© David John - Flickr: DavenJohn


Carnival, a tortilla machine and Hugh Grant (obvs): it’s the best bits of Notting Hill

Posted at 10:15 am, February 14, 2015 in Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink

© Maria Brosnan© Maria Brosnan

Even when it’s not Carnival time, Notting Hill is still party central.

Why go there?
To recreate every single scene from the romcom of the same name in perfect chronological order, obviously. Mwah!

What’s the vibe, darling?
Once a bastion of postwar black culture, it’s now filled with rock stars, half the Tory Party, yummy mummies and the occasional Booker Prize winner. But it’s also home to a little annual party called Carnival, which may or may not turn the area into a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah with added phat beats every August.

Hummingbird Bakery © Gemma Day

© Gemma Day

God, I need a coffee now.
The local’s favourite is Coffee Plant (Portobello Road) where the jeans are as skinny as the lattes. Those who go to The Hummingbird Bakery (Portobello Road) rhapsodise about its red-velvet cupcakes, while Mediterranean deli Raoul’s (Talbot Road) is the place for ladies who brunch.

Portobello Market

Where can I flash some cash?
The legendary and pricy Portobello Road market is the obvious place. But although it’s no longer the bargain rummager’s paradise it once was, a visit here is as much about soaking up the vibe as it is about shopping. Hit the main drag when the market is in full swing – it’s a hectic mix of street food, fruit and veg, curios and antiques. Rough Trade (Talbot Road) is the record shop that launched the legendary label, or try Honest Jon’s (Portobello Road) for a truly global music selection.

the ledbury

© Britta Jaschinski

I’m hungry now, what’s for dinner?
Taqueria (Westbourne Grove) is totally fucking Mexico. Its tacos are made with a big tortilla machine called El Monstruo, and packed with fillings: the local winner for value. The Ledbury (Ledbury Road) is the two-Michelin-starred place for sublime, posh-Aussie fusion. Spent all your bees and honey? Cor blimey! Cockney’s on Portobello Road is a proper pie-and-mash shop, serving honest, unpretentious fare.

portobello road star bar gin journey

I’d rather party like Kate Moss…

Start at the Portobello Star (Portobello Road), where Notting Hillbillies now sip cocktails and exchange top bants. Portobello Gold is an old pub redecorated like a lush, leafy oasis. Notting Hill Arts Club (Notting Hill Gate) is a scruffy basement with big choons, while for some Fitzgeraldian glamour head to the cosmopolitan First Floor on Portobello Road.

gelato mio

And if I only do one thing?

Make tracks to Gelato Mio (Pembridge Road) to see how the other half does ice cream. The creamy Amarena gelato will leave you simply screaming for more.

By Justin McDonnell, who looks like a young Hugh Grant.

Take a look at more of London’s best bits here.

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