We went to Jeremy Corbyn's favourite kebab shop for a falafel 5 years ago

We went to Jeremy Corbyn's favourite kebab shop for a falafel

When it comes to the topic of famous vegetarians, Jeremy Corbyn is right up there with Mahatma Gandhi, Paul McCartney and Reese Witherspoon's character in Legally Blonde.

The Labour leader has famously not eaten meat since working on a pig farm at the age of 20 (sorry guys, the time to make your David Cameron jokes has long since passed - keep them to yourself now), but still supports his local kebab shop.


Corbyn even showed up at this week's British Kebab Awards - not the first time he has attended the ceremony - to encourage the general public to stay healthy by ordering salad whenever they partake of the post-pub staple.

"When people buy kebabs, I want them to have salad on top, so they can have the balanced diet we all need," the 66-year-old is reported to have said.

I thought I'd follow Mr Corbyn's advice, not only ordering salad with my takeaway, but doing so at the politician's kebab shop of choice - Archway Kebab in his Islington North constituency.


It would be fair to call Archway Kebab 'unassuming'.

A stone's throw from Archway tube station, its modest shop front is no different from any local takeaway on any high street up and down the country.


Rumour has it that the kebab shop is locked in battle with rival Planet Kebab across the street, as both establishments fight for the custom of those leaving the area's pubs late at night.

But a kebab isn't just for the intoxicated, and the queues are shorter at lunchtime. It's for one of these reasons, I'll let you decide which, that I opted to embark on my homeric voyage earlier in the day.


Upon entering, you're greeted by a simple menu display - the usual lamb, chicken and vegetarian offerings - as well as a photo acknowledging the British Kebab Awards triumph of 2013.

The photo sits alongside takeaway containers and sauce bottles near the till. They're proud of their achievement, but there's no need to rub it in people's faces.


Archway Kebab aren't the sort of people to dwell on past successes.

As is befitting of a restaurant in prime Arsenal territory, they're confident they have the assets to deliver to the highest standard, even if it's been a while since their last trophy.

Other kebab shops might have enjoyed huge investment and been able to show off extravagant purchases front-and-centre, but Archway Kebab is more pure. It isn't going to be drawn into those games.

I order a falafel and halloumi wrap (it's what Jeremy would have wanted) and play the waiting game.



I'm not a vegetarian, but there's always a time and a place for a good falafel.

Crispy on the outside and moist in the middle, the veggie favourite is complemented well by the chewy, salty halloumi (it's impossible to describe halloumi in a way that doesn't make it sound unpalatable, you don't know how many times I've tried. You just need to eat it).

The salad is fresh - I opt for lettuce, cucumber and red cabbage - and the portions of yoghurt and chilli sauces are generous but not overbearing to the point that the entire wrap becomes a sticky, saucy, jeans-ruining mess.


It's not the best falafel product I've ever tried. That honour goes to an Iraqi guy who set up shop in Cardiff when I was a student there, and made me and my flatmates complimentary coffees from his own recipe for being his first ever customer. But it tastes good, and the addition of salad makes it healthy and undoes everything else, right?

As I left the venue, however, I was alerted to another potential reason why Corbyn might have identified Archway Kebab as his favourite joint in the area. Surely he's not petty enough to rule out a rival based on its name alone...