HOLLOWAY | N7
Hidden gems don’t get much more hidden than this. Slap bang in the middle of Nags Head market in Holloway, with barely any online presence, and only one sign on the street indicating its existence, you'll find Colombian joint El Arepazo.
Stepping into this restaurant, I was transported to South America with a Spanish greeting from the waitress, Colombian music, brightly coloured walls, and a food display packed with tamales, empanadas, arepas and more.
It can be hard to decipher the menu here as there sort of isn't one, plus the staff don’t speak much English. But don’t let that put you off, as they have a two course meal deal that’s available all day, that also includes a soft drink, for £8.
Things kick off with a soup from which there are several options, and the chicken version was hearty and filling, with chunks of meat and vegetables, all incredibly good with a squeeze of lemon and some of their homemade spicy salsa.
I opted for fried chicken with lentils as the main - recommended by the waitress - and it didn't disappoint. An escalope the size of my face, perfectly spiced lentils, fluffy rice, an oozy fried egg, salad and plantain. It was incredible - crispy, juicy, well seasoned, and that salsa was hot hot hot!
El Arepazo is one of those places I don’t really want to tell you about but feel compelled to, as it’s just so good. Top it off with friendly and warm service, throw in some of their empanadas to take home (which are really very good and cheap), and this is a serious contender for my top London Cheap Eat!
Words and photography | Ed Tan