Neighbourhoods: born and bred in West London's Notting Hill
I have been funnily bullied lately for my guilty pleasure to visit west London even more often. Ok I know it is not as cool as East London is, people tend to be pretentious and the born and bred Londoners, as we see them in the movies, do not live here anymore. For the ones living in the east, there is not any point visiting west London as there is nothing new to offer.
This was the case till a few months ago. I have to admit that Westbourne Grove has now much more to offer than spoiled youngsters queuing for a brunch spot at the 202, no offence Nicole (Fahri)…
Healthy brekkie in interesting interiors is served in every other shop, and the sport attire is the official outfit for ladies and gents, boys and girls on the weekends (puffy sleeveless jackets haven’t been banned yet)
Sophisticated high street brands set out the fashion guidelines and you get a civilised high street enviro to walk through your Saturday, away from the chaotic, purely touristic Portobello fuss.
The Portobello trail is more or less known and set by dozens of guides, trip consultants, blogs and word of mouth. ‘red velvet cupcake in hand, banksy-inspired art-y poster, vintage cutlery and pastel colored photo shoots we are naming a few of the ‘not to be missed’ list.
Leaving behind the ‘Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant glamorous movie set' though, there is a section on Portobello Road and Golborne Road that exhibits a multicolored multinational self that is now catching our eye. This has always been there, but it’s a few new gentrificating, yet eye-pleasing additions that make it more attractive to the ‘looking for something new and different savvys’.
Golborne Road is the newcomer in the lifestyle scene of the Hill; independent coffee shops, pilgrimage on the far cultures of the world and an establishment for serious get-togethers all mixed together blow away the mute scenery from the recent past.
Notting Hell is left far behind in the past. The old school crazy nights at BBB are now gone, and the hair is now let done in more relaxed and casual hidden locations along the All Saints Road or the north end of Portobello.
- Farmacy - talk of the town for this year, for the best matcha lattes and the queues since its early start. Yogi or not, it’s a must-try!
- Daylesford Organic - one of the first organic products based eatery in London, with deliveries from its farm in Glouestershire, with white and clean interiors and branded graphics
- Fabrique - scandi like pastry shop with caramelised cinnamon and cardamom buns, hidden at the back of the Portobello market stalls
- Lisa’s - like an oasis in the multicolour character of the area, Lisa’s is the place for brunch, lunch or even jazzy dinners, with live music every now and then accompanying your foodie taste.
- Pizza East - the cosy and warm feeling of any Soho House establishments, in a pizza place that it’s the bestmeeting point for the cold winter afternoons.
- Golborne Deli - an old-school deli with seating area for the neighbourhood catch-up feeling
- Electric Brasserie - burgers and cocktails at their best for people watching during late brunch. Meeting point for the gym-goers and the paper-readers for a short glass before or after the session
- Tin Shed - coffee in the traditional way at this back street away from the Portobello craziness
- West Thirty Six - an amazing hidden gem where you can dine, drink and dance, open all day long, with tasteful interiors and high end service.
- Bodyism - clean and lean coffee place on Westbourne Grove. Put on your running leggings, your fluorescent trainers, hug your yoga mat and no-one will notice you missed the class for a flat white.
- Electric Cinema - plan and book a sofa for a movie watching at the Electric Cinema. Book the set menu too, get wine, chocolates, the full package. Electrified nights at Notting Hill, this is it!
- Vintage stamped silverware for a fiver - at the corner of Portobello Road with Westbourne Grove, there is a stall with various silver items in a box for a fiver each. Be patient and find precious gems to upscale your dinnerware.
- The Travel Bookshop - yes you are allowed to take a picture on front of the infamous bookstore..just leave the coffee cup at the side in case you spill anyone around you, or…no, ok try and spill someone with the coffee, it’s fate, mate!
- The Westbourne - whether a rainy Saturday afternoon with the most boring rugby match on, or the first sunny and warm Sunday afternoon of the spring, it’s the pub/place you should go and have a pint (ok some rose or Pimms, more classy). Oh, it is also said to be Mick Jagger’s pub, but who cares after all!