My London: Andi Oliver

Joanna Taylor
·3-min read
 (Andi Oliver)
(Andi Oliver)

Home is…

Clapton with my boyfriend of 26 years, Garfield.

Best meal you’ve had?

My favourite restaurant is Cornerstone by Tom Brown. It’s one of those places where not one bite is ever wasted, every morsel is beautiful and savoured, thought out, carefully balanced and nuanced. The crumpet with crab or the shrimp is amazing and the mackerel paté is so silken and light, it’s like ambrosia.

Which shops do you rely on?

There’s a shop at the top of my road called Elis, it’s a corner shop but it has everything from barley flour to okra, starfruit and yams. Palm2 is a beautiful little Clapton deli. I get all of my glasses from Black Eyewear on Goodge Street. Clothes-wise, I would say Gingham Doll by this brilliant designer Babs Atta-Krah, who makes bespoke one-off pieces.

Palm2Palm 2
Palm2Palm 2

If you could buy any building to live in, which would it be?

At the top of Springfield Park is a big old house that’s now a café and you can see across the marshes and Lea Valley — it’s a stunning view.

Where would you like to be buried?

Down by the River Lea there are lots of weeping willows and trickling streams so I’d have my ashes chucked there.

What makes someone a Londoner?

I think a spirit of fortitude. Londoners are really good at dealing with any crap that’s thrown at them. We hunker down, we grit our teeth and we get on with it and I think that’s a very lovely trait.

Have you ever had a run-in with a police officer?

I have and I bit him and that’s the end of that story.

Favourite beauty spot?

My friend Neneh Cherry and I took our daughters and nieces to this incredible place called Nailology on Goswell Road. They are absolutely brilliant, it costs a little bit more but it’s worth every single penny, and they gave us Prosecco!

Who is the most iconic Londoner?

Barbara Windsor! She epitomises a beautiful, powerful, focused, driven, incredibly talented spirit of London. She was like London in a little tiny package.

Barbara WindsorAlamy Stock Photo
Barbara WindsorAlamy Stock Photo

What’s your London secret?

Hai Café, serving northern Vietnamese food. It’s this tiny restaurant run by a family and the food is delicious, absolutely beautiful. They do a crab spring roll thing that’s astonishing and pork belly curry with soft, fluffy coconut rice.

Best place for a first date?

I just love Columbia Road Flower Market, and if it was going really well I’d go to The Marksman pub, which is just around the corner. It has a really lovely sun terrace and the food is absolutely divine.

Columbia Road Flower MarketAlamy Stock Photo
Columbia Road Flower MarketAlamy Stock Photo

Where do you go to let your hair down?

I love a bar on Upper Clapton Road called Biddle Bros, and my friend has got a pub at the top of our road called The Crooked Billet.

What are you up to at the moment for work?

I’m finishing the latest series of Great British Menu and I’ve got Beat The Chef coming out on Channel 4. I’m filming a new series of Food Unwrapped and my daughter Miquita and I are about to shoot more of our Instagram series, What’s For Dinner Mummy? I love working with my daughter, it’s a dream.

What is your favourite work of art in London?

My partner used to run Cordy House on Curtain Road, it had a massive picture of Angela Davis in it by a friend of ours called Shepard Fairey. It’s still there now.