Home Islington life Humans of Nag’s Head Market

Humans of Nag’s Head Market

helen odulana nag's head market
Helen Odulana, left, and Christina Tengey, right, at Tasty African. Photo: Naomi Siyu Guo
nag's head market clifford farrell
Clifford Farrell OBE at Paradise Passion. Photo: Naomi Siyu Guo

Clifford Farrell OBE of Paradise Passion

Cliff was appointed an OBE by the Queen for saving lives in his native country of Montserrat following the volcanic eruption in 1997. He was working as a firefighter on upper street before he decided to retire and open his food stall at Nag’s Head Market in 2015. Paradise Passion was one of the first few food stalls in the Market.

“Yeah I started the movement [of the Nag’s Head Market food scene], that’s why I call it Paradise Passion – because I cook with passion.“

Helen Odulana and Christina Tengey at Tasty African. Photo: Naomi Siyu Guo
Christina Tengey and Helen Odulana at Tasty African. Photo: Naomi Siyu Guo

Helen Odulana and Christina Tengey of Tasty African

Helen Odulana cooks up delicious Nigerian food at Nag’s Head Market. She says: “My favourite thing about the area is everything in the market, because we are like a family. Everybody is helping each other out especially the young ladies that always come here every Tuesday.”

nag's head market ahuv de chazai
Ahuv de Chazai at Coffee Room 29. Photo: Naomi Siyu Guo

Ahuv de Chazal of Coffee Room 29

SOAS grad Ahuv took over this ex-Italian coffee shop with his friend Charlie last Monday. They are both vegan and they will run it as a vegan coffee shop.

“Both of us have been planning for two and half years to start a coffee shop, so small start for us. Hopeful to develop creativity ideas for food and drinks business here.” says the vegan food enthusiast who knows how to replace eggs with chia seeds in recipes.

He values the relationship between the traders at the market, saying: “What I think is sad in London is that it is such a diverse city, but people don’t usually talk to each other. I live in Peckham, there’s loads of Ghanaian and Nigerian food but I haven’t really eaten any of it because as a vegan I don’t know what I can eat.

“But here, I was able to speak to Helen Odulana at Tasty African and she said “Of course I can do vegan food for you.” She did a lovely meal for me – beans, jollof rice and plantain. Through this market I have actually gotten to know the food of the world.”

nag's head market bob bruschetta
Daniele Garola, left, and Alessandro Cirillo, right, at Bob Bruschetta. Photo: Naomi Siyu Guo

Alessandro Daniele and Daniele Garola of Bob Bruschetta

The pizza duo has been running Bob Bruschetta since 2015. You can find some delicious pizzas and buy them by the slice – New York style – for only £1.50!

Alessandro says: “It was a very cheap to start here compared to the high street. We do our pizza the proper Italian way – thin crust, way different to a lot of pizza you see around here.

“In Italy you’ve got two different styles. We do the Romana one, which is crunchy and very thin, you can eat it with your hands. Neapolitan style is more soft and chewy, usually cut through. Most of the ingredients are from Italy, so we try to bring the Italian flavour through our pizza. We saw lots of shops closing in the market but we were always busy. Since we joined the market there’s been lots of changes, it’s been refurbished quite a bit.”

ZEN washoku nag's head market
YiShen Chen, left, and LiXiu Wen, right, at ZEN Washoku. Photo: Naomi Siyu Guo.

Lixiu Wen and YiShen Chen of Zen Washoku

Taiwanese-born linguist Lixiu Wen has always had a soft spot for Japanese food as his grandparents are from Osaka. To him, Japanese cuisine means the taste of home and he has been serving Holloway locals delicious sushi and Katsudons, a Japanese rice dish, for almost 3 years.  

He says: “I was a lecturer at SOAS, researching Chinese language and ancient Chinese language like signology. Because it seemed very difficult to get promoted without a PhD, I decided to look for something else. I was brought up in Taiwan but unfortunately I couldn’t do Taiwanese food and Japanese food always reminded me of my grandma.  

“It is more risky and pricy to start a business on the high street because of the rent and business rate and so on. The cheaper costs means that we don’t have to charge our customers that much and we can maintain the high quality of our ingredients.”


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