‘I love Lee [Tiernan, head chef and owner] and the whole team there. He is one of the most inventive chefs in London. What they do is completely unique – big powerful, loud, in-your-face flavours from all around the world but made from scratch. My favourite dish there is the mapo tofu with hash browns.’ 156 Canonbury Rd.
‘They’re a great little family-run Italian restaurant. They’ve been here for probably two decades. During lockdown they widened their range to include lots of antipasti and focaccia and arancini – stuff you can pick up on the go. But my favourite thing is their carbonara with ’nduja, which is fantastic.’ 165 Holloway Rd.
‘It’s amazing – they sell wines, cheeses and general deli goods, like pâté en croute. The owner is called Hugo and they used to be a little wine bar in the evening. Unfortunately, they’ve had to stop that for now, but they’re still really serving the community. I buy a lot of Dusty Knuckle bread from them and wine too: rieslings, beaujolais and orange mosel.’ 167 Holloway Rd.
‘It’s an amazing Vietnamese restaurant – their fried chicken wings are crazy good, and their pho, of course. Before I opened Sambal Shiok I popped up at Salvation in Noodles for two weeks, in January 2016, so it has a special place in my heart.’ 2 Blackstock Rd.
‘It runs meditation and mindfulness courses, some of them free. Right next door is Highbury Library, which was a really useful haunt when I was refurbishing my restaurant as it was a quiet, safe place to work with my laptop. Both places are a welcome respite from the stresses of life.’ 72 Holloway Rd.
‘It’s a Turkish and Uyghur Chinese restaurant and their big-plate chicken with hand-pulled noodles is incredible – you must ask for it spicy! On the outside it looks like it might be quite a basic kebab shop, but when you go in there’s so much choice.’ 27 Blackstock Rd.
‘A pretty little green space just round the corner from my restaurant. I go there if I need a peaceful time out, or need to have a private chat with one of my team. It isn’t as busy as Highbury Fields and has plenty of benches dotted around to [sit on and] watch the world go by.’ Holloway Rd, N7 8LT.