Notting Hill: London’s Latest Hot-and-Happening Neighbourhood

Notting Hill: London’s Latest Hot-and-Happening Neighbourhood

There’s a foodie revolution cooking in west London’s Notting Hill, with a new wave of multicultural menus and speakeasy-style bars popping up alongside W11’s indie boutiques, antiques emporiums and that famous bookshop


Notting Hill, London.

Why now?

There’s something of a foodie renaissance cooking in London’s Notting Hill: Palestinian kitchens plating up
slow-cooked lamb and herb-drenched kufta; French-inspired bistros
offering freshly baked sourdough and forkfuls of creamed greens;
neighbourhood eateries putting a devilishly delicious spin on
British classics. These newly opened restaurants might be injecting
a fresh lease of flavour into west London, but this part of the
city has long been a crossroad of cultures.

Back in the 50s, Notting Hill became known for its fiercely
free-spirited attitude. Local photographer Charlie Phillips documented much of his youth on film,
covering everything from race riots to early carnivals. Today, his
artwork can be viewed in a selection of museums and galleries
around the world, including London’s Tate Britain and the V&A.
Fast forward to the 80s, and Westbourne Grove became a honeypot for
shoppers, with vintage emporiums and antiques stalls popping up
left, right and centre. It was the Noughties, however, that saw the
high-end boutiques moving in, many of them in townhouses painted in
shades of pastel, with tourists flocking in particular to a certain
Notting Hill Bookshop – that one is on you, Mr Grant. Sure, this
newfound revolution is putting Notting Hill back on the map, but on
this occasion, we’re seeing a celebration of W11’s multicultural
history, one dish at a time.

Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill Distillery

Scenes from Notting Hill Carnival alongside The Distillery’s
grand and glorious facade. | Photo credit: Miessi & Heftiba //

Don’t miss

Alice’s antiques arcade. Sitting pretty on
Portobello Road since 1887, it’s the place to browse everything
from stoneware and street signs to musical instruments and life

Where to stay?

offers the ultimate spirited sleepover, with a 60-strong gin list
and top-notch tasting tour laid on for guests. Three snug bedrooms
come complete with old-school vinyl collections and turntables,
vintage furnishings and plush bedspreads – plus, the added bonus of
undisturbed vistas of Portobello Road. Or, if you’re attempting dry
Jan, there’s The Lost Poet. This intimate four-key guesthouse champions the borough’s eclecticism
through geometric wallpapers, abstract art and bespoke decorations
– the botanically inspired penthouse is worth breaking the bank
for. Alternatively, stroll a little further afield to The Hoxton’s newly opened Shepherd Bush
outpost, where stunning mid-century interiors await.

A teaser of what’s to come at Akub, left, and a peek inside

Where to go for dinner?

You’re going to want a forgiving waistband. First stop, Straker’s.
Headed up by chef and social media star Thomas Straker (aka the
king of butter), this handsome haunt flaunts the sort of pared-back
interiors you wish your own kitchen had – a zinc-topped bar, plants
climbing up walls and rustic shelves stocked with independent
spirits. The food? It’s a 10/10 from us. Marinated olives,
wood-roasted oysters, grilled broccoli and custard-drizzled figs –
we could go on. Next up, Dorian, the
French-inspired bistro that whips up a storm of seasonal goodness.
Make it your choice for sweetbreads and seafood-stuffed salads,
trout and turbot, chocolates and cheeses. We’re eagerly awaiting 16
January, when Palestinian kitchen Akub is set
to make its debut. Elsewhere, local favourite Gold is best
suited to a romantic dinner date, thanks to its
candle-strewn tables. For those that prefer to go hard at breakfast, brunch spots Buvette and Sunday in
hit the spot.

The Pelican, Exterior
Caia Bar, Interiors

The Pelican’s front, left, and the interiors of Caia. |
Photo credit: Steven Joyce for Caia.

And for a drink…

That old-school boozer down the All Saints Road? It’s had one
hell of a refurb. All blonde woods and dried plants, The Pelican
showcases sustainable, local produce, while a bottle menu lists
wines’ ages and origins alongside a line-up of trophy-worthy light
bites. Meanwhile, nearby Caia bar delivers killer cocktails and soulful

Who to take with you?

That pal who will happily join you in ordering the biggest cake
on the dessert menu. If all else fails, you know where to find

Essentials to pack

Hunker down and devour Stanley Tucci’s page-turner Taste: My Life Through Food, in which the actor
and foodie shares his thoughts on the art of falling in love over
dinner, his favourite five-star meals and a fair few celebrity
anecdotes, too.

How to get there

Notting Hill Gate is your nearest underground station, and is
serviced by regular Central, District and Circle line trains.

A vivid blue dining space

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