After feeling overwhelmed with London’s food scene and frustrated with the lack of easy-to-find information, Angelica Malin decided it was time to start her own magazine. About Time turned into her attempt to share information on new openings, events and restaurants with readers in London. Today, the magazine reaches over 75,000 people, where Angelica shares everything from tips, to events, new openings and even the very best places to eat brunch.
Photography by Corina Esquivel
We chatted with Angelica about running her own publication, what dishes she likes to cook for friends and her all-time favourite spots to eat, drink and hangout all over the city.
How long have you lived in London?
I’ve lived in London my whole life. I was away at boarding school, but I’ve always called London home.
What do you like most about London’s unique food scene?
There’s an incredible sense of possibility in the London food scene. You want to start a porridge-only cafe? Sure, we can do that. A restaurant dedicated to chicken with only a small menu on the wall? London laps that up. I love how open Londoners are to concept - we’re willing to try anything once, which gives young entrepreneurs and foodies a huge scope for trying their hand at the London food scene. In a word, it’s very open. I love that.
What kinds of foods are you most inspired by? What do you enjoy making?
I don’t eat meat, so finding great ways to be satiated without compromising on flavour are really important to me. I grew up with a huge amount of Mediterranean and Jewish food; my family lunches always consisted of lots of fresh salads and roasted vegetables. Saturday lunch would not be complete with a fresh Challah loaf and poppy seed Rugelach - Jewish pastry from the Gods. My boyfriend is Persian, so we now make a lot of Persian-inspired food. They love herbs in Persian cuisine, and increasingly our dinner table is taken over with an abundance of fresh mint, coriander and dill. We love making a simple dip of yogurt, cucumber, dill, lemon, salt and pepper - it’s a Persian take on the classic Greek Tzatiki, and goes perfectly alongside Shakshuka, which we always make if friends are coming over. It’s a great one pot dish that only gets better with time.
Tell us a few places around town that you enjoy going for brunch, drinks, dinner, coffee.
Brunch is basically my full time job. We make it a mission at About Time to try at least three new brunch places a week. There’s no version of Eggs Royale I haven’t now tried. The best breakfast in London is probably Caravan - their homemade granola with coconut yogurt, honey porridge and Jalapeño cornbread with poached eggs is sensational. Further South, M1LK in Balham is another incredible breakfast spot - come here for homemade crumpets with honeycomb, Goat’s curd and butter, they are simply divine. For all-round vibe, Dishoom can’t be beaten - their spiced granola with fresh fruit and vanilla yogurt is worth crossing town for. I like to keep it light for lunch - for healthy lunch, Maple and Fitz is incredible. You can get a combination of fresh salads and the best gluten-free banana bread in the capital here. For coffee, the best dairy-free Flat White I’ve ever had is actually at Inspiral in Camden. You can choose from almond, soya and even quiona milk, and it’s a surprisingly tranquil spot in Camden, overlooking the canal.
For dinner, there are simply too many places to choose from. My favourite restaurant in London is probably Mele e Pere on Brewer Street. It’s a small Italian trattoria run by two Scottish brothers, and does simply the best Italian small plates, like Swordfish carpaccio and incredible truffle gnocchi, and their pistachio ice cream can’t be beaten. I recently discovered Randa Restaurant in Kensington for Lebanese sharing food - the best falafel I’ve ever tried, hands down. For sushi, I adore Maze. Here, sushi is a real art, and their Pisco Sours are top. And Kouzu in Victoria, which is great if you like to sit at the bar and see the sushi-making first hands. I’m not a big drinker, but for cocktails I really like Aqua Kyoto - they’ve got a great panoramic rooftop overlooking the city, and their take on a Pina Colada with matcha, coconut and pineapple is world class. But the best cocktail in the city can be found at Balls & Co on Greek Street - it’s an almond sour made with almond butter, cherry and bitters, and it’s the perfect post-dinner drink. I want one now, actually.
If you could map out a full day of food all over London — from breakfast, to lunch, maybe a coffee in between, to dinner and drinks — what places would you include in your “must visit” city guide?
Breakfast at Kopapa, Covent Garden - get their ‘Half and Half’ granola, which is a mix of fresh fruit, vanilla poached figs, yogurt and the most incredible black sesame granola. And if you’re feeling naughty, the best salted caramel milkshake in London…
Lunch at Maple & Fitz, Fitzrovia - for courgette pesto, the Cauliflower Mumbai with indian spices and avocado. Stop by PRESS London on the way back for a smoothie.
Coffee break - it’s got to be Kaffeine on Great Titchfield Street for an iced latte, or, if we’re feeling naughty, I’ll take the team down to Peyton and Byrne in Covent Garden for a slice of carrot cake. Their sour cream icing is just a game changer.
Dinner - if I’m feeling fancy, then it’s got to be Yauatcha on Brewer Street. Who doesn’t love dim sum? They have no soul. If we’re feeling more low key, my boyfriend and I will go to our favourite sushi spot in Hampstead. It’s called KinChi, and it’s a tiny, low-lit Japanese restaurant with a handful of tables. You’ll probably have to wait, but it will be worth it for their Agadish Tofu and Spicy Tuna rolls — they are so simple, and yet so incredible.
Drinks - Let’s skip drinks and go straight for ricotta ice cream at Gelupo, shall we?
What do you think about London’s growing food maker scene?
It’s awesome. London-produced foodie items are really on the rise! From East London Liquour company to London-produced smoked salmon, it seems that London’s really taking off in creating its own produce. I love that - it gives a real sense of authenticity to what we’re buying. It’s amazing to see people taking more of an interest in where our food comes from - when we’re cooking together, my boyfriend is obsessed with finding the best quality, seasonal, local produce as you can really taste the difference. London-made gin? I’ll take that.
Tell us a little about your work with About Time Magazine!
So I started the magazine in March 2014. At the time, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by London’s food scene, and was frustrated at the lack of easy-to-digest information on new openings, events, restaurants. I felt with London, there’s so much choice and an overwhelming amount of information at our fingertips, that sometimes you need someone to sit you down and be like ‘It’s about time you did this. This one thing is worth your time’. That’s About Time in a nutshell, really. We’re bossy and value your time as its own form of currency. The site is also very visually-led, because we eat with our eyes, right? We put a lot of time and effort into photography, making sure to make the website as delicious as the restaurants we are promoting. In many ways, I think I was lucky. People really warmed to the site - turns out people like being bossed around! This month, we’ll be reaching around 75 thousand people, which is really exciting, and we also run About Time events, workshops and brunches - fingers in many, many delicious pies.
As a magazine editor, you definitely have to know what’s new restaurants and events are taking place around the city! Anything new in town that we should know about?
MI + ME has just opened in Kings Cross - it’s an urban deli on the upper concourse of St Pancras International Station, which sources ingredients from the UK’s best cheesemakers and farmers, and specializes in meat and cheese boards. The boys behind Scotchtails, a luxury, artisan Scotch egg company which started in Borough Market, have just started their first cafe - Lundenwic in Aldwych, which is really fab. And The Truscott Arms, which is a really popular pub in Maida Vale with a great gluten-free menu, is about to open a new branch in Belsize Park - it’s going to be a big hit. If you like waffles, Waffle On at The Watch House is launching this week - for great strawberry and chocolate Belgian waffles - and there’s a new Italian restaurant called Vico, by Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo, owners of acclaimed Soho restaurant Bocca di Lupo, which is going to be huge. It’s Italian street food, pizza by the slice and desserts by Gelupo, and I reckon will very be popular with the after-work crowd.
Do you find that London’s food scene just keeps growing and expanding in new ways? It seems like it never stops! There’s always something new and exciting.
Yes, although I think we can get a little caught up in the concept of ‘new.’ Just because something is new, doesn’t mean it’s the best place ever. Let us not forget some great old gems, too. And we’ve got to be careful with just selling concept to people, too. I’m still not convinced we need a restaurant dedicated to deep-fried food, if I’m honest.
What are some of your favorite things to cook for friends and family?
I love one pot dishes, because I’m lazy like that. I like to be able to leave things for hours at a time and they only get better - like bean stews, sweet potato dishes and one-pot risotto. Being honest, I don’t cook a lot. But at weekend, big brunches of Middle Eastern baked eggs, fresh salad and sesame bagels always goes down a treat. And smoked salmon — there has to be smoked salmon. I also make a mean banana bread with spelt flour, crushed hazelnuts and cinnamon, it’s my go-to weekend treat, warm from the oven, with almond butter. The dream.
Food is really the center of events, gatherings, special occasions. How do you think food essentially brings people together?
Food is love, isn’t it. There’s no greater love than cooking for someone - it’s giving up your time, throwing your passion into something. Especially in Judaism, we always gather around food. Family occasions aren’t complete without cheesecake and bowls of fresh figs — that’s how I grew up, and the sight of those things always fills me with joy. Food is a great language that we can all speak, and to me, to break bread with someone is truly one of the most wonderful things you can do.
What they’re serving:
Shaksuka, Persian yogurt dip, bagels, smoked salmon and avocado.