My London: Angela Hartnett

 (Illustration by Silvia Prada)
(Illustration by Silvia Prada)

Home is…

Near Spitalfields in east London.

What’s your first memory of London?

Coming up as a kid. We lived in Upminster so you could get the Tube. I’d come and see my uncle who used to work in Soho and drop stuff off from my grandma. It’s no longer there, but I always remember him taking me to Patisserie Valerie on Old Compton Street for coffee and cake. I’d be sent up to I Camisa & Son to buy cheese and stuff for my nonna.

Most memorable meal you’ve ever had?

Years ago when I was working in Cambridge we would save our tips and come up and eat in London. The first really fancy meal was Chez Nico on Park Lane. I remember the spaghetti was kneaded so it could twirl perfectly. It was the first time I went to a three-star restaurant.

Where do you go to let your hair down?

The one I go to a lot if I really just want to chill and not worry about anything — I can probably turn up there in my pyjamas — is the Golden Heart which is literally spitting distance from our house. I don’t need to know anyone in the pub to go and have a drink, because I know the owners and the landlady. Lots of neighbours will go in there, so you can sort of pop in.

Which shops do you rely on?

I love La Fromagerie. It’s a place where you can get a bit of everything. Great fruit and vegetables, some nibbly stuff, cheese.

Who do you call to have fun?

When I want a stupid night out or just giggle, it’s with my oldest friends. We tend to meet around everyone’s birthdays and generally end up staying at someone else’s house or missing a train, or losing someone. We’ve probably been doing that since we were 14.

Who is the most iconic Londoner?

Probably Betty, my dog. She got lost and she had such a big social media presence, I had so many people retweeting her. Now when we walk her, so many people say, ‘Oh Betty.’

Where would you recommend for a first date?

A great place always seems to be Noble Rot on Lamb’s Conduit Street. Or the French House — my husband [Neil Borthwick] runs the restaurant and it’s delicious. You don’t need to think about it and there’s a reasonable wine list in both places.

If you could buy any building in London and live there, which would it be?

Oooh, that’s a good one. I’d probably buy something on the water, maybe Battersea Power Station. Or maybe I’d like to live in the Tower of London. Yeah, I’d buy that and be able to see the water.

Where would you most like to be buried?

Hampstead Heath. Every Sunday we go up to the Heath to walk the dogs. We go really early, at like 6.30, and it’s a great walk.

What would you do as Mayor for the day?

I’d close everything on a Sunday. I’m quite old fashioned and would quite like to go back to everything closing on Sundays. I think it’s healthy. Sunday felt like a day off for everyone and now it has just become another day.

What’s your London secret?

I don’t know if it is a secret, but I think many people don’t know the canal that will take you all the way from Victoria Park to King’s Cross. There’s something about water and magic. I think London is at its best first thing in the morning, I love the idea of being up at 5 or 6 and seeing the city wake up. There’s also Maltby Street — everyone goes to Borough Market but Maltby Street has some lovely little restaurants, bars and cafés.

The ‘Dish’ podcast with Nick Grimshaw and Angela Hartnett is available now