A A Gill regarded Islington with some disdain – he claimed it was way too comfortable with neither the edge of Hackney nor the swagger of Notting Hill.
But the joy of Islington is that it doesn’t try too hard. And unlike other parts of central London there is character to be found here – it is still home to people whose families have been here for generations. But as with most places, the best is off the beaten track. Here are the secrets of my village.
Walk through Barnsbury in the spring when the blossom gets serious. Start at Gibson square and head through Cloudesley square to the Crown Pub. Hit up gothic Lonsdale square then Ripplevale Grove and into the big one, Thornhill Square. Islington has squares nailed.
For the hungry
Avoid Upper St for eating – there is too much mediocrity. Instead head off the main drag.
Salut – tiny restaurant with an open kitchen. The food is excellent and atmosphere so great. Go for a date.
Trullo - now nearly 10 years old and makes the best wild boar ragu in London.
Farang – forget your dispiriting Thai green curry. This place does brilliant Thai streetfood. It has a gap year vibe that's hard to describe. You will know what I mean.
Sunday - people make pilgrimages here . Come mid week - the queue at the weekends is crackers (although you can definitely find love in the queue). Courgette Fritters is where it's at.
Victoria Beau run by lovely Emma and her pet Daschund Dinky is a complete gem. Come for Rixo and other independent brands.
Wild swans for a great edit of the best Scandi brands.
Paper Mache Tiger on Cross Street is the most beautiful eclectic store. Buy a breton tee here.
Drapers arms is a genteel locals favourite. Sit by the fire on cold winters day with a steak pie or sip and aperol in the garden in the summer.
Saint Expresso on Pentonville Road
Southpaw on Hemingford Road
Enjoy! Send me postcards #somervillelondon