Sunday, 23 May 2010

Resettled: Newington Green

It's been a shamefully long time since I last posted, but with good reasons - I had exams for my Masters and then I moved house. And now I've done both, it's time to regain a sense of normality. This involves cooking for pleasure, eating out with friends, discovering all the delicious foodie finds in my new area (Newington Green).

The subtle differences between neighbourhoods is one of the things I find most fascinating about London; how a little shift (two miles at most) to the east and the character of the streets and their inhabitants and their cultural and culinary offerings change.

From my house in Dartmouth Park, you could walk 300 metres west and you would find well-heeled but low-key gastropubs fringing the heath. 400 metres west and you would find neighbourhood Italian, tapas, Ethiopian restaurants; bargainous, delicious little secrets. To the west the clientèle were older with more families, to the east young professionals and empty nesters nestled together.

From our flat in Newington Green, there is a more exciting patchwork of differences in direction. A plod north takes you first to a band of Turkish places; okacbasi houses which give out the most amazing smoky smells, to the East lies the multiculti melting pot of Dalston, with West African, Carribean, Turkish and cockney shops and stalls on the high street and in the amazing Ridley Road market. A venture South or West will take you to well-heeled Highbury or Islington, with boutiques, delis and abundant yumminess. So, very well served!

So the first few weeks have been an intensive discovery mission around the new area - the greengrocers, the bakeries, the butchers, the markets, the brunch spots, the take-aways. But there was no question about where our first take-away would be from: Mangal 1, the classic Dalston kebab joint.

Eager eaters were gathered outside, charcoal grill smells wafted out the door. We ordered our Adana kebabs, and each came with a separate salad container and bread. The results were amazing, mind-blowing; even when surrounded by piles of boxes and everything else in disarray. A tasty start to an exciting new chapter!