Situated right in the heart of Angel, the brand new James Cochran N1 restaurant is an absolute must visit for those in search of gourmet yet ‘naughty’ food.
You'll find Cochran's latest venture on the upper floor of Angel Central. Though this young chef's credentials boast Michelin-grade prowess, there's nothing stuffy about this new eatery and bar. As we've come to expect with his solo ventures, his newest outpost follows suit with a relaxed style and an open space, with the sound of hip hop greeting you as soon as you walk through the doors. The venue has been set up to cater for all types of dining experiences; from intimate and romantic nights, right through to a large group celebration. Look out for a number of different sized black leather booths down the left hand side of the venue as you walk in, and on the right, an open kitchen where you can see the main man himself working his foodie magic.
Once you've passed the kitchen you walk into the main dining area, split by an impressive long dining table dividing the room (perfect for a large gathering of friends). The main area boasts a good amount of natural light, owing to the huge window that overlooks Upper St - so it's a great spot for people watching too. Lined with portraits of iconic legends, plenty of colour and even a wall-piece completely covered in vibrant moss - the cool style of this restaurant is matched only by its contemporary and non-pretentious ambience.
The Food and Drink
Once I was shown to my seat by the friendly staff, I got sight of the concise (and mouth-watering) menu which is split into three sections: 'Snacks' (starters), 'Flatbreads' (bigger, main sharing dishes) and 'Dessert' (...desserts, obviously).
The menu brings together classic British ingredients with notable influences from the Caribbean, as a nod to Cochran’s heritage. This is shown in the lighter-bite snack menu with dishes ranging from his famous Jamaican Jerk Buttermilk Chicken (£7) - which incidentally is quite possibly the best fried chicken I have ever had - to the BBQ Breast of Berkshire Pigeon (£3) and Blue Cheese Doughnut (£4.50). Yep, blue cheese doughnut, you read that correctly.
The main menu is designed to be ordered with sharing in mind, giving you the chance to try out a few of the flavourful flatbreads. The portions are very generous, so someone that loves food like myself was very impressed. Arriving as and when the dishes are prepared keeps the pace laidback and allows greater savouring of each of the dishes - especially necessary when ordering something like the Hay Baked Lamb Shoulder on Black Garlic Flatbread with Burnt Lemon Yogurt and Bread and Butter Pickles (£14). The gourmet toppings on the flatbread are a welcome change from the crowded pizza scene, but at the same time still give you that ‘cheat day’ feeling.
James is big on wine to complement the amazing food, and the wine list did not disappoint - there's a huge selection to choose from and it's the same story with the beers. For any cocktail lovers out there – feel free to indulge, there's plenty of bespoke concoctions on the menu all designed to match the dishes' Jamaican flavours.
James Cochran N1 is just what Angel needed. In an area that has all the chains you can think of, this venue brings an authentic coolness to a heavy-with-competition neighbourhood. Whether you're in for a date night, a birthday or just a few cocktails, this place is well worth a visit.