NFT London Notting Hill Gate

Notting Hill Gate

It is hard to believe that until relatively recently this now home of the mega-rich was Kensington's rough bad-boy slum. Traces of the Gate's multicultural past are in the wrinkles of the old eccentrics in the Uxbridge Arms, the lively Portobello Market, and the buzz of the summer Carnival. To feel old and bitter, go scowl at skinny jeans-clad teenagers in the Notting Hill Arts Club. Pig out on some of London's best gelato at Dri Dri, browse the stacks at Rough Trade Records and sit back in leather sofa luxury with a Peroni for a flick at the historic See more.

>Electric Cinema




         


This Neighbourhood Featured in...
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By Rebecca Katherine Hirsch
Rebecca is the lifeblood of Not For Tourists. The lynchpin that holds the unit intact, the polestar that guides the destiny of its guides. She only has one weakness: The ones who serve her.
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Posted By:  Lee Mannion
Photo:  Lee Mannion

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
One of the legacies of my University education was a pretty appalling memory, more down to my extra-curricular activities than cramming lots of facts into my brain. A trip to this museum was therefore refreshing, given the amount of 'Oh yeah, I remember those!' moments it triggered. Weirder recollections from somewhere back in my psyche included remembering that 'Imperial Leather' was my Dad's brand of talcum powder and incidentally, who uses that anymore? The man behind the collection is Robert Opie who must have been a nightmare to live with; in 1963, aged 16, he starting collecting and is now reckoned to have more than half a million items, 12,000 of which are here. You can just imagine the trips to Ikea for more storage can't you? Walking through the time tunnel, you can find everything from cans of Mock Turtle Soup (made from calves brains, head and feet to duplicate the texture of turtle meat apparently) to pre-kid Milky Bars. Sections are split into decades and the displays are densely packed to the point of being overwhelming but if there are some black holes in your history then a visit here might help fill in the blanks.



Posted By:  Lee Mannion
Photo:  Lee Mannion

Negozio Classica
We fell in here on a Saturday, not yet ready to call it a night after a bellyful of food elsewhere. Mindful that the table by the door was potentially annoying, we were then thoughtfully shepherded to armchairs at the rear of this winebar/deli hybrid by our heavily accented waiter. One whole wall of this place has shelves heaving with fine wines, cheeses, coffee and other produce that Italy is famed for. Happily, if you get the munchies while working your way through the booze, there's a menu of things you can pick at and they'll recommend something depending on which bottle you go for. Having had a few already on a warm evening, we wanted bubbles and were swiftly presented with two Proseccos to choose from, along with an explanation of the difference. The chairs and the soft lighting made it feel like we were in someone's home; the chatter of Italian all around us made it feel we'd been transported to the home of La Dolce Vita. The Italians obviously come here for a taste of home. Should you feel a craving for Italy and her many gustatory delights, so should you.



Posted By:  Justine Forrest
Photo:  Justine Forrest

Trailer Happiness
Portobello Road is teeming with bars and pubs, but Trailer Happiness distinguishes itself through its retro decor. The bar describes its style as being "mid-60s California valley bachelor pad" but it manages to achieve a retro look without straying in tacky Austin Powers territory. The walls are covered in dark wood panelling, adding to the cosy feeling of the small basement bar. There is also a fine collection of period art, featuring prints by J.H. Lynch and Tretchikoff, who even if you don't know the names, you will recognise their sultry painting of ladies. Lynch's most famous image "Tina" is proudly displayed in the toilets, marking the divide between the Ladies and the Gents. But enough of the decor, and onto the other key components of a great venue the drinks and the music. The bar has opted for a Tiki Lounge inspired cocktail menu with rum being the signature spirit. The vast choice of cocktails includes the "Zombie" which features 5 shots of rum and is sensibly limited to two per customer per evening. The service is at times a little slow, but that is a small gripe. The music is an eclectic mix of upbeat styles with a retro flavour in perfect keeping with the overall ambiance.



Posted By:  Lee Mannion
Photo:  Lee Mannion

Ruby & Sequoia
Portobello has pubs aplenty but if you fancy somewhere more glam for a stiff drink then head 2 blocks east to All Saints Road. A two-floored beast with a late licence, Ruby & Sequoia usually has a dressy crowd happily working through a long cocktail list. The dinner menu is short but simple fare is done to perfection; my well hung steak was spot on medium rare juicy while the confit duck was better than French brasserie standard. Boisterous at weekends (and any other night potentially) it's not the place to come to have a quiet chat. If you fancy getting on gladrags and going somewhere lively however, R&S is a cool place for high times with a good looking, up for it clientele.



Posted By:  Justine Forrest
Photo:  Justine Forrest

The Hummingbird Bakery
Sex and the City is probably to blame for the trend for fancy cupcakes. The Hummingbird Bakery has come from New York and landed on Portobello Road. Everything about the cafe looks sugary sweet with its cupcakes displayed in the windows and on the counters. They do sell pies and slices of cake too, but cupcakes are their main business. There are always vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, topped with butter cream in a host of pastel colours, as well as more exotic sounding varieties (like red velvet and black bottom). The cupcakes undoubtedly look beautiful but almost too good to eat, and I found the heaps of butter cream a bit too much. And then there is the price. The average price is around £2, which is quite a lot when you consider how cheap the raw ingredients are, and are you really going to go in and just buy one? A box of Hummingbird's cupcakes would make a wonderful gift, but if you are just looking to buy a cake for yourself, then there are cheaper and less gooey options available elsewhere.



Posted By:  Michael Kasparis
Photo:  Michael Kasparis

Manzara
It must be amazing being Turkish. From dominating Islam for hundreds of years to owning the post-psychedelic rock scene in the early 70s, Turkey rules. I'm convinced that the Ottomans, Ataturk and Erkin Koray (youtube him!) were all fueled by the awesome power of the Burek. Every time I wait in line at Manzara I breathlessly ogle the piles of oily bureks stacked behind the glass. On this pastry reverie I imagine myself a few inches tall, with each burek a huge double bed layered with cheese and spinach. I climb into a borek, lay out flat, and start slurping all around me, gorging myself to within an inch of a heart attack. The burek is the beating heart of Turkish civilization, and here on Pembridge Road you can immerse yourself in the best slab of Turkey this side of Istanbul (okay, maybe this side of Stoke Newington High Street but you get the picture.)



Posted By:  Michael Kasparis
Photo:  Michael Kasparis

Notting Hill Coronet
It's not as cool as the Electric on Portobello Road, nor as indie as the Gate next door, but the minute you shuffle into the Coronet's main screen you're overcome with a gorgeous sense of awe. There's probably a thesis written somewhere about the fake nostalgia you feel about an era you were never alive to witness, and it's places like this old Victorian theatre which do it me every time. At the risk of sounding like a wanky aesthete hooked on Cinema Paradiso-type purity I could go on about the independent values of the place: the community events, half price Tuesdays, claustrophobic ticket booth, et al. When it comes down to it though, if you have to watch Quantum of Solace (WTF?) then get to the Coronet 20 minutes early and just sit and stare on the balcony. I guarantee you'll enjoy the spectacular interior more than the nonsense on the screen.



Posted By:  Michael Kasparis
Photo:  Michael Kasparis

James Knight Of Mayfair
There are but few shopping truisms. One is that if you don't stop and stare at weird dead things in a shop window once in a while you are clinically dead from the neck up. James Knight's window display is a mix of every shlock gore film you can think of; huge Kruger crab legs with flesh spilling out the end, twitching Aliens in their deathroes and scores of corpses reeling you into the shop with their stenches. These guys are obsessed. What is it with fish people? Like the abnormally friendly Kiwi guy who serves me, fish people live, breathe, sleep and think these things. Mr. Kiwi knows so much about the sea bass he's selling me it seems he reared it himself from spawn, fed it plankton from his weathered seaman's hand and then struggled for 2 days to land it. He hands the fillets over like they were cut from his own flank. I'm so impressed by him, his jars of game fat and the pile of dead stuff on the way out that I don't realise I've pissed my weeks' wages up the wall.



Posted By:  Julia Dennison
Photo:  Julia Dennison

The Hummingbird Bakery
Ok, so we do have Peyton and Byrne right in the centre of London (as pointed out in a previous Radar), but now with the Hummingbird Bakery in South Kensington as well as Portobello Road, there is no excuse not to have the real stuff. For anyone who's seen Sex and the City and heard mention of the Magnolia Bakery in New York, this is London's answer to this cupcake haven. The American-style cakes at Hummingbird are perfectly delicate with drool-worthy buttercream icing, just like what your momma made, if you had a momma (most of you probably had mums, so may be less familiar with these items of baked comfort as your average cross-the-ponder). They don't just do cakes, but also have enough pecan, key lime and pumpkin pies to keep any American expat happy.





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