From a distance, with its white wooden cladding and high pitched roof, this restaurant does look suspiciously like a shed. Home for years to the old Ark restaurant, under brothers Oliver and Richard Gladwin it’s had a playful makeover that’s as much barnyard as back-garden, with piggy portraits, bits of tractor, and charming staff in check shirts. It’s a fitting setting for the food, which goes beyond the usual hackneyed take on British. Plates are small, meant for sharing, and divided into sections such as ‘mouthfuls’, ‘fast cooking’ and ‘slow cooking’. The menu changes regularly; many ingredients are sourced from in or around the family farm in Nutbourne, West Sussex (including wine from Nutbourne Vineyards). From fresh-tasting carrot houmous with sourdough breadsticks, to the meaty goodness of the Nutbourne banger with own-made mustard, it was all delicious, and inventive without being tricksy. Hake with samphire, capers and a slick of red pepper sauce was possibly our favourite plate, though spatchcock quail with cucumber, poppy seed and a delicate barbecue sauce ran it close. Only a slightly too salty, overly fatty veal blade with haricot beans and black cabbage disappointed. Puddings are wickedly good – their ‘Magnum vienetta parfait’ is a reinvention of the old standard (with added salted caramel and dark, dark chocolate) that has to be tried. We’ll be back – especially as prices are so very reasonable for the area and the quality.Read more
Venue says: Join us for one of our jerk chicken burgers and wash it down with a £5 cocktail from our happy hour menu every day from 6-8pm! Rum n' Ting!
There surely can’t be a more jolly place to drink in Notting Hill: colourful wooden wall-slats and furniture fill the upstairs bar, and down in the party-time basement there’s good reggae, very friendly staff and rum, rum and more rum. The selection is enormous, and you could spend weeks here without getting through it all. On the cocktail front, there are plenty of big fruity numbers, but the classicism of a perfect daiquiri makes us think this is the way to go. There’s a happy hour from 6pm to 8pm too. If you stay later, you’ll probably find yourself unable to resist the lure of jerk chicken, saltfish fritters or just an enormous bowl of sweet potato fries.Read more
This stylish addition to the capital’s Hellenic dining scene opened in 2012 in what used to be Costas Grill. Its food has more in common with the creations of leading Athens restaurants than anything you’d find in London – and the relief from the city’s Greeks is almost palpable. Purists might be troubled by the progressive presentation – mezédes are served in Kilner jars; tyrópitta is separated into filling and filo for DIY crumbling – but the flavours are reassuringly authentic. A jar of creamy white taramá hit just the right note of tangy, savoury deliciousness; another of fava (spilt-pea purée), accompanied by tender octopus, was so light it could have been whipped. Horiátiki contained top-quality oil and feta, properly ripe tomatoes, and (unexpectedly) Cretan-style rusk croûtons and salty capers. The hot dishes are better still. Keftédes were sublime and Mazi’s slabs of feta encased in black-sesame tempura with punchy lemon marmalade might well consign the humble saganáki to history. An all-Greek wine list showcases the region’s best bottles but on a Friday night, cocktails made with mastiha resin spirit were preferred by the gangs of young Greeks tightly packed either side of us in this fresh and contemporary dining room.Read more
This popular Portobello Road basement bar calls itself a tiki bar, but the hilariously dodgy decor resists simple categorisation. It looks like a suburban-American rumpus room c1964; even Alan Partridge might find it a bit much. But underneath the thick layer of kitsch is a very good cocktail bar. Staff go to great lengths to make sure you order the right drink for you, and the bartenders know their business. They also spin a great ’60s playlist. On weekdays, even though there can be sizeable crowds, you’ll be okay without booking. The semi-private room at the back is great for larger groups; the booths near the entrance are cosy, but have cramped leg-room.Read more
Few haute establishments have the hospitable hum of the Ledbury. Whether it’s due to the off-centre location, the Aussie input, or diners’ sheer delight in securing a table, this former pub remains top-tier for gustatory good times. British ingredients – Hampshire buffalo milk curd, smoked eel, Cumbrian lamb – line up alongside delicacies such as foie gras, Tokyo turnips, Bresse chicken and black truffle, but it’s chef Brett Graham’s clever contemporary treatment of them that sets the place apart. Best go for the set lunch or commit to the mesmerising £105 tasting menu; at £80 for three courses, the carte does not have the other menus’ winning sense of value, particularly if you choose the simpler ingredient-led dishes. A spring plate of creamed Jersey Royals with morels cooked in tea would have been a delightful inclusion in a dégustation, but served as a starter was not sufficiently above mashed potato to justify the outlay, even though the mushrooms were sublime. Ledbury signatures, however, are consistently thrilling – particularly the flame-grilled mackerel with pickled cucumber, celtic mustard and shiso; and, well, all the desserts. The wine list is personable with a particularly good choice of sweet wines by the glass, plus great beers from Australia, the US and even Notting Hill.Read more
The word ‘taquería’ is traditionally associated with street stands churning out endless tacos. They do that here too, but in rather more salubrious surroundings and with a clipboard-toting greeter thrown in for good measure. It’s a charming, independent-feeling little place of two rooms, with dark wood floors and pristine white walls decorated with a few Mexican film posters. The food is equally unfussy: a dozen or so tacos (using corn tortillas made in-house daily), a handful of tostadas and a few monthly changing specials. One taco of ‘house-made chorizo’ came topped with flavoursome mince; a slow-cooked pork version contained meat as soft as cotton wool; another of steak was just the right side of chewy. A ceviche tostada had great texture – silky yet chunky pollack – but tasted too fishy, suggesting it wasn’t the freshest of catches. Service was swift if somewhat harried. To drink, there’s Mexican beer, aguas frescas (cooling fruit or nut-based drinks), an extensive selection of mezcales and tequilas and some fine cocktails. The delicious habanero hot sauce is made by sister operation Cool Chile, and available to buy. The acoustics were our only real cause for complaint – something about the main dining room amplified our fellow diners’ chatter to wince-making levels.Read more
Since Notting Hill Carnival began in the mid-’60s it has grown and morphed into Europe’s largest street festival, attracting ever more revellers than ever. As well as the main parade of floats featuring calypso, mas and pan bands, there are nearly 40 soundsystems for alfresco dancing and countless Caribbean food stalls serving up jerk chicken, fried plantain and goat curry. You can be sure of dense crowds and a vibrant celebration of music, movement and masquerade – and hopefully the weather will be better (last year was a wash-out). The more family-friendly Sunday is the best day to take children to Carnival. For information on the Notting Hill Carnival parade route, transport and station closures, safety and security and lots more, read our full guide to Notting Hill Carnival 2015.Read more
The Portobello Star is the home of the incredible Portobello Road gin, and gin (of numerous brands) takes pride of place on the drinks list. But there’s much more on the quaintly old-fashioned menu (which includes elaborate discourses on the origins of the drinks). The room is good-looking, long and thin, with a mirrored and wall-tiled alcove at the back with banquette seating. It can easily get crowded even on a weeknight, with mostly young Notting Hillbillies in search of strong, well-made drinks. We wish the stools weren’t quite so high and the climb to the loos not so steep (dangerous if you’ve had a few). But these are not serious complaints about one of west London’s true star bars. Upstairs is the ‘Ginstitute’, where you can book a course to find out all about London’s spirit (and even make some yourself).Read more
Time your visit with dinner at the tail-end of the week and there’s plenty of buzz at this decade-old spot in Notting Hill; on our Friday lunch trip we...
Time your visit with dinner at the tail-end of the week and there’s plenty of buzz at this decade-old spot in Notting Hill; on our Friday lunch trip we experienced deathly silence and empty tables. Greek Affair reduced its midday openings to Fridays and weekends in early 2013, and perhaps Fridays will follow suit. Nevertheless, there’s lots to like about this relaxed and contemporary space. The huge wooden dining table by the entrance is just right for a celebratory meal and there’s clearly plenty of skill in the kitchen. Greek rather than Cypriot food is the speciality. Expertly spiced soutzoukákia were faultless, while a piping hot portion of well-seasoned fried calamares was simple and delicious. Other dishes were disappointing: a humdrum aubergine and halloumi dish; a tower of beetroot and feta swimming in balsamic. And there’s no place in a horiátiki for iceberg lettuce, especially not piles of the stuff. We’ve had much more success ordering from the main courses – the pastitsio (a baked pasta and meat dish) is a favourite – and we love the upstairs courtyard terrace. But there’s work to be done if Greek Affair is going to keep up with its new neighbour, Mazi.Read more
A bar and restaurant on Portobello Road, with regularly changing seasonal food menus alongside cocktails, craft beers, wines by the glass and four different...
A bar and restaurant on Portobello Road, with regularly changing seasonal food menus alongside cocktails, craft beers, wines by the glass and four different absinthes. The food menu is divided into small plates, large plates and sides. Dishes range from crab onion rings and a squash and parmesan ravioli served with sage and smoked butter to bavette steaks with fries and ox cheek and nduja croquettes, charred whole mackerels and foie gras - served here with salted caramel ice cream and aged balsamic. A weekend brunch is on offer too, as well as seasonal menus and a short lunch menu.Read more