With two popular Street Feast operations under his belt, Seb Holmes has announced the first restaurant site for Farang, which majors in authentic Thai cuisine. The restaurant will open at 72 Highbury Park on 3 February, initially for six months.
Words: Neil Simpson
Farang (meaning ‘foreigner’ in Thai) is the work of a team with no South East Asian heritage between them – hence the restaurant’s name – but, as opening head chef at Ben Chapman’s wildly popular Smoking Goat, Holmes has more than proved he knows his way around a wok.
Following rumours of a Borough restaurant last year, Seb (above) has bagged a six-month lease at the former Italian, San Daniele, which was owned by his stepdad. As Seb explains, “my stepdad owned San Daniele for twenty years and when it suddenly went up for sale, he decided to retire. The landlord is waiting for permission to make changes [which will include converting the site from 80 covers to 40] and in the meantime, we’ve got it for six months. The landlord has given us first refusal after that, so this could very well be a permanent Farang restaurant if all goes well.”
Dan Turner, who worked his way up in the kitchen for two years at Peckham Thai The Begging Bowl, will be joining Seb in Highbury, where the menu will focus on small plates and homemade curries.
Small plate options are set to include grilled sardines with wild ginger, nam jim jaew dressing and Asian herbs, grilled flat iron steak with roasted chilli jaew (Thai-style dipping sauce), and Cornish mussels in a coconut, green curry and sweet basil broth.
If that’s got you checking Citymapper for routes to Highbury Park, then larger plates such as pork belly and lobster lon (a fermented shrimp paste dip, slowly simmered in coconut cream) with vegetables and herbs, or curries of Cornish dayboat fish or coconut-braised beef cheek, should seal the deal. For dessert, choose from fresh, kaffir sugar-dusted doughnuts stuffed with crab apple jam and pandan custard, or cashew nut praline with green tea ice cream.
The site will initially be open from Wednesday to Friday in the evenings and for lunch and dinner on Saturday. Within a month of opening, there will also be a ticketed Sunday feasting menu: “a maximum of 60 people can come along, with everybody getting a four-course meal and all the food coming out at once. We want everybody good and drunk by 5pm”, explains Seb.
With a promise to make “homemade, proper Thai” food (which fans of his Street Feast sites will attest to), it’s going to be a busy 2017 for the chef: Seb is also releasing his first cookbook on 21 March, alongside the continuation of his Farang residencies at Hawker House in Canada Water and Shoreditch’s Dinerama, both part of the Street Feast group.
Farang will initially open for friends, family and walk-ins from 3 February, before fully opening on Wednesday 8 February.
Take a look at our selection of the best Thai restaurants in London here
This article was published 19 January 2017