Streets of London: Olive Road, NW2

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  • The borough of Brent is one of the most culturally and racially diverse of all the local authorities in England and Wales, and Olive Road is a microcosm of that, with its community of Europeans, Asians, Arabs and Antipodeans (hence the Aussie Rules football games in the park). This means there’s an eclectic mix of restaurants to choose from. Two Indian diners especially worth noting are the Pink Rupee (020 8452 7665) at 38 Cricklewood Broadway, and the renowned Gujarati vegetarian café, The Sabras, at 263 Willesden High Road (020 8459 0340). There are also a few Polish- and Australian-flavoured restaurants and hangouts on Willesden High Road.

    Though it’s only a five-minute drive to the mega-mall delights of Brent Cross shopping centre and myriad superstores including Ikea, everyday shopping is done on Cricklewood Broadway (about a ten-minute walk), an unremarkable selection of small, mostly shabby shops selling nothing particularly interesting. For entertainment, bingo fans will be in their element at the 3,000-seat Beacon Bingo (200 Cricklewood Broadway; 020 8452 4484), the largest hall of its kind anywhere in London.

    A restored red-stone Irish gastropub called The Crown and the adjacent swish new four-star Crown Moran hotel (020 8452 4175) could be considered the very first fruits of a £4 billion regeneration programme to be undertaken by neighbouring Barnet council and industry heavyweights Hammerson (who built the Bullring in Birmingham), Standard Life and Multiplex (who were involved in the construction of the Emirates Towers in Dubai). The second stage of proposals for this massive construction site – one of the biggest London has ever seen, according to Barnet council – is due this month, with building expected to start in 2009. The designated area is a huge 250 acres of brownfield just east of Cricklewood Broadway, stretching all the way towards (and beyond) Brent Cross. Seven-and-a-half thousand homes will be built, along with schools, a leisure park, waterways, cafés, a new bridge, even a mainline railway station. Brent Cross itself will be incorporated into the scheme to create what will ostensibly be a whole new town. As a result, property values in the area are expected to rocket. Find out more at www.barnet.gov.uk.

    Estate agents

    Bairstow Eves(020 8451 4535/www.beinlondon.co.uk)Camerons Stiff & Co (020 8459 1133/ www.cameronsstiff.co.uk)Ellis & Co(020 8451 7272/www.ellisandco.co.uk)Foxtons(020 7433 6600/www.foxtons.co.uk)Haart(0845 338 6890/www.haart.co.uk)Rainbow Reid(020 8830 0181/www.rainbowreid.co.uk)

    Transport

    Willesden Green and Dollis Hill tube stations (both walking distance) are served by the Jubilee Line (17 minutes to Bond Street). Cricklewood overland station, serving Luton and Sutton, is no more than a 15-minute stroll away. There are two main bus stations serving the area: one on Cricklewood Broadway, the other on Willesden High Road.

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