A complete guide to Drummond Street NW1

We explore the historic thoroughfare shop-by-shop, west to east. Take a closer look here

Sandra cutting hair in her Drummond Street salon

A Drummond Street resident drinking a cup of tea
Long-time Drummond Street resident, African Kitchen Gallery. Photos: Dan Hall
In each print issue of Eustontowner we aim to get under the skin of a different part of the area. Why? To help you get to know this underrated neighbourhood that bit better – even if you’ve lived here all your life.

Last time our focus was Chalton Street, where we met the folk driving the restaurants, shops, market, salons and charities lining the stretch from Euston up north towards Camden.

This month it’s the turn of famous Drummond Street, now mostly known for its concentration of Bengali restaurants. But look closely and there’s much more.

So for the first time ever, below is a complete directory of what to do, where to eat and shop, as well as some atmospheric portraits of its street life. We start roughly at the western end, and proceed east along the street.

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In Focus: Bio-Organix Health Store

Bak in his health store on Drummond Street
Bak, owner of Bio-Organix Health Store.” Photo: Dan Hall

Stocking raw chocolate, weight loss tree syrup and two litre vats of cider vinegar, this is the go-to for organic product and natural remedies in Euston. Bak, the yogi-like owner who opened on Drummond in 2010, seems to know everyone who walks in. He is as willing to offer advice, as he is to have a chat about the redevelopment of Euston.

Bak, who grew up in Nepal, got into the industry because he had a health problem as a student that “doctor-prescribed medication wasn’t helping,” he says. “It was when I stared changing my diet and looking to natural treatments that my health improved.” Weekdays, 9:30am-7:30pm, Sat, 11am-7:30pm. No.145. More here 

Massala Hut: Impressive range of signature dishes including crabmeat massala. Cobra beer on tap alongside Bollywood beats.12pm-11pm. 161-163 Drummond Street (hereafter we just list numbers). More here

Shah Tandoori: Notably good quality Indian grub – all spices are ground in-house and everything is made fresh. Recommended are the tandoori marinated trout (£10.95) and salmon shashlik (£8.95). More here 12pm-12am. No.159

Costcutter: Convenience store chain, with independently owned outlets. You know the drill: fags, gum, croissants-in-a-bag and toilet roll. No. 151-153

Falafel Cafe: Freshly prepared Lebanese and Moroccan food. Specialising in kofta, shawarma, tabouli salad and yep, you guessed it, falafel. 9-4pm. No. 149

Ringtone Boxing Gym: Underground gym offers classes for men and women designed around workouts and training methods used by boxers. No. 147

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In Focus: Looking Good Hair & Beauty Salon

Sandra cutting hair in her salon on Drummond Street
Striking Sandra owns Looking Good Hair Salon. Photo: Dan Hall

Sandra is one of Drummond’s most striking characters. At 7ft tall – a foot of that provided by her platform heels and another foot from her meticulously curled weave – she is a vibrant addition to the street. She has run her intimate hair and beauty salon for two years now, offering a range of treatments for men and women including waxing, make-overs, hair-styling, manicures and massages.

Although around 80% of her customers are men, she is an expert in hair extensions, weavon and hair relaxing. With her diamond nose-ring, pristinely shaped eyebrows and thick black Winehouse-style eyeliner, it’s worth popping in for a manicure from one of the capital’s most glamorous beauticians. 7am-9pm. No.144

Hot Pepper Cafe: “Levent is a very talented chef,” says Gil about her husband with whom she has been running this neighbourhood cafe for seven years. The pair are Turkish and have made sure to bring a Mediterranean flex to their menu, which includes vegetarian full English, salad boxes and a mixed grill served with rice and fries.

They receive a steady flow of hungry folks, workers from Regent’s Place, locals and builders alike from 6am until 4pm when they close for the day. Gil clearly has a passion for what she does. She seems to know everyone (and their orders) who walks in, and shouts a stream of dishes back to Levent who spent the entirety of out visit grilling koftes, toasting ciabattas and flipping omelettes out back. No.142

Hot Pepper Cafe menu board and kitchen on Drummond Street
Mediterranean flex at the popular Hot Pepper Cafe. Photo: Dan Hall

Log Nail Spa: Decked out with rows of massage chairs, head here for manis, pedis and waxing. Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm. No.141

Crescent Dry Cleaners: Muhammad has been running this useful outlet for three years. A mere 5-minute walk from Regent’s Place, he offers a range of services (including same-day), repairs and alterations as well as shoe repair. Mon-Fri 8am-6:30pm, Sat 9-5pm. No.138

Shirts hanging in the dry cleaneres on Drummond Street
Range of services, including all-day at Present Dry Cleaners. Photo: Dan Hall

Crown & Anchor: Spacious pub with pop art and large windows. Lunchtime special: sandwich, chips and a drink (Mon-Fri £9.00). More here. No.137

Bar tender at the Crown on Drummond Street
At the Crown & Anchor. Photo: Dan Hall

Ravi Shankar: Southern Indian veggie spot with lunch buffet. Specialities include dosas, bhel puri and some of the best tasting and looking thali on the street. More here No.133-135

Sizzling Bombay: This unassuming Indian and kebab shop is coated in varnished wood and beige plastic benches, giving it the feel of a set from a 70s detective drama. Running for 23 years, the institution has been dishing up Seekh kebabs, tandoori marinated mixed grills and doners alongside a selection of curry and biryani. Offering delivery, take-away and a time-warp eat-in option, this has been tipped as the “cheapest, good quality and well portioned Indian on the street,” by long-time Drummond business owner, Harish from the Indian Spice Shop. No.132

Brizzi’s Italian: Authentic Italian, great service and extensive menu spanning pizza, pasta, meat and fish. Family-run, basement restaurant, perfecting their craft since 1984. 12-3:30pm, 5:30-11pm. No.131

Shop front of Brizzi's on Drummond Street
Family-run Italian restaurant Brizzi’s. Photo: Dan Hall

Taste of India: Good range of veg starters and meaty mains. Red leather seats, painted murals, in a fairly formal setting. 12pm-12am. No.128-130

Simply Chicken: Tasty fried chicken and chips. Good for soaking up any of the day’s excesses. 11:30-10pm, No.129

Chicken boxes in a line in Drummond Street chicken shop
Simply fried chicken. Photo: Dan Hall

Laksa King: Don’t be fooled by the deceptively narrow exteriors of Laksa King: follow the series of floor-to-ceiling painted murals downstairs to get to a bellowing 130 capacity underground restaurant. Selling authentic Chinese, Malaysian and Thai street food, we popped in just before 12pm while they were preparing for lunch and making roti chanai from scratch.

Tito, a local who has been working at Laksa for three years and in Chinese restaurants for 12 more, says the lunchbox specials, which include Chicken Ho Fun and Singapore noodles, do very well. “They are really tasty and only cost £4.95,” he says enthusiastically. Daily (except Sunday), 12-3, 5-11pm. No.126

Raavi Kebab: Opened in 1976, serving halal grilled meats, curries and naan. 12:30-10:15pm. No.125

Buffet food at Chutneys on Drummond Street
Buffet for lunch and a la carte at night at Chutneys. Photo: Dan Hall

Chutneys: Third Indian veggie restaurant to open on the street back in 1987. Simply decorated, vast lunch buffet offerings and a la carte in the evening. 12-11pm. No.124

DMT Barber: Jay has been running his sleek barber’s shop for five years. With a full house during the lunchtime office rush, Jay’s one-man operation, sees locals and workers soon becoming regulars. This probably has something to do with the thorough post-cut neck, shoulder and head massage he gives to all his customers. Daily until 6pm. No.122b

Jay in his barbers on Drummond Street
Jay offers hair cuts with head massages included. Photo: Dan Hall
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In Focus: Yamato Transport Europe BV

Woman at her desk in Yamato on Drummond Street
Step inside Yamato, the inconspicuous parcel store. Photo: Dan Hall

This inconspicuous green and yellow-striped store has a circular yellow logo with a black cat clutching a cub in its mouth, some Japanese writing out front – and little more information than that. Having been based on Drummond Street for four years we popped in to solve the mystery.

Inside, we were met by an elderly Japanese man and two friendly female staff dressed in immaculate air hostess style green uniforms. The trio were nattering in Japanese and sorting through packages. After a brief chat with one of them, we cracked the code: this is Euston’s very own parcel shipping spot, sending packages in a variety of sizes to Japan. It has sister stores in Slough and Harrow so this central location is the place to go next time you have a box of goodies to send to Tokyo. Mon-Sat 10am-6pm. No.122

Diwana Bhel Poori House: The oldest Indian veggie restaurant on the street. Casual, furnished wood, extensive lunch buffet, specialising in dosa and poori dishes. More here Open 12-11:30pm, 121-123

Café Nora: The highlight of this sandwich bar and cafe is the glass-roofed extension outback, with a handful of tables this is an ideal, airy area to “sit, relax and have a coffee,” says Ilidio, the chipper Brazilian who has been working there for 4 years. 120

Drummond Villa: Slightly more formal Indian restaurant, set with wicker chairs and red velvet seats. Service is good with an impressive range of curries, the lamb biryani is a must. More here 118

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In Focus: Indian Spice Shop

Harish in the Spice Shop on Drummond Street
Co-owner Harish works hard to live up to expectations at the Spice Shop. Photo: Dan Hall

The humble exteriors of the Indian Spice Shop, layered with boxes of coconuts, sweet potato and mooli give no clues to the labyrinthine Aladdin’s cave that awaits upon entry. Spreading over three stores, the shop is a delight to discover and uncover as you meander through rows of product, stocked to the nines.

In the first part, we discover the extent to which the place lives up to its name as more spices than are nameable span from floor to ceiling. From here, we pass rows of incense, an impressive range of henna and a squad of Vishnu statues, to land in the store’s off licence. Alongside decked out rows of spirits and beers, the boozy centrepiece is the huge collection of wines with usual offerings from the likes of Spain, Italy and New Zealand met with an extensive range on Indian wines. There’s even alcohol-free vino, for those pursuing the life of sobriety.

Around the bend – past Himilayan salt lamps and Hindu magazines – comes a homeware store, with cleaning products, rows of biscuits and a most comprehensive selection of teas. Harish and his brother, with whom he runs the store, work hard “to live up to the standard that is expected from them,” says Harish. “People come in from all over to shop here, we even have visitors from India who say they can’t even get this back home, while holding up a bag of spices,” says Harish. “Seeing their delight fills us with such satisfaction. It is compliments like these that reassure us that we are doing something right.” 10am-9pm. No.115

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In Focus: Ambala

The Ambala team holding food in Drummond Street flagship store
Some of the Ambala team at the flagship store. Photo: Dan Hall

This is now one of the most prestigious Indian confectionary and savoury brands in the world. It all started in 1964 when founder Mohammed Ali Khan started working on his sweet recipes in his kitchen. The following year he decided to give it a go and open his first shop in Drummond Street.

Named after the city in India where he originated, Ambala stocks everything from halwa to chutney, rasgulla to samosas. The flagship store is an emporium of Indian delicacies circling a three-table café seating area. Although there are now 70 branches dotted around the country, where better to start than the pace it all began. 9am-9pm. No.112-114

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In Focus: African Kitchen Gallery

Man sipping tea in Drummond Street restaurant
Top-notch West African and Caribbean grub at this restaurant and gallery. Photo: Dan Hall

Don’t tell us you’ve managed to miss the man-sized wooden giraffe proudly perched in the window? It indicates that the African Kitchen is open for lunch (12pm-3pm) or dinner (6pm-10:15pm).

Serving up top-notch West African and Caribbean grub, this intimate four-tabled venue is one of Euston’s most beautifully embellished eateries, adorned with an array of masks from the likes of Nigeria and Ghana, and a series of sculptures including a black and white carved crocodile hanging on the wall and a parade of stout sculpted elephants lining the window sill.

To start, we chose doughy plantain fritters, six of which came circled around a dollop of mellow parsley dip. To follow we opted for the goat curry, sizeable chunks of tender shoulder meat nestled in a bowl of thick, slightly spiced and highly flavoursome sauce. Teamed with a generous portion of joloff rice, this would be enough for two to share.

Remember the art isn’t just for show, lots of it is on sale. A percentage of the proceeds goes to the Bumba Foundation, a charity offering and supporting educational projects for primary school kids in Uganda. No.102

Gupta Confectionary: The cover star of the last print issue of Eustontowner, Mr Jain, runs this sweet shop, which opened in 1979 in Hendon – and was followed a couple of years later by this Euston branch.

With an extensive range of sweet and savoury offerings, the shop is popular with locals and offers a catering service for weddings and events. 12pm-12am. No.100

Mr. Jain holding scales in Gupta on Drummond Street
Well-known Mr. Jain has been running Gupta for years. Photo: Dan Hall

Lavender & Rosemary Clinic: Open since 2012, this massage parlour offers a range of services from aromatherapy, to deep tissue massage, acupuncture to Chinese herbal medicine. 11-10pm weekdays, Sat 12-6pm. No.98

i-Optix: Conveniently considering his chosen profession, Oli, the manager of this eye-care centre has got a striking set of turquoise eyes. Having taken the reins on i-Optix five years ago, he has heavily involved himself in the local community, attending multiple meetings about HS2 and the security of the businesses on Drummond Street.

Oli is keen to have a chat about the state of the world, religion, and politics with any willing patients who would like a stimulated conversation alongside their check-up. “No matter what is going on in the world and what is portrayed to us by the media, it is important to remember that there are plenty of good people,” Oli says, “I meet them in here almost every day.” Weekdays 10-6pm, No.96

Ashtanga Yoga London: Devotees of the authentic Mysore-style Ashtanga, one of the most physically demanding forms of yoga, traditionally rise super-early each day to practice. This unassuming studio has been the capital’s leading morning session for years, with guru-certified teacher Hamish Hendry providing the hands-on assistance. It’s popular, so you need to book your place in advance. Mon-Fri from 5:30am, No.94

Calumet Photographic: This is a vast camera warehouse rammed with tripods, screens, printers, ink, rucksacks and hundreds of other photographic tools. The team are friendly and offer a range of printing services, rentals of state-of-the-art equipment, studio space for hire and courses from the Calumet Academy. Weekdays, 8-7pm, Sat, 9-6pm. No.93-103

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Read our 12 facts about Drummond Street here. For more reviews of the street’s many excellent Indian restaurants head here.

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