Notting Hill. An area where the townhouse-lined streets, quaint shops of Portobello and well-spoken Richard Curtis sentiment rubs up against the jerk chicken, rum slinging, reggae loving hum of Carnival. Hot and happening? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put aside a day to explore this West London location. Here are some of our favourite Notting hill restaurants and bars.
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What to See
Since opening its vibrantly painted doors in December 2012, Rum Kitchen has become one of the hottest Notting Hill restaurants – as much for its cocktail-fuelled basement bar scene as its West Indies-inspired menu.
Admittedly it’s pretty great on a Friday night, when the music’s turned up high and the punch is flowing but having recently discovered its weekend brunch menu, we think anytime around noon’s a pretty good bet too.
Whether you’re setting up for the weekend or recovering from the aftermath, the Jamicanme Breakfast (their spiced-up version of a full English) or BLT with a fiery (and we mean fiery) Scotch Bonnet Ketchup washed down with their Brunch Punch will do the job perfectly. There’s also BYO vinyl, should you feel like taking to the decks…
For more information visit therumkitchen.com
Part of a small chain created by an award-winning vineyard in Tuscany, Negozio Classica on Westbourne Grove is an excellent choice for afficinados of Italian wine (with grape-savvy staff keen to guide you if you’re not).
The wines are all available to take away, but you’ll likely be persuaded to sit and try a few, which they will let you do by the glass. There’s also a simple but fantastic menu of imported meats and cheeses (plus a few Tuscan specialities including an incredible tart filled with rich layers of ricotta, egg and parsley).
Handy tip: if you get carried away, they’ll deliver your wine to anywhere within the M25.
For more information visit negozioclassica.co.uk
If you were to stumble upon Notting Hill Kitchen, you’d be forgiven for assuming it to be another modern European brasserie serving fussy plates of roasted meat and wines with wince-inducing price tags. And you’d be half right.
The building (or set of three former townhouses to be exact) was previously home to Notting Hill Brasserie and still boasts an immaculate exterior with the distinct whiff of money but now this Notting Hill restaurant has Portuguese Executive Chef Luis Baena at the stoves offering a menu “inspired by the Atlantic-facing Iberian Peninsula”.
Highlights include Pesticos of brioche stuffed with spider crab; gamey sausage sweetened with quince; quivering bone marrow atop crisp shards of sourdough and a traditional dish of salt cod whipped up into a peak of potato, artichoke and fennel all served with a flurry of lesser-known but artfully matched Iberian wines.
With mains approaching the £20 mark and very few wines that won’t make you wince a little, the Notting Hill Kitchen is on the pricier end of the scale (though the bar does offer some less expensive tapas-style dishes). But for high-end cooking that tastes like nothing else in the area, we couldn’t recommend it more highly.
For more information visit nottinghillkitchen.co.uk
Everyone in Notting Hill knows the Windsor Castle, which is hardly surprising as it’s been around since 1835.
Full of the charming nooks and crannies one expects from an old boozer, this West London stalwart is the perfect place to while away a few hours, pint in hand.
Should the afternoon turn into night, it also has an excellent menu full of upmarket gastropub classics, which they will happily match to one of the 18 beers and ales on tap.
For more information visit thewindsorcastlekensington.co.uk
The fact that Melt sits on one of Notting Hill’s poshest streets, Ledbury Road means that before we’d even stepped inside the shop, we assumed we were going to be getting some quality chocolate and (in this case) we weren’t wrong.
The smell of fresh chocolate not so much attacks the senses as throttles them. And the flavour (in particular, a salted caramel truffle with a layer so liquid it defied science) is superb.
With so many beautiful orbs of cocoa-laced deliciousness around, it’s easy to become hysterical. In such instances, chocolatiers are on-hand to smoothly guide you away from giddiness.
For more information visit meltchocolates.com
The Portobello Star on (you guessed it) Portobello Road is somewhat of a Notting Hill institution – which has supposedly been serving “Royals, scallywags, urchins, beggars, scarlet ladies, drunkards and intellectuals” since 1740.
Smartened up in recent years (no sign of the sawdust of old) though still fairly unassuming from the outside, the real draw now is the highly skilled team of bartenders who seriously know their gibsons from their gimlets.
Work your way through the impressive cocktail list (a blend of modern and classic – like the rather stirling Old Fashioned) whilst shouting above the din of DJ tunes and Notting Hill trendies.
For more information visit portobellostarbar.co.uk