pickled mackerel with beetroot purée are first courses showing fashionable rusticity, to be followed by the likes of loin of English lamb with a North African spin, or roasted fillets of plaice with sea purslane and fennel cream. We also like the wine list: of global reach and with plenty of choice by the glass or carafe.
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Fish and Chips
65 Parkway Road, London, NW1 7PP
Since its inception back in 2011, Hook has been a byword for super-fresh seafood and sustainability, its fish coming straight to the restaurant from the boats every day. A recent refit of the Camden dining room has also seen a shift in the menu focus. There’s still the fish and chips the place is famous for – catch of the day (cod and seabream on our visit) in a variety of flavoured tempura batters or seasoned panko options – but there’s also a more varied menu for both starters and mains, with inspirations from all over the world. The vegetable tempura, drizzled in honey and served with a ginger dipping sauce, is not to be missed, but aside from the odd meat option, it’s fish all the way. And where there isn’t fish, there’s seaweed, infused into the cream for the mashed (not mushy) peas, flavouring the house-made pickles, and sprinkled over the chips, which are really more like wedges, but hey, your traditional Friday night fish supper this most definitely isn’t.
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Fish and Chips
30 Hawley Crescent, London, NW1 8NF
Pat ‘Pop' Newland’s family-run chippie in Spitalfields is a legend, but his irresistible mix of 1940s nostalgia and superlative grub is now also available to the good folk of Camden. Like the original, this branch is a white-tiled space filled with wartime memorabilia, a vintage jukebox, reclaimed cinema seating and newspapers from yesteryear – tailor-made for some proper patriotic victuals. Jellied eels, fishcakes and hand-peeled prawn cocktails are warm-up acts for big helpings of fish and chips from sustainable sources, plus hot seafood platters, free-range rotisserie chicken, pies, pasties and saveloys. Nattily dressed waitresses (aka ‘poppettes’) are as sweet as can be, and you can even brush up on your rhyming slang by memorising the phrases on the walls. On Friday and Saturday nights, the lounge upstairs morphs into a venue for indie bands, poets, comedians and knees-ups around the old Joanna.
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