Only a few years ago, the best Thai place in London was Saville Row.
Things have improved considerably since then.
Now, we have places like Smoking Goat and the Begging Bowl. And Seb Holmes has worked at both of them.
So it’s about time that the 25-year-old Thai cuisine whizz flew the nest and set out on his own. Of course, it’s not a total leap in the dark – having run a string of sell-out supperclubs, successful popups, and his current stalls at both Dinerama & Hawker House, Farang is an enterprise that has grown, little by little, into a veritable behemoth of Thai cooking.
The next chapter takes place in his stepdad’s old restaurant and one of Farang’s previous supper-club haunts, San Daniele in Highbury. This new home was, until very recently, a brick-walled, pizza-ovened taverna that looked like it was dragged from the more rural parts of Tuscany, and inserted against its will into this leafy corner of North London. But after a quick spruce (and hopes to gain planning permission to double the size in future), it’s ready to host Farang once again – only this time as a fully-fledged restaurant, with a 6 month residency. And since it’s not so much a residency as a pretty legit handover, there’s hopes that those 6 months will be extended to a permanent gig. And so to,
Everything’s served in both small and larger plate portions, so you can mix & match fragrant stews like Cornish mussels in a coconut-scented green curry broth; spicy meat dishes like flat iron-grilled beef steak with roasted chilli jaew (a kind of dipping sauce); and fresh veggie options like aromatic crispy wontons and dipping vegetables. On the side, you’ll find pillowy turmeric butter roti and pickles, and for dessert there’s an array of Asian-inspired sweets – including homemade cashew praline with green tea ice cream, and fresh doughnut filled with crabapple jam.
And if that’s somehow not enough for you, there’s a feasting party every Sunday – where a four-course meal (and er, plenty of booze) will be wheeled out for 60 diners over a four-hour lock-in.
With plans like that, it’s surely a shoe-in for a permanent spot.
But only Thai-me will tell…
NOTE: Farang is now open Wed-Sat, 5.30-10.30pm and Sunday 1-5pm. Reservations can be made on their website HERE.
Farang | San Daniele, 72 Highbury Park, N5 2XE
Like contemporary Thai street food? Then you should absolutely, positively check out Soho’s Kiln