Allan is a keen gardener growing flowers and produce alike. He explains that his love of gardening is a kind of therapy. Allan was fostered from a young age and found comfort in his first packet of seeds given to him as a boy. He is now the editor of the Observer Food Monthly.
Film Maker: Harriet Jones
Questions & Answers
- What's your first memory of London? Arriving in Paddington Station to meet my sister when aged 15.
- What do you miss when you're away from London? The diversity of the people, Indian mangoes in season.
- What's your favourite neighbourhood? Hampstead Heath if that qualifies.
- What's your favourite building? I am almost obsessed with Hawksmoor’s Christ Church, Spitalfields
- What's your ideal day out in London? Walk over the heath, stop to look out over the city at Parliament Hill, bowl of spaghetti vongole at the cafe at the bottom.
- What's your ideal night out in London? Dover sole dinner at J Sheekey, negronis at Quo Vadis
- What's your most hated building? Not sure I hate any building (am married to an architect) but not much in love with the “Walkie Talkie”
- What's the best view in London? Hard to beat looking down from the Shard to Tower Bridge and the river at sunset
- What's your favourite open space? Hampstead Heath
- What's your favourite bar, pub or restaurant? Oysters and black velvet at J Sheekey restaurant bar always feels grown-up
- What's the most interesting shop? There is a second hand bookshop I scour for old paperbacks but sorry cannot share its location
- What's your favourite place to hang out? Branch Hill allotments or the roof terrace at home
- What's been your most memorable night out in London? Meeting my wife at a late-night cinema
- How would you like to spend your ideal day off in London? Sorry to be repetitive, but walk over the heath to Plot 29, tea and cake at Kenwood on the way back
- Where would you take someone visiting from out of town? St Paul’s whispering gallery then lunch at Scott’s
- What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? My first journalism job was in Sutton, Surrey, a slow bus from the south end of the Northern Line and long way from home in north London
- What's your personal London landmark? The now-retired Lubetkin penguin pool at the zoo
- Who's your favourite fictional Londoner? George Smiley
- What's your favourite London film, book or documentary? I have a soft spot for Oliver Twist
- If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? Perhaps World’s end, Chelsea, 1965
- For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? Thomas Coram, founder of the Foundling Hospital