Once one of the first homes to London’s Afro-Caribbean community, Notting Hill has become gentrified and now counts trustafarians, would-be bohemians, and bankers as its residents. As might be expected from one of west London’s most expensive areas, there are regrettably few signs of its original inhabitants and their cuisine, but nonetheless the eclectic range of dining available comes as a pleasant surprise. From the world-class likes of The Ledbury and Clare Smyth’s Core to local dining that offers a wide range of high quality places to eat that cater to budgets great and small.Read More
The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Notting Hill
Some of London’s finest fine dining, quality cooking in a bookshop, and more
Jackson Boxer’s third restaurant opened on Kensington Park Road early in 2019, and focuses mainly on fish and seafood, with a couple of vegetarian and carnivorous options. Particular acclaim has gone to the starter of Isle of Mull scallop with shittake mushrooms and the sharing main dish of a wood-grilled John Dory with smoked bone marrow bordelaise. In this light, elegant dining room, there are always interesting wines by the glass and carafe, and the well-heeled locals are loud in their appreciation.
Books For Cooks
One of London’s best kept secrets is the lunch hour at this charmingly bohemian bookshop. Every day, a selection of dishes are cooked from one of the thousands of cookery books. Upon arrival, they might have run out, or the shop might be full, but it’s worth chancing one’s arm for one of the best-value, best-kept-secrets in W11.
Trailer Happiness is an underground rum lounge with a tiki-style twist, and a fixture in W11 thanks to owner Sly Augustin. The rum menu and collection includes 200 different bottles, focusing specifically on those from Asia, Polynesia and the Caribbean, for those who want to drink neat. But that seriousness doesn’t stop fun: with cocktail names like “Hell in the Pacific,” a mix of Goslings 151 rum, maraschino liqueur, grenadine, lime juice, and pomegranate molasses, or riffs on the espresso martini made with dark rum and falernum, it knows a good time too.
Jay Dee's Catering
Notting Hill is afflicted by the common London habit of not just forgetting, but erasing its history — the annual carnival and its increasingly NIMBY opposition sanitised like the streets the morning after. So it’s a boon that Jay Dee’s is able to hold court on Lancaster Road, the sizeable takeout feeling like one of the last links to an era gone. Its jerk is some of the best in the city.
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Core by Clare Smyth
Clare Smyth was the only woman in Britain to have presided over three Michelin stars, for her cooking at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. That was until her first stand-alone establishment got three of its own in 2021, for a menu that is heavy on vegetables and seasonality, such as the lamb-braised carrot with sheep’s milk yoghurt. The restaurant is also at pains to (if only moderately) informalise fine dining.
Sporting Clube de Londres
The ex-pat Portuguese community has been going to this fantastic place for years, where visitors can expect barbecue-cooked meats, cold beers and extremely low bills. A perfect place to watch football and while away a summer’s evening out west.
Brett Graham’s two-Michelin-starred gastronomic temple lost something on reopening: its stars, which it had held for ten years. But the rejuvenated dining room and restaurant is perhaps the city’s keenest proof that a rubber man’s swallow does not make a summer, and even though it will likely earn those shiny tokens back, it would be no less of a phenomenal restaurant if it did not.
Amoret Coffee Portobello
Sadiq Merchant’s Amoret moved into Notting Hill with two striking statements: a coffee vine illustration that climbs up the building’s facade like Alex Honnold in Free Solo, and a commitment to roasting its own coffee. It’s now an established neighbourhood fixture, and Merchant’s Giesen roaster is behind some of the best cups in the area.
“The restaurant they couldn’t close’.” A traditional family-run Italian restaurant on Notting Hill Gate that was threatened by the planned expansion of next door’s Gate cinema — now defeated — it serves exemplary antipasti, and tiramisu that led Jay Rayner to write “it needs to be tried by everyone else attempting to make one.”
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Endo Kazutoshi has opened a more laid-back, still pristinely wood-panellled neighbourhood ode to the craft of sushi in Westbourne Grove. The gorgeous terrace makes eating sushi outside something to be enjoyed, and its menu of best-quality nigiri and sashimi — with the option to have fattier cuts aburi-style — also adds some temaki for further theatre and wagyu and caviar for the heads.
Guinness; oysters; prawns; repeat. A whole crab, if feeling flash; a different beer, if feeling foolish.
The slickest of coffee shops can often feel colder than the ice they might brew with, and the highest quality drinks can suffer from an inhospitably sterile atmosphere. Lift has managed to marry clean lines with loyal customers thanks to its warmth of service — shimmering like its potassium chromate-coated staircase — and outstanding quality, particularly filter brews that showcase a variety of Europe’s best coffee roasters.
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To try St John-quality food, but at a considerably kinder price (especially the set lunch, one of London’s great bargains,) then ex-St John head chef Tom Pemberton’s bistro inside a butcher’s shop is unmissable. Dishes include deep fried calves’ brain, hake with roast cauliflower, and brown bread ice cream.
Referred to as ‘London’s best Lebanese restaurant’ by virtually everyone, the confidence in having a name that means “oasis” is justified by the excellence of the food, ranging from the tabbouleh to vine leaves that, for once, actually taste how they are supposed to. Plenty of carnivorous and fish options, too.
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