7.20pm // Notting Hill
Find the Baker Street tube station and take the Hammersmith & City Line from there to Ladbroke Grove. But before you do so, look around for some fun Sherlock Holmes murals. After all, this is where our favorite fictional detective resides.
Once you got off the train at Ladbroke Grove, you are in Notting Hill. And at yet another pop-culture landmark. It’s easy to see why the famous romantic comedy featuring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant was set here – it’s just so beautiful and romantic.
Take a stroll down Portobello Road, and you can see the markings of the stalls of the famous street market on the pavement. No worries, you didn’t miss out by skipping this market, it’s overrun by tourists and some people claim it has lost a bit of its charm lately. (For our recommendations for other markets, have a look at our 12hrs in East London guide!).
But Notting Hill still is super charming and lovely. Walk down some side streets, and you’ll see pastel colored houses and perfectly groomed gardens. If you feel for some more (window) shopping, consider these short recommendations.
Couverture and The Garbshop offer some nice clothes. Couverture on the ground level is for the ladies, The Garbshop downstairs caters to the men. They stock great heritage labels there.
Books for Cooks is for everybody who loves cookbooks just as much as we do. They sell every cookbook you can think of, from current bestsellers to editions of very obscure local cuisines from all over the world.
Then there is of course the famous Hummingbird Bakery, which single-handedly can be thanked (or blamed) for the cupcake craze that invaded Britain some years ago. Their American treats are really sweet – and really, really tasty.
Couverture & The Garbstore // 188 Kensington Park Road // Mon-Sat 10am-6pm // website
Books for Cooks // 4 Blenheim Crescent // Tue-Sat 10am-6pm // website
Hummingbird Bakery // 133 Portobello Road // Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 9am-6.30pm, Sun 11am-5pm // website
7.20pm // Electric Dinner
Time for dinner! Instead of wandering around even more, let’s stay in the neighborhood and enjoy one of the fun places to eat here. Electric Diner is adjacent to one of London’s oldest movie theaters (if you have a night to spare in London, definitely go there!).
It’s charming, and cozy, and a spot where lots of locals eat. The menu features French and American staples, and the chefs in the open kitchen elevate these classic dishes to something modern and very tasty. Their honey-fried chicken with chilli and sesame seeds is great, as is the roasted bone marrow with beef cheek marmelade. At the bar, you can choose between 19 different beers from all over the world and tons of other options, so kick back and relax a bit.
Electric Diner // 191 Portobello Road // Mon-Wed 8am-12am, Thu-Sat 8am-1am, Sun 8am-11pm // website
Pictures // Electric Diner
9pm // Opium
We’ve crossed London from the South bank of the Thames to Notting Hill, just this one time, let’s jump in one of those pretty black cabs and let’s end this long day on a comfortable note.
Let the cabbie drive you right into the middle of Chinatown, you’re in for one last treat. On Gerrard Street, between Beijing ducks and waving lucky cats, there is a jade green door in one building. Knock on it, and wait a moment.
The (very big and very friendly!) bouncer will open the door for you, and he will tell you to go up the stairs all the way to the Tea Parlor. On your way, you’ll pass signs saying “The Academy” and “The Apothecary”, and if you glimpse inside there, you’ll spot an abundance of Chinese medicine bottles filled with liquids.
Upstairs, a member of the staff will lead you to your table and hand you Opium’s extensive drink menu. They also serve Dim Sum, but since we’ve already eaten, let’s just focus on the cocktails. That’s why we are here, anyway.
Every member of the bartending staff created one of the specialty cocktails on the menu. They all feature one different, main spirit, and are mixed with homemade syrups and unusual Chinese ingredients. Some of the drinks arrive at your table in the medicine bottles we saw on or way up, some of them are poured into cauldrons for you or sprayed with fresh rose-water before you can taste them. If you can, pick one of the ‘smoking’ cocktails, if only for the funny sensation.
Lean back in the cozy seats, enjoy your cocktail, and rewind. You’ve just spent 12hrs in London!
Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour // The Jade Door, 15-16 Gerrard Street // Mon/Tue 5pm-12am, Wed 5pm-1am, Thu 5pm-2am, Fri/Sat 5pm-3am,
if you want to make sure to get a table, just book one via their website // website
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