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February 2022 / Area Guides / by Liz Skone James

Notting Hill

With its colourful homes, this fashionable area offers a more laid-back, bohemian lifestyle to that of neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea, and the melting pot of creativity in Notting Hill is apparent wherever you look, from Portobello Road’s market stalls, to the crowds of performers and revellers that flock to the world-famous carnival.

Photography by Emmanuelle Peri & Kathy Anne Lim

Meet the locals

Suzi Winstanley
Owner, West Town

We have been living in Westbourne Grove for over 20 years. Our daughter went to the Spanish school, Instituto Espanol Canada Blanch on Portobello Road from the age of five.

Since we’ve been here, some of our old favourite restaurants and shops have gone, but more recently, new little spots are taking their place in the neighbourhood, alongside some of the great shops and restaurants that thankfully still remain. 

There is so much choice down Westbourne Grove alone: Bill Granger’s consistently excellent restaurant, the relaxed and casual 202, two favourite Lebanese restaurants Al Waha and the soon to reopen Fresco, as well as Taqueria, where they serve really good Mexican food and tequila. 

Just around the corner is the Ottolenghi deli and café, and my friend recently took me to the Tin Shed on All Saints Road, where they serve gorgeous breakfast, brunch and lunch.

We are very lucky to live close to Hyde Park and Holland Park and all along the elegant, tree-lined Holland Park Avenue there are yet more fine specialist delicatessens, cafés and shops. 

With its classy drinks and treats, Jeroboams is the perfect place to buy presents and Michanicou Brothers greengrocers and fruit sellers on Clarendon Road is just old school and brilliant!

Some of our friends own fantastic shops around the neighbourhood, too…. Rockins, and Universal Providers by Kokan To Zai on Golborne Road, and Supra, a bit further out, but close to Kensal Rise station – are all unique, very cool shops, definitely worth visiting. 

Also, Honest Jon’s the record shop and Portobello Road Market (especially on Fridays) are both endlessly great places to revisit.

Our intention in West Town is to provide a platform for artists: painters, photographers, musicians, designers of fashion, furniture, fabrics, printed mirrors, jewellery and more. And, a place to present and promote an expansive, interesting and beautiful range of original artworks, prints and posters, records and books, mirrors and glassware, instruments and toys, clothes, accessories and many other pieces – both vintage and new – all of which we have sought out and carefully selected from the UK and around the world. 

westtownlondon.com

Street Hearts

St. Luke’s Mews

Of the many mews locally, this is one of our favourites. Central, yet oh-so peaceful it ticks off cobblestones, wisteria clad walls, Juliet balconies and original stable doors

Portobello Road

With its market stalls, buzzy energy and colourful houses, this is an obvious choice, but its charms never fail to disappoint – little wonder it features so regularly in popular culture

Clarendon Road

Set in the Ladbroke Conservation Area, the part-stucco fronted properties here are some of the area’s most popular, and it’s home to some gorgeous boutiques, too

Local Heroes

1. Coffee Plant, W11

Located in the heart of Portobello Road is this organic and fair trade café, beloved by locals and visiting out-of-towners alike. “It is one of the best places to get a coffee in London,” advises Iain Begg from Chestertons. “It’s about a ten-minute walk from our office on Ledbury Road, so certainly not the closest coffee shop to us, but it’s worth the extra few minutes’ walk. It’s an excellent place to buy ground coffee, coffee beans, and chocolates to take home, too. So pop in, you won’t be disappointed.” 

180 Portobello Road, W11 (020 7221 8137; coffee.uk.com)

2. The Shed, W8 

Chancellors’ Edward Parker says he always recommends this farm-to-fork restaurant to clients who are new to Notting Hill. “I love the relaxed atmosphere and the food sourced from their farm outside of London,” he says. “I just wish I had enough time to eat there more often!” Headed up by the Gladwin Brothers, the sustainable eatery brings the family farm in West Sussex straight to west London, with hyper-seasonal produce and wild, foraged and locally produced ingredients on offer. Don’t miss the restaurant’s Local & Wild six-course tasting menu. 

122 Palace Gardens Terrace, W8 (020 7229 4024; theshed-restaurant.com)

3. Notting Hill Fish + Meat, W11 

This is a one-stop shop for all your seafood and meat wants – alongside a wealth of colourful fruit and vegetables. “There’s always lobsters in the window, fruit and veg, sushi, caviar and meat,” says Bective’s Kimberley Oldham. But this foodie destination is so much more than a neighbourhood butcher and fishmonger, with special events held around the calendar. “They have a live DJ every Saturday, DJ Fat Tony, who is local,” reveals Kimberley. The shop currently plays host to Tuna Fight Club, an unmissable 12-course tuna omakase led by head sushi chef Andrea Arcieri. 

287-289 Westbourne Grove, W11 (nottinghillfishshop.co.uk)

Say what?

The Notting Hill Carnival as we know it was born after community activist Rhaune Laslett had a dream about people of different races dancing together in the street, and went on to organise the first proper street party in Notting Hill in 1966; it became an annual event. There was never supposed to be a parade but one year one of the steel bands spontaneously went for a walk!