Posts filed under my notting hill

My Notting Hill | Chucs Westbourne Grove

If you're looking for a great lunch spot in London, I have a little secret spot that is too good to miss tucked away in plain site in Notting Hill's Westbourne Grove.

I met my friend Amber at Chucs in the tiny pristine garden one day for lunch, and it was the perfect little spot to spend a couple of hours catching up over yummy food with zero pressure to move fast. (To be honest, the same can be said for the wait staff at times. We'll just chalk it up to Italian charm.)

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The restaurant inside is sweet, but for a pretty day- it's hard to beat cacio e pepe, paper-thin chicken paillard and fried zucchini with a pal.

I think this spot could be a total winner for a brunch to celebrate a soon-to-arrive baby, sneak away to on a weeknight date, or just do what we did... meet up with an old friend and enjoy the day/food/pretty setting.

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CHUCS  |   226 WESTBOURNE GROVE  +44 020 7243 9136

 

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FIND MORE OF THE BEST PLACES TO EAT IN NOTTING HILL                                                         IN MY TRAVEL GUIDE TO NOTTING HILL.



 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Notting Hill | Farm Girl Cafe

For a while, I've been waiting to try the infamous (or shall I say, "in(stagram)famous") rose latte from Farm Girl on Notting Hill's Portobello Road. But let's be honest: this place is made for women and it was going to be a hard sell to drag Tyler and company out to a place that serves health food and girly drinks when places like Granger & Co. are so nearby.

When my sweet friend, Georgie, recommended it for the place for a meeting- I jumped at the chance.

We had such a nice morning- clear skies, early enough to avoid waiting for a coveted table in the garden and great chat. (Though to be fair, she's so funny you don't need a great setting to enjoy an hour with her. She is a guaranteed treat for a great conversation!) The experience was overall really lovely, but I thought I'd give a quick review in case you want to go, too.


Farm Girl Cafe

Tucked in discreetly off Portobello's most popular row of coloured houses, you'll find Farm Girl Cafe. It's pretty vine-covered entrance make the walk-up appeal really enchanting. Seating is airy and pretty- regardless of if you sit inside or out. (Though it was gorgeous when we were there, so I opted for a pretty seat outside.)

The menu is healthy- think açai bowls, buckwheat pancakes, vegan donuts and avocado toast. It's more or less like you've been transplanted to L.A. for brunch. The prices are a bit steep (I think my açai Bowl was £12 by the time I added on granola?), but with people constantly moving in and out of the cafe- they don't need to worry about if people will pay.

The showstoppers are the quirky drinks the make at the bar... rose lattes dusted in dried rose petals, the bright blue butterfly matcha or the red hibiscus matcha. We opted to try the rose lattes, and, well, it tastes like rose water in your coffee. Not sure if I'd reorder it, to be honest, but it was fun to try and pretty to look at.

The food was good- my bowl was refreshing and massive. The buckwheat pancakes with coconut yoghurt and strawberries a hit... but the £3 vegan donut was a bit sad and a reminder as to my fervour for "real" American donuts. 

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The service was a mix of really sweet and really, gulp, salty. Trying to ask the barista where the bathroom was felt like asking Regina George for a ride home from school, but our server was really sweet and the overall vibe felt friendly.

All in all- I'd recommend Farm Girl. It's pretty, the food is nice and the pretty setting is hard to beat. Feel free to add it to your day in Notting Hill... just go early to get a good table without a wait, as tables are first come, first served.


Farm Girl Cafe | 59A Portobello Rd, London W11 3DB, UK 


Find more of the best places to eat in Notting Hill here on my guide, or search my dedicated series My Notting Hill for full posts on what's great in this special area of London.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Notting Hill | Granger & Co.

While this place may be listed in *both* my London and Notting Hill guides, I figured I should respect the old adage that "A picture is worth a thousand words" and give a full, photographed post on Notting Hill's hippest and most delicious breakfast spot, Granger & Co.


Granger & Co. 

When we were viewing flats for our first move to Notting Hill, the estate agent was bragging that the flat we were interested was just around the corner from... well, I didn't know the name he was talking about, but it seemed like a brunch place that was really popular.

Fast-forward a few years and I've got a new baby and family in town visiting us. We want to eat breakfast and head out to... well, who cares. Maybe that place out the front door that is supposed to be so popular? We went, we got a table and we totally flipped out when we ate our food because it was so good. I felt a bit foolish that I had waited so long to try this place (that we realised was called "Granger & Co.") that had a constant queue out the front door.

Now days, it's one of those places Tyler & I go for sweet memories and great food. We meet friends traveling to London there, we took Harrison there during his first week of life, and now we have weekly morning dates there. 

So while it serves up on sentiment for us, it also makes for a killer meal. (And let's be honest, that's what you really want to care about.)

Without further ado, I present everything you need to know before eating at Granger & Co. 


A Local's Guide to Granger & Co. 

1. The ricotta hot cakes with bananas are the most popular dish. (And rightly so, they are insane.) They're as puffy as clouds, covered in a generous pat of honeycomb butter and served with banana & warm syrup.

2. You're also gonna want to get the sweetcorn fritters. With a side of avocado salsa- think chunky guacamole. Don't skip on this. It's important.

3. Get half orders of each of the above! It's not listed on the menu, but it's a local secret. This way, you can also share a raspberry muffin, an acai bowl or a side of their world-famous scrambled eggs. You'll never taste anything fluffier. 

4. Granger & Co. is Bill Granger's restaurant. Bill is from Australia and Australia makes good flat whites. What does all of this mean? Get a flat white and get a great cup of coffee.

 

 

5. If you have little ones, order one of their adorable babyccinos (foamed milk with cocoa powder on top) and a few chocolate chips on the side.

6. Go before 9am... or be prepared to wait. Again, this is not a "just in case," this is an absolute fact. The lines on the weekend are weep-worthy. Plan ahead if you have plans to go the Saturday market on Portobello Road.

7. If you're not up for the wait, you can go up to the bar and order a coffee and grab a pastry for the road. Service is fast & friendly... and you'll have one of the best cups of coffee in the neighbourhood. (Their flat white is only £2.80!) 

8. There are now three locations- Notting Hill (on the famous Westbourne Grove), Kings Cross and Clerkenwell. All three are exceptionally tasty, and the latter two are often less of a scene than the overly popular Notting Hill location.  (Though you'll only catch me taking baby bump pics outside our old flat if you come to the Notting Hill location.) 

Granger & Co. | 175 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2SB. Open 7AM-12AM.


Find all of my favourite places to eat and shop in Notting Hill in my Travel Guide to the neighbourhood.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Notting Hill | Continental Pantry

I used to look for quiet, independent places to work when we lived off Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. I searched for that magic Bermuda Triangle of productivity where good food, quietness and wifi magically aligned.

I'm sad to say that I could never quite find the right space just out the steps of our flat... until now, when, of course, we no longer live there.

At Continental Pantry, you'll find a small (but mighty!) menu offering light breakfast and lunch items. Don't expect heavy cooked options- no eggs or pancakes- but lighter choices like yogurt, homemade granola and berries or avocado toast buried under tomatoes.

The coffee is good and the quiet room in the back is surprisingly sunlit and very well designed.

The front of the store has dry goods from all over, you guessed it, "the continent." French mustards, Italian meats, and all the other essentials you may need.

And luckily, it's next door to my favourite chocolate shop in London/the galaxy, MELT... so not only can you get a great space for working or meeting a friend, but you've also got the perfect route for picking up one of their popcorn bars (incredible!) on your way home. That may not contribute to the end-goal of productivity... but surely, it can't hurt?

Continental Pantry | 57 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, W11 2AA


Find all of my favourite places in Notting Hill in my travel guide to the neighbourhood here



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Notting Hill | Fabrique on Portobello Road

I got a chance to spend the morning in Notting Hill this week. It had been a while since I'd been there and even longer since I saw my friend, Amber. We met up for a quick breakfast in those precious hours when children's school hours align and it was perfect.

Notting Hill turned up the charm with bright sunshine and its sidewalk's endless catwalk of well-heeled residents. People chatted over posh breakfasts on cafe tables in the sun, walked tiny dogs while chatting on their cell-phones, tucked small present-like parcels of food into shopping bags and just embraced all the pretty yuppie stereotypes one might have for this London neighbourhood.

Now that we are gone from Notting Hill, I'm relying on Amber to keep me up to speed with what is new there. And luckily, she didn't let me down. She trailed me along Portobello Road to the tiny cafe, Fabrique.

This bakery/cafe offers fresh baked loaves of bread and various sweet offerings... but don't get distracted by the offerings and get their cinnamon roll.

Not the vanilla-sugar dusted one. The standard. I thought I knew better and ordered the vanilla, but Amber ordered the original "just so I could try it, too." After all, that's what friends are for, right?

Initially- I thought the space was cute but that these famed cinnamon buns looked dry. The good news: after a few nibbles in, I realised what a moist little treat it was! (Also- apologies to everyone who hates the word "moist." I do, too, but couldn't find a suitable alternate when describing this. Ha!)

The lattes are good, but having them served in a crystal tumbler makes them taste even better. Don't fight that truth, it's science.

Hit up Fabrique when you head to Notting Hill. Its placement on Portobello Road makes it an easy stop on your visit to the Saturday market.

Fabrique12 Portobello Road, London, W11 1LA


Headed to Notting Hill? Find all my favorites here in my travel guide or search #aspiringlondon on Instagram.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Notting Hill | Melt Chocolates

 

Our old flat was tucked deep in Notting Hill. While it made getting to/from public transport a haul, it did have some major advantages.... mainly, it's proximity to the retail heaven of Westbourne Grove. 

 

 

I used to wander past the tiny chocolate shop, Melt Chocolates, nearly every day, but it wasn't until this week that I stopped in and tried their ice cream. 

Then it was two days after that I came back and got more.

 

 

This small luxury chocolatier makes gorgeous handmade chocolates that can be found at the Notting Hill boutique, Holland Park boutique or their concession in Selfridges. While Ive been a big fan of their vanilla caramels and boxes of Vanilla Sugar (delicious on buttered toast), I was drawn in by their handmade sign for ice cream. 

 

 

The ice cream flavor choices aren't vast (vanilla, salted caramel, and chocolate), but they're all amazing. The chocolate tastes like an actual chocolate- so luxurious! And the salted caramel... my goodness. I can't explain it, but you'll have to just try it. I have a feeling I'm going to swap baby weight for ice cream weight.

Beyond chocolates and ice cream, the shop also has a coffee bar. One of their vanilla caramels, a latte and a book in their tiny garden is a pretty great way to spend a quiet morning, in my opinion. 

And if you're looking for something really fun- you can take chocolate-making classes in their kitchen. (Dream!)

Anyway, Im starting to babble. Obviously, I like this place. I hope you'll stop by when you're nearby and validate my love for this heavenly little place.

 

MELT CHOCOLATES. 59 LEDBURY ROAD, LONDON W11 2AA

020 7727 5030

 

Find more of my favorite neighborhood spots in my Notting Hill Guide.

 


And for those that asked on Instagram, Viola's outfit details are below. I can typically find the Joes Jeans at Nordstrom Rack at even better sales prices for around $20- but the options are typically pretty random.





*images original to aspiring kennedy



My Notting Hill | Ottolenghi

 

I know, I know...

Ottolenghi?

 

Again?

 

Because if you follow me on instagram,

you'll recognize this place

as a repeat offender.

 

It's just SO good

and SO close to us.

 

I literally can dash out,

grab an almond croissant (life changing)

and a cinnamon brioche pretzel for Tyler

and be home within 10 minutes.

 

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Unless there is a line...

which, if I'm honest, there always is.

 

It's fine though.

 

Worth it.

 

Here are 3 very important reasons 

why Ottolenghi is awesome.

 

1. It's the restaurant/cafe of Yotom Ottolenghi...

you know, the guy who made the Jersusalem cookbook.

 

So fresh, so good, so... gorgeous.

 

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2. I met Ina Garten at the London Eye in 2010

when she was filming her Christmas special

and this was the place she told me to go for really special food.

 

(And what Ina says, I do.)

 

3. The have window piled high with desserts and pastries.

So, yeah... duh.

 

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Check it out when you come to the neighborhood.

 

I promise-

you won't be disappointed.

 

(Especially if there are any of those pretzels or almond croissants left.)

 

*  *  *

 

Just so you know...

 

*Drinks are available! Just order your coffee/tea/whatever

when you order your pastry or salad.

 

*You can sit in... but the (lone) table is small & communal.

First come, first served.

 

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*No wifi, so not the best place for camping out.

 





 

 

*photography by Noah Darnell

 

My Notting Hill | Jamie Oliver's Recipease

When we first moved to England,

I would do a 2 hour commute

into London for work...

and then another 2 hours home.

(And I loved it.)

In the evenings,

the first hour was on the tube

getting to Paddington

where I would hop on a train

and haul my buns

back out to Oxford.

In London during commuter hours,

free newspapers are passed out

to commuters as the enter the tube entrances.

I love sitting on the packed-yet-silent tubes

and listening the ruffles of newspapers.

Because there's no cell service (yet),

it is like a time transport

to people reading books & papers.

(And I loved that, too.)

I remember reading the Evening Standard

on the tube one night

the first few months we lived in England.

There was 30-Minute Meal insert

by this English chef, Jamie Oliver...

he was cooking with exotic ingredients

like "rocket" and "coriander"

and making weird sounding things

like Portuguese tarts for dessert.

For some reason,

I kept the paper

and it's still sitting in my recipe book today.

Now that I've been here a while

(3.5 years already!),

I realize what a naive little pup I was.

Jamie Oliver

is practically the king of the cooking scene here.

(And "rocket" & "coriander" is actually just arugula & cilantro. Oops.)

While I still don't have an affinity for Portuguese tarts,

I have fallen in love with Mr. Oliver.

He taught me to

roast a perfect chicken

, afterall.

And, now, he set up shop in our neighborhood

with the cutest place you ever did see:

RECIPEASE

.

Cooking classes, cute baking goods,

take away meals for dinner,

gorgeous baked goods & coffee for easy snagging,

and of course- a restaurant with his yummy recipes.

It's a sweet place

that's easy to find

right above the Notting Hill Gate tube station...

Stop by. 

Either grab a coffee

or sit a while 

in the sunny windows upstairs

over a gorgeous plate of his yummy creatiions.

(I personally dig the thai green curry or the spiced carrot pancake with hummous!)

*    *   *

RECIPEASE

92-94 Notting Hill Gate

London W11 3Q

B

(other locations available here)

*photography by Noah Darnell

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Permanently closed

My Notting Hill | Talkhouse Coffee

Our friend Reuben is generally very nice...

except when it comes to coffee.

You should have seen the snarl I got when I asked if 

he had served instant coffee after we had dinner  at their house one night.

The death look was given and noted.

So when he says that a place by our flat has really good coffee,

we listen.

Well, actually, Tyler listens

and then takes me....

and then I remember that this was the place

 that Reuben was talking up so much.

Talkhouse sits on Portobello Road,

at the end of the market.

It's a small coffee shop

that discreetly boasts

that it's barista won 3rd in the 

World Latte Art Competition.

(Who knew such existed, right?)

But not only does Talkhouse serve coffee so fancy

that it could make a hipster feel insecure

but the food is top notch.

We reallllly love the St. John's custard donut

and the chocolate chip cookie sprinkled with sea salt.

Yum.

The lunch options are also really good quality

and amazingly fresh.

If it's nice outside,

snag a seat in the outdoor garden area

at the wayyyyy back of the shop.

(Just keep going, it's there. I promise.)

Enjoy this good, good place.

I know you won't be disappointed.

Talkhouse Coffee

275 Portobello Road

London W11 1LR

*photos by Noah Darnell

EDITOR'S NOTE: Permanently closed.

My Notting Hill | Honest Burgers

I'm not really a meat eater.

Most of the time,

I stick to veggies...

unless it's exceptionally delicious meat.

Like boeuf bourgignon at a favorite French restaurant

or pork barbecue sandwiches when I'm in the South...

or Chick-fil-A nuggets by the handful because they are goooood.

We don't really eat at ton of red meat,

so we save our burger splurges

for the best...

which means we don't eat them in England.

Burgers in England are gross.

I hate to be a downer, but it's just true.

They're nasty (in my Texan snob opinion)

for two reasons:

1. The cows are grass-fed and it makes the beef taste weird.

2. They use breadcrumbs in the patties so it makes them have

a weird, meatloaf-y consistency.

Now, a year ago,

I could have written off this entire

soggy island and it's soggy burger patties...

but I actually, have to allow for a few exceptions.

Now that the US darlings Shack Shake & Five Guys

have come to town,

it is possible to get a good burger...

AND because

Honest Burgers

is here.

Since they are British and have created a good burger,

they get an extra gold star.

There are a few locations,

but we go to the one in Notting Hill

on Portobello Road

(duh).

They offer a

really simple menu

,

but it's a good one.

Go with the Honest burger (bacon, cheddar, carmelised onion relish)

 + homemade fries with rosemary salt.

Once your tummy starts protruding

with a burger pooch,

you'll singing John Cougar Mellancamp

and swearing to yourself that you were

back in the good ole US of A.

(Except you actually won't be... so don't sing... Just hum.)

*      *     *

Honest Burgers

189 Portobello Road 

London W11 2ED

+44 (0) 7229 4978

(Other locations available

here

.)

*photography by Noah Darnell

My Notting Hill | Book & Kitchen

Just off the craziness of Portobello Road,

there's a small street that I particularly love.

It's just a stone's throw away

afrom the madness,

but it's a tiny sliver of quiet & bliss:

Allsaints Road.

It is just... so cute.

It has small independent pubs & restaurants

dotting the tiny colorful street.

We love to go the Pelican

for yummy pub meals

and for the sweet staff

that always treats Viola

like a doll.

But on days when it's just me...

well, I like to go to a place

that's a bit quieter

and entirely quaint:

Book & Kitchen

This tiny shop is half bookshop...

half, you guessed it, kitchen!

It feels like a place

that would make Kathleen Kelly smile.

The giant windows pour in sunshine

and the tiny back deck

is the perfect place

to spend alone with a good book

or a wandering thought...

or you know, shame eating a piece of cake.

(I'll never judge you for that, you know that.)

Even though it has a a significantly smaller

offering than the large chain book stores,

this place gets my vote

for the best bookshop in London.

They have a children's nook

that is so cute and cozy.

When Viola gets older

and starts enjoying books

for more than licking,

I have visions of spending

chilly afternoons down there with her.

Oh yeah,

 and the staff is crazy nice, too.

You're gonna love it here.

Book & Kitchen

31 All Saints Road

London W11 1HE

info@bookandkitchen.com

Photography by

Noah Darnell

My Notting Hill | New Series

There are many great things about Dallas,

but let's be honest-

it's completely different from London.

While it suits many people's fancy

to have suburban convenience (hello, Costco!) 

and a calendar stuffed with sunshine,

I march to the beat of a different drum.

What can I say?

I'm a sucker for hauling my groceries endless blocks

and living in a tiny space

all for the sake of culture.

*      *     *

Starting tomorrow,

keep your eyes peeled for a fun new series

that I've created

with the help of my friend, Noah.

We've cruised my neighborhood

and picked some of my favorite spots

here in Notting Hill

to share with you.

Part of me hates to share such "gems..."

but the other part of me just

can't wait

to give you some great new spots

and a peek into our life here in Notting Hill.

I'm sharing my favorites with you,

now do the same for us:

What's a favorite local find

near your home?

I'd love to hear about them!

*images by Noah Darnell

My Notting Hill | Daylesford Organic

Daylesford Organic

is another repeat offender

that frequents my instagrams.

It's literally a 2 minute walk from my house

and it's such a great place to meet up with friends,

as it offers great food

for pretty much every time of the day.

Plus, the coffee isn't any more expensive

than I would pay at Starbucks,

so it's perfect for a quick catch up.

The food, that's grown & raised, on their

organic farm

in Gloucestershire,

is another story.

It's pricey,

but it's healthy

and the quality is hard to beat.

You get what you pay for.

And what you're paying for

is freaking delicious.

I love their pearl barley risotto,

their raw slaw salad,

and most every one of their quiches.

Also, their bakewell tart

is what made first love bakewell tarts.

It marries almonds, cake & jam

together just right...

And if you're fancy

and like almond, soy, etc

in your coffee....

they've got you covered.

Oh, and of course-

there's a cute market

to bring home any jams, juices, farm fresh eggs

or high quality cuts of meat

that you may so desire.

Add

Daylesford Organic

to your Notting Hill bucket list.

And who knows, 

you might see a celeb or two

while you're there. :)

Daylesford Organic

208-211 Westbourne Grove

Notting Hill W11 2RH

***

Take a peek at my other favorite places

to go & eat in Notting Hill

here.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy