DISCOVER THE BEST OF NOTTING HILL’S CAFE CULTURE
Notting Hill has an abundance of wonderful little places to stop for a coffee or something to eat, each with its own take on what it means to relax and take a minute, or an hour, to yourself. The area’s variety of unique establishments has created a fantastic local cafe culture, but where to head depends on what you’re looking for. The Resident checks out some of the best local hangouts…
The Brunch Cafe
Eggbreak is a wonderful little find, hiding just a stone’s throw from Notting Hill Gate. As can be imagined, restaurant director Hana Bachankova tells us how the concept came from the humble egg.
‘The original idea came from EggSlut in LA – we loved the idea of doing an all-day concept centered around eggs,’ says Bachankova. ‘As we developed the menu, we fleshed things out but eggs still feature heavily – from basic eggs on toast, to omelettes and Turkish Eggs.’
They wanted to create a café that felt relaxed, welcoming and local; something that from my visit I can tell you they have achieved perfectly. The smashed avocado on sourdough with poached eggs, kale and chilli was to die for, and the cornbread waffles made me very envious.
‘We wanted to make sure it became an all day neighbourhood diner, where the staff know the names (and the orders) of the regulars,’ says Bachankova. What they’ve achieved through taking inspiration from the Instagram ingredient of the year is a spot that people flock to. Take it from me, a girl who knows my eggs, this is not a café to miss out on.
The Cookery Cafe
If you have a penchant for cookery then Books for Cooks is definitely the place for you. Inspired by the fact that, in 1983, the cookery book sections of bookstores were dusty and meagre, this café is within a dedicated cookbook shop serving an eclectic, daily changing menu.
The aim was to stock as many cookbooks as possible and the café soon earned an international clientele. They later installed a kitchen where recipes might be tested and the cookbooks on the shelves brought to life.
Rosie Kindersley and Eric Treuille, the current proprietors, are convinced that the test kitchen is the secret of the success. ‘We are able to put theory into practice,’ says Kindersley. ‘Food here is not just to be perused in books, it is something to be cooked, eaten and enjoyed. We can then champion the books in which we know the recipes work. It makes us more than a cookbook shop – a shop for all cooks!’
The Detox Cafe
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you can’t have missed the explosion in the wellbeing industry, especially when it comes to detoxing. One team of creatives that got behind this idea are those behind Redemption, arguably London’s healthiest restaurant, serving up vegan, sugar-free and wheat-free food with an alcohol-free bar.
‘We designed Redemption to be a sanctuary away from the usual temptations so that once you’ve stepped foot in the door, you can’t make a bad decision for yourself, animals or the planet!’ founder Catherine Salway says. ‘And hopefully in a cool setting so that you don’t feel you are depriving yourself.’
Redemption is so much more than a no-booze zone. The food menu, designed by a nutritional therapist, features gluten-free, vegan and raw dishes which allow you to ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself.’ It’s a unique drinking and dining concept, but it’s one that local Chepstow Road residents are more than happy to get on board with.
The Musical Cafe
Max Reich and Simon Marlin, aka chart-topping house music duo The Shapeshifters, recently founded Rubio, a cool new restaurant/music venue in north west London. Despite Reich’s successful music career, it has always been something of a dream of his to open his own restaurant.
Marlin helped him bring his dream to life in Harlesden. Unsurprisingly, for the inspiration behind this one, it’s as much about the music as it is about the food. The chilled, laid-back atmosphere is helped by a little DJ booth and regular visits from DJs or cool, alternative acoustic indie bands.
‘I just wanted to do something a little bit different,’ says Reich. ‘I knew there was a gap in the market in Harlesden. I drove past this empty unit which seemed really cool and that’s where it started.’ It’s all about music history and only has 32 covers inside, so you can immediately become immersed in the atmosphere. Everything is music led.
‘Few people can afford Notting Hill, but the vibes are pushing out into Kensal Green and Harlesden,’ he continues. ‘It’s all coming together, but there was a gap for something like this.’ It’s certainly ticking all the boxes to become the new hotspot for London’s music and food scene. A cool, quirky vibe and a six-minute drive from Notting Hill makes this the perfect place to wind down.