I can’t remember the last time I ventured over to West London when it wasn’t Notting Hill Carnival?
Actually that’s a lie…I was there for my works Christmas do at All Star Lanes in December, what I mean to say was, I can’t remember the last time I walked down Portobello Road when it wasn’t carnival. I honestly think it may have been back in 2007 before I even lived in London!
So last Saturday with a free weekend and boyfriend in tow I decided to make the trek from East to West and grab us a spot of lunch on the Portobello Road.
On the drive over I was in charge of sussing out somewhere good to go and actually headed over to Rosie’s blog, The Londoner, as I knew she must have posted about a fair few places out West that would suit our lunching needs.
And right I was; she had more than a few reviews and mentions of good grub in the area and one of her posts included Granger and Co. Unfortunately though, as she had predicted, there was a fairly long queue outside when we drove past.
And even more unfortunately my boy is not the waiting kind (I think his exact words were f*** that – hey he’s an East End cabbie, that’s politeness in their book.) and therefore I knew that this place was off the list (however I instantly chalked it up as a place for me and a less impatient female friend to go.)
Eventually we decided to just park up and walk down Portobello first and foremost.
Quite a regular on Brick Lane, Roman Road, Colombia and Broadway Market I am familiar with an outdoor stroll and stalls full of shiny things.
Portobello, however, has a completely different feel to any of these places. I don’t know if that is because West feels like a different city altogether to me but it certainly feels posher for a start.
Yes there are nick nacks and crap as there are at all markets but there’s also more of a focus on higher quality goods. Antiques and Silver. Old leather sporting goods and grandfather clocks. Fur and fancy crockery. There’s everything you could imagine and more.
Something not so different from the other places though are the tourists – especially French, Italian and Spanish. It seemed like there’d be a pilgrimage from all to Portobello on this particular weekend.
You couldn’t say excuse me without hearing pardon, triste or scusate as a reply…that’s a lie too, we all know it’s only the English who regularly apologise for no good reason!
The place was alive nay, heaving with visitors. Frustrating at times when you find yourself stuck in a people jam, I decided to go with the old adage – If you can’t beat them, join them – and pulled out my camera phone to start snapping away, pointing out every little detail to my aforementioned less patient boyfriend.
In keeping with the tourist theme we decided to stop and try one of the waffles that was on sale about halfway down Portobello. And with strawberries, cream and chocolate sauce toppings, how could we refuse?
Post waffle wonder we continued to wander – and I continued to lick the remaining chocolate off of my face – having had a taste of food the hunger in our bellies had been lit and next on the agenda was to find somewhere to sit and eat.
We turned left of Portobello where we came across this delightful bit of graffiti…
Then the heavens looked like they might open, so we picked up the pace onto Westbourne Park Road and straight into The Oak which was another place I’d seen over on Rosie The Londonder’s blog.
Initially we’d headed over to Portobello with the intention to go to Lucky Seven for pancakes but with the time nearer to 2pm when we got there we thought that an Italian indulgence was much better suited to our hunger needs.
^^^ that guy looking at the camera waved at me after and made me feel weirdly embarrassed for taking a pic.
Inside the pub was warm and welcoming, just what we needed from the tireless wind. We settled on our table for two in-between a couple of French families (seriously I felt like I was in Normandy not Notting Hill – although I like to think the French know their food so this was a good indicator to how good the menu may be.)
We got stuck into ordering the Charcuterie to start which included Ardennes cured ham, Morcon, Iberico, bresaola di buffalo, Pere Fouilloux, saucisson, manchego.
Sadly this never materialised as the waitress apparently forgot we wanted it and therefore they came straight out with our mains. I was really gutted this happened as was looking forward to tucking in to a little bit of everything before settling with just one main meal…I’m greedy like that.
My boyfriend was seemingly less perturbed by this matter and simply asked them to take it off the bill and put. his. pizza. down. – men eh! Such here and now people.
Ahh but ain’t he handsome??
Anyway we cracked on with the mains. As mentioned my boyfriend had pizza – the Castagna to be precise which was tomato, mozzarella, tuscan sausage, chestnut paste and baby spinach all cooked up in their wood fire oven.
I went for ravioli which is my absolute Achilles heel when it comes to food…I could eat buckets of the stuff. This particular ravioli was filled with ricotta and mozzerella in a a pistachio and cime di rapa sauce hence why it looked bogey green. Topped with some diced tomato it absolutely was ‘a bit of me’
Accompanied by a crisp, light white wine, a bottle of peroni and the sun blazing on our backs through the window it really was a perfect Saturday afternoon.
I came away feeling like I’d been on a mini-break in my own city…now surely that’s quite a feat to achieve! I’ll be heading back West sometime very soon – if you have any recommendations, please post them my way!
Thanks for reading,