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Farang, Highbury Park: Sebby Holmes’ puts Thai street food on the map in Islington

PUBLISHED: 11:17 10 June 2018

A selection of dishes at Farang

A selection of dishes at Farang


Farang has put Thai food on the map in Highbury Park in a former Italian trattoria. Emma Bartholomew visits with her family

The fresh coconuts at Farang. Picture: Emma BartholomewThe fresh coconuts at Farang. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

It’s worth going to Farang for its organic fresh coconuts alone – and that’s before you even touch on the rest of the menu.

They’re sustainably grown, shipped in from Thailand and used within three days - which accounts for the heavenly caramel-tinged water.

Farang, which serves up Thai street food, has taken over the former Italian trattoria San Daniele in Highbury Park.

This isn’t immediately obvious from the quaint exterior which looks as though it is frozen in time in the 50s – especially as the sun was blazing on the glorious afternoon we went for Saturday lunch.


The only indications you’re in a Thai restaurant are the bunch of red chillies hanging on the walls, selectively placed Buddhas, candles and bird cages - and founder Sebby Holmes’ very own cookbook on sale.

Holmes apparently fell in love with Thai food during a tour of Asia, and started off at The Begging Bowl in Peckham where he worked his way up to sous chef, before being poached as head chef at the Smoking Goat in Soho.

He opened up his own place last year in his step-father’s former restaurant.

While your run-of-the-mill Thai restaurants have massive menus and each dish generally tastes the same from one venue to another, at Farang the menu is a lot smaller, constantly changing and unique.

Farang is set in a former Italian trattoria. Picture: Emma BartholomewFarang is set in a former Italian trattoria. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

We chose a green prawn curry from the specials board which our host warned us was going to be hot. Little did we realise he really meant this, and our mouths were properly on fire. I haven’t had food as hot since I was in Thailand years ago.

Main dishes are plenty more than enough for two to share, especially with starters, and come in at about £16 or so.

A fried soft shell crab came with vermicelli noodles and big prawns swimming in a tasty clear broth.

Yellow noodles were served with an exquisite seafood curry, mopped up with roti bread (£3.50) and rice to ease the pleasant spiciness. A green tea home made ice cream finished off the meal to perfection.


Made with the best Thai and British produce that’s available on the day, each dish at Farang is authentic, fresh and vibrant.



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