Week Twenty-two: A Simplepretty Guide to Notting Hill

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Our London adventure started last July when the taxi deposited us in front of our new home in Notting Hill just off of Ladbroke Grove. That very afternoon, we parked the suitcases in the foyer and started to explore our new neighborhood. Sadly, in just over a month, our stay in this area will come to an end (we’re moving to be closer to our son’s school). Over the course of my year of exploring, I’ve accumulated a list of favorite spots. To be fair, this list could be so much longer if I shared every single place that I’ve been and liked — Notting Hill is full of charming boutiques and eateries — but this guide accurately reflects my regular, tried-and-true spots.

When in Notting Hill, you should:

EAT

  • Gail’s Artisan Bakery I think Gail’s was our very first stop as London residents. (Flying makes you hungry!) Of course, that visit was the first of many, as Gail’s is a great spot to meet for a coffee, pick up a quick lunch, or stop in for a sweet-tooth indulgence: I can personally vouch for the pastry offerings: pure heaven. (138 Portobello Road // @gailsbakery)
  • Mr. Christian’s Friendly counter staff, a yummy selection of grab-and-go sandwiches, plus  Poilâne bread on the shelf — Mr. Christian’s deli is perfect spot to gather the components for lunch al fresco. Their website describes Mr. Christian’s as a Notting Hill institution, and I’m inclined to agree. (11 Elgin Crescent // @nottinghilldeli)
  • Ottolenghi If you can walk past Ottolenghi’s display window, packed to the gills with tempting baked goods, well, you’re a better person than I. Almost weekly, I stop in Ottolenghi  for a small box of assorted salads, and I always add a chocolate chip cookie to my order (they’re best in London) for dessert. (63 Ledbury Road // @ottolenghistore)
  • Otto Pizza Inspired by Portland, Oregon pizzeria Dove Vivi, Otto’s cornmeal-crust pizza — sold by the slice — has become a favorite spot to kick back with a slice of pizza + a cold beer. I usually default to their excellent, mushroom + spice take on pepperoni, but their rotating specials are also worth a try. We’ve been known to “play American” and indulge in their speedy delivery service during lazier moments. (6 Chepstow Road // @ottopizzauk)
  • Talkhouse Coffee beautifully built-out space serving top-notch coffee. Talkhouse has foodstuffs for a light lunch and treats for the sweet tooth, too. (275 Portobello Road // @talkhousecoffee)

SHOP

  • Aēsop Every sink in my house has a pump bottle of Aēsop’s Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash next to it: I love the scent and the soap isn’t drying. And, as I’m a sucker for Aēsop’s brilliant packaging, I’m often tempted by other products in the range whenever I pop in to restock. (227A Westbourne Grove // @aesopskincare)
  • Bodas Yes, a lingerie store. Because not every woman on the planet desires a bra that could double as a bulletproof vest. (At least I don’t.) Bodas’ range includes exquisitely simple undergarments in a variety of understated neutrals.  (36 Ledbury Road // @bodasunderwear)
  • Caramel Baby & Child This shop is baby gift central. Though my 16yo has long outgrown their sizing, that doesn’t stop me from a pop-in in to check out the latest and greatest Caramel fashions, and contemplating which Liberty-print dress and cardi would best suit my baby niece. (77 Ledbury Road // @caramel_shop)
  • Daylesford Organic Sensory overload (in the best way) is the name of the game at Daylesford, and the space is a triple threat: equal parts cafe, foodshop and homegoods. The produce, which greets you upon entering, is displayed in an artful, casually elegant way, much like the rest of the shop. The cafe bustles at peak times, but if the weather is fine, I suggest you try to grab a table outside — it makes for excellent people watching while you dine. (208-212 Westbourne Grove // @daylesfordfarm) 
  • Lutyens & Rubinstein In an Amazon.com world, there is still a place — and a need — for smart, thoughtful bookshops. Founded by literary agents, Lutyens & Rubinstein is the perfect place to browse for inspiration. The shop is small enough that you won’t feel overwhelmed, but the selection is so carefully chosen (it’s clearly a bookstore for book lovers) that it’s impossible to visit without finding – and buying – a new favorite to tuck under your arm as you stroll home. (21 Kensington Park Road // @landrbookshop)
  • Melt Chocolates Melt’s line of chocolate is worth the extra ££. My favorites are from the 45g chocolate bar collection: milk chocolate sea salt is decadent yet keeps it simple. An assortment of Melt’s fresh chocolates makes the perfect hostess gift. (59 Ledbury Road // @meltchocolates)
  • Rococo News & Magazines The Notting Hill newsstand of record, Rococo stocks it all: UK, US and International, and the knowledgeable staff can quickly find what you’re looking for off the rack. (12 Elgin Crescent)
  • Wild at Heart Flowers Located on Westbourne Grove’s traffic island, Wild at Heart’s floral displays are to die for. Nikki Tibbles has an eye for arrangements that let the flowers shine. Some of my happiest Notting Hill memories are the days I’ve treated myself to a Wild at Heart bouquet. I have also been known to shamelessly snap a photo or two while walking by — it feeds my flower-loving soul. (222 Westbourne Grove // @realwildatheart)

BE

  • Electric Cinema Soho House’s Portobello Road cinema is simply the most decadent way to watch a movie. All else pales once you’ve curled up (under a cashmere blanket) on a lounge chair while sipping a cocktail and nibbling on cinema snacks. Not enough for you? Then book one of the beds — yes beds — in the front row. (191 Portobello Road // @electriccinema)
  • Portobello Road It would be heresy to write a Notting Hill guide and omit Portobello Road and its world-famous antiques market. While I’m not a fan of the jam-packed, weekend tourist experience, I have grown quite fond of strolling the road on a weekday morning, perusing the various produce stands and feeling very much like a local. I will also cop to checking out the weekend scene and the market’s eclectic mélange of vendors on days when the weather’s not very tourist-friendly. (Portobello Road, starting at Pembridge Crescent and continuing northward to Golbourne Road // @rbkcmarkets)

map layout, design + type by jane potrykus

“@” addresses denote twitter account names.

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One Comment

  1. May 28, 2014 / Permalink

    This is an enticing guide, especially since you noted the best chocolate chip cookie in London (I’m a sucker for this type of insight). Definitely makes me want to plan a visit.