Ever since it opened early last year, the praise has flooded in for Seb Holmes's Farang in Highbury. With a background of Smoking Goat and The Begging Bowl, as well as a lot of street food under his belt Holmes brought some properly authentic Thai food to the area.
However - there was always the worry that it wouldn't be a permanent venture. Farang was set up on the site of Highbury Italian San Daniele, but because the lease was still being negotiated, its future wasn't confirmed. On top of that, the restaurant still looks like the original Italian restaurant from the outside. But they're just about to finalise a deal that will keep them in the area full time - so you can expect bigger (gradual) changes over the next year.
We caught up with the man in charge, Sebby Holmes, to find out what's in store. Here's what we've got to look forward to...
A proper cocktail bar. They're building a big oak cocktail bar offsite at the moment and will be shipping it in soon. It'll seat five and will be used for either grabbing a drink.
There will be snacks on the bar too. Look out for some heavenly beef jerky on that menu (using venison).
Deliveroo is coming very soon. If, like us, you live in the local area you'll soon be able to order Farang's food right to your doorstep. They're setting up a separate kitchen to ensure that they can support Deliveroo without affecting the restaurant. Expect some small plates as well as two of their signature curries - including the braised beef cheek curry and their red curry of half spring Chicken & tiger prawns. So we'll be ordering that all the time now...
PLUS you'll be able to order all their wine on Deliveroo. And they're toying with the idea of fresh cocktails on Deliveroo too...
Changes to the kitchen mean new dishes on the horizon. The original pizza oven will finally be leaving and they'll also be getting in a big new wok burner (the same one they used to have at Hawker House). So look out for some fresh Thai stir-frys on the menu soon - with a big emphasis on fresh ingredients.
All that plus new chairs and more. Once the kitchen is done, you'll start to see more changes in the restaurant itself - which will gradually change throughout the year.
Expect changes on the festival circuit next year. Maybe with a TANK. Yes, that's right - they're looking to see if they can get a roadworthy tank and put a kitchen in the back of it. Expect their legendary "Gai prik to be available" that's crispy tempura chicken with scotch bonnet & fish sauce glaze. It's very good. On a tank, we assume it'll be even better.
And finally - look out for a new cookbook later this year. This year's Cook Thai was a huge hit - so next year expect a book on Thai barbecue. There will be 100-120 new recipes, and a big focus on barbecuing all year long (barbecue in the garden serve the food inside) making the best use of seasonal ingredients.
More about Farang
Where is it? 72 Highbury Park, London N5 2XE
What did we think? Read our Farang Test Drive.
How to book: Call 020 7226 1609.