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Andi Oliver
Image: Time Out/LD Media UK/

Andi Oliver remembers finding the community of her dreams in London

The chef and presenter on Notting Hill in the 1970s

Written by
Chiara Wilkinson

I grew up in Suffolk and was constantly yearning to find a place where I felt at home. Somewhere I could live with people of all races, colours and classes.

In the late 1970s, I went to live with my friend on Ladbroke Grove, and I found it: Portobello Road was the multi-layered community of my dreams. From electricians and carpenters to artists, there were so many creative people around me. The market was at the heart, and we’d all congregate in The Warwick Castle pub. It was like a fantasy of egalitarian living. We looked after each other’s kids, and if you were broke, somebody would give you money. I wouldn’t have been able to bring up my daughter as a young, poor, single parent if I hadn’t had that. 

Now, Portobello Road is unrecognisable from that special time. But living there taught me how to recreate that community wherever I am. Where I live now, in Clapton, I know all my neighbours. We have a strong community that we value and make sure no one takes away. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, without that connection around you, I don’t think life is that great.

Andi’s Waffles at The Sunny Side Up Café by Veuve Clicquot is at 59 Greek St until Apr 30.

There are so many great things to do on Portobello Road.

More celebrities on the streets that changed their lives.

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