My London: Zawe Ashton

·3-min read
 (Lee Martin)
(Lee Martin)

Home is…

I’m a Hackney girl, born and bred. And home right now is north-west London.

Which hotels do you stay at in London?

I lived at the Corinthia for more than a month in 2014. I happened to win the film-making residency, and you live at the hotel, write a film based on the hotel, and shoot it in the hotel. It just still feels like home, which is a weird thing to say. I am very over-familiar there, lots of the old staff who I knew have moved on, and I think the new staff probably find me quite perturbing. I act like every single space is a living room.

The Corinthia (Handout)
The Corinthia (Handout)

Where was your first flat?

I spent some wonder years post drama school living in Stoke Newington, which is actually where I’m from. I lived above one of my favourite childhood cafés, The Blue Legume. There’s a huge decorative legume that hangs outside, that was just so iconic for me as a child — it was like a spaceship. And to have it within touching distance outside my window for three years as an adult was this really lovely full circle moment.

Best meal you’ve had?

Morito on Hackney Road, for my birthday. I was surrounded by family and really dear friends. It feels like the best meal every time I go there. It’s a seasonal, beautiful menu infused with some Spanish, North African and eastern Mediterranean influences. They had a chocolate and olive oil mousse which I genuinely have dreams about. You’ve got to go, I’m actually salivating talking about it.

Morito (Matt Writtle)
Morito (Matt Writtle)

Where would you recommend for a first date?

If it’s warm weather I would head to Brixton. I would go for dinner in the market in Brixton Village, the world food selection is just off the scale. It’s bustling, so you kind of feel that intimacy in a bustling place. And then you can go to the Ritzy cinema, which is still one of London’s best indie cinemas, and after that you can go to Pop for drinks. It’s so vibrant, in the summertime it can just feel really electric.

Which shops do you rely on?

I go to Columbia Road Flower Market. The independent shops there that I really love are Glitterati, which is a magpie’s paradise with the most incredible vintage glassware, books and accessories. There’s also a great record shop called World of Echo where I get lost looking for experimental records.

Columbia Road Flower Market (Getty)
Columbia Road Flower Market (Getty)

Where would you most like to be buried?

There are many people who would probably say my ashes should be scattered in TK Maxx on Tottenham Court Road. That has been a spiritual home.

What’s the best thing a London cabbie has ever said to you?

‘It all comes out in the wash’ — at a time where I really needed it. Also there are about 12 London cabbies who’ve all given me a free ride if I promise to thank them in my Baftas speech. So if I ever win a Bafta, which will probably never happen, the first people I have to thank will be about 12 cabbies.

Biggest extravagance?

I’m committed to buying pre-loved, it’s always been part of my psychology, so feels less of an extravagance than a quirk. I’ve always bagged (pun intended) my best finds on eBay, especially for the red carpet. I’m working with them on their Authenticity Guarantee for luxury handbags campaign.

What are you up to for work?

I have a film out on 1 July, called Mr Malcolm’s List, which is part of the regencycore movement we are enjoying at the moment. It’s like a Nineties romcom with regency clothes. It’s a dream.

On 5 May eBay launches its Authenticity Guarantee service for luxury handbags within the UK (ebay.co.uk)

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