Why I live in Canons Park: cook and baker Crystelle Pereira on the multicultural London area she has lived in all her life
I’ve lived in Edgware, near Canons Park, my whole life — bar two years when I lived abroad for uni. I live with my parents, who got this house before I was born.
I could never imagine living outside of London. I love the hustle and bustle of the centre but when I come home it’s quieter, although there’s still lots of culture. I’ll stay in north-west London. I’m just so comfortable here.
Eating and drinking
There’s an award-winning Turkish grill called Melissa Restaurant on Whitchurch Lane. When it first opened, I would walk past on my way home and smell the meat and the kebabs. The food is amazing.
Cannons Tandoori on Station Parade does incredible biryani. There’s also a place in Edgware called B&K Salt Beef Bar. We go for brunch after church on a Sunday. They do such good salt beef — but also tongue, which I love.
A tiny bubble tea place called Mooboo has opened recently on Station Road. I’m picky with bubble teas — I think a lot of the bigger, established chains aren’t that great. This one is really, really good.
Our go-to Chinese takeaway is a little place called Tian Hu on Kenton Lane in Belmont Circle, not far from Edgware.
On Wembley High Road, there’s a Goan restaurant called Cross Restaurant. It’s a tiny, family-run, almost hole-in-the-wall-type restaurant with plastic table coverings, tiny seats and pictures on the walls. It’s all very casual, but it’s such good food. Everything tastes like home.
Where I work out
Because of my job, I need to be out and about, so I have a Class Pass. It means you can book almost any gym in London, so if I have a meeting in Shoreditch at 6pm, I’ll go on the app and I’ll find a class nearby. It’s more convenient for me.
To commune with nature
Canons Park is nice — it’s the one I go to most. When I was younger we’d cycle through it; now I’ll go there for a walk. There are a few hills, which is good to get my heart rate up.
Stanmore Country Park is a nice, green area to go walking, too. A bit further out is Aldenham Country Park. We’d always go with my cousins when I was younger. It’s a lovely country park with a proper farm.
I don’t drive, so luckily there’s a new Tesco Express on Station Parade that I use for urgent essentials, or if I’m running out of ingredients.
VB & Sons on Kenton Road is an Indian grocery store. They have incredible fruit and veg — everything you would get in India, like chickoo, a tropical fruit from the sapote family, and jackfruit. They sell all the ingredients I use for South Asian cooking: chapati flours, spices in bulk, fresh curry leaves and coriander, every type of lentil under the sun. I’ll stock up on everything around twice a month.
Turkish Food Centre on Burnt Oak Broadway sells things like tahini, olives, sumac, za’atar and interesting fruit and veg. They have a lot of Greek food, too.
There’s a Morrisons on Honeypot Lane in Queensbury with a good world food aisle. I get my gochujang and soy sauce from there, because there’s no Korean or Japanese supermarkets nearby. There’s also a Lidl on the high street in Edgware, which is good for staples.
For a culture fix
When I was young, we’d always go to St Ann’s Shopping Centre in Harrow, where we’d get Starbucks and Nando’s and go to the cinema. It was an old-school place.
Nowadays, I go to my church, St William of York, every Sunday in Stanmore. But I’ll tend to go into London to do something cultural with friends.
I’m blessed because Canons Park Tube station is round the corner. Because it’s at the top of the Jubilee Line, you’re guaranteed to get a seat. There’s also Edgware, on the Northern Line, and lots of local buses.
This side of Edgware Road, so I could live near my favourite food hall, Bang Bang Oriental. That way, I’d get my fill whenever I wanted. That said, the street I live on is lovely — there’s a strong sense of community among our neighbours. We’re really fortunate.
Something you only see in Canons Park
There’s an interesting mix of Jewish and South Asian culture here. You have the salt beef bar, but also loads of biryani restaurants. At school, my friends were either Gujarati or Jewish, and I think you see that in the area. It’s really mixed, which is what’s so nice about it.
What’s the catch?
I wouldn’t say the nightlife is popping. There are a couple of bars, but I wouldn’t come here for a crazy night out.
In three words
Homely. Multicultural. Community.
Great British Bake Off finalist Crystelle Pereira aims to make global store-cupboard ingredients accessible to all. Her debut cookbook, Flavour Kitchen, is published by Kyle Books on May 25 (@crystellepereira).
All primary schools in Canons Park are rated as good or outstanding, with North London Collegiate School (also a secondary) and Woodlands School, a special school, among the top choices.
For secondaries, Bentley Wood High School and Claremont High School are two of nine outstanding schools, with Avanti House School and London Academy being the nearest local options, both rated good.
What it costs
Buying in Canons Park
Average flat price: £345,520
Average house price: £662,320
Renting in Canons Park
Average flat, pcm: £1,380
Average house, pcm: £2,420
Source: Hamptons & Land Registry