Having turned heads over the past few years with her brand of heartfelt and infectious soul, Qendresa’s been busy holding down her NTS Radio show and DJ’ing for rising star Jimothy Lacoste. We sat down with Qendresa to get the full scoop on the best food spots her neighbourhood has to offer.

So to start off, do you perhaps want to give yourself a little introduction?

Hi I’m Qendresa, I’m a singer, producer and DJ – I’m going to be taking you around my favourite food spots in my area tour of my neighbourhood, Kilburn – North West London.

Have you always lived in Kilburn?

I lived there since I was born, basically. I moved out for about seven years – but now I’m back again!

You couldn’t stay away eh?

Nuh uh. It’s a love and hate relationship.

How is Kilburn for good places to eat and drink?

It’s really good, it’s got a multitude of cultures – so there’s a big selection of different types of food. It’s also really affordable which is nice.

What are the main cultural cuisines you’d find there?

You get a lot of Asian food, a lot of Thai food, Turkish grills, and a bunch of fast food.

Are there a lot of staples in the neighborhood? Or is it somewhere that a lot of new, jazzier places have opened up?

There’s quite a lot of places that have just stayed open for ages. Not that much in terms of new places, there’s a pretty new cafe which has just opened up – it looks quite funny on the old Kilburn High Road. No Pret A Manger’s thankfully..

So where are some of your favourite food spots?

A lot of people from the area always hit up Spicy Basil. It’s a Thai spot. You basically get a massive plate of tasty authentic food, for like £5.50. It’s got all the classics, Pad Thai etc. That’s the go to place for the hangover etc. Their line is always busy, so if you try calling on Friday evening to order, forget it – they’re not going to pick up.

Oh there’s a really good Indian place called Bawarchi too. They’re not on Deliveroo or anything, and they’ve had the same workers since we were kids who kind of remember you. They’ve still got their old ways of working which is cool to see, the food amazing and really cheap.

What’s your order?

Depends. They have a flat po phun noodles, with basil, chilli and garlic with king prawns. It’s heavy.

Any other places we should know about?

There’s also Kaipiras by Barraco. It’s a Brazillian restaurant, kind of hidden away on a back road. So not many people know about it. It’s amazing, really good food for a good price. They do Caipirinha’s for £3.50. Good bang for your buck.

There’s a cool spot in Notting Hill called Books For Cooks, which is a cookbook spot. You have to try and get there before 11 on the weekend, but they do a 3 course meal for £6.50. All really good stuff. They pick a book off the wall, pick a recipe and get going they do a starter, main course and these amazing cakes – they come with a kind of yoghurt thing on them. So good!

They pick a book off the wall, pick a recipe and get going

How about for a quick on the go snack?

It’s a bit boujjy, but I’m going to say it anyway. Down the road is West Hampstead, its like five minutes away. And there’s a place called Gails Bakery, and I’ve just been obsessed with it for ages now. The Oatmilk Latte is so good. I kind of want more places for healthy food on the go. There’s also another Carribean take away by Kensal Rise called DJ’s. It’s really good for just grabbing a Patty on the go.

Any good places to go for a drink?

The Shop in Kensal Rise is really nice for a drink. It closed down for a while now, but it’s back now! There’s also Laylow, which is a place I DJ at sometimes.

So your family are from Kosovo right? Is there a big Kosovan community in Kilburn?

Yeah there’s a huge community around Kilburn, West Hampstead, Swiss Cottage etc. They had this really nice restaurant that used to be kind of the hub for any events. I think it’s died out a bit now. We were quite lucky to live in an area where there’s a really big ethnic mix, so we had the Turkish, Albanian, Carribean shops – so for ingredients, we would get sent to them. My mum were send us to Turkish shops, as their ingredients were closest to Albanian ones.

Has any of the Albanian cooking knowledge been passed down to you?

Yeah! My mum didn’t force it on me, but you pick up bits. It’s quite easy really. I’ve started dabbling more and more over the past years. Filo Pastry tarts are a good one, although I have to admit I didn’t make the pastry from scratch. I can’t claim that. There’s a kind of soup which is kind of onions, paprika, salt, potatoes, stock and whatever meat you want. My mum used to make Oxtail. It’s kind of a Ghoulash.

Obviously youre doing a lot of travelling at the moment with Jimothy. Where’s the best place that you’ve gone for food on tour?

There’s a place we went to in Iceland, where this woman just welcomed us in, and I felt like she was my Grandma or something – she had a scarf around her shoulders, and I felt like we were in her house. She suggested we try the fish chowder with nice fresh bread and olive oil, and it was so good. I can’t remember it’s name though! The rest of the time its just fast food.

We actually just somone to finally fix our rider, because Jimothy always just requests doughnuts. To be fair, he does also get fruit. But two pack of doughnuts, chocolate, vodka and orange juice. I was like, no we Sandwiches, carrot sticks and veg! Not trying to get scurvy!

Catch Qendresa on tour with Jimothy Lacoste around the World, and dropping some new music of her own later this year.

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About The Author

Josh Byrne

Josh Byrne

Head chef at both High Praise and XVI Records, Josh has been involved in releasing and promoting electronic music for the past ten years. Currently handling PR & Radio for a number of labels, Josh also DJ's by night - and consults for creative agencies on trends within music subcultures, providing up to date insights from the forefront of the scene.

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