Ok, I know I’ve been here in London for a few years now, but I still feel as if I’m just scraping the surface of all this city has to offer. Today was one of those days that gave me a little extra spring in my step as I discovered a new neighborhood, Goldborne, just a 15 minute walk from our flat, near Notting Hill. This area is in the shadow of the famous and hideously ugly Trellik Tower – a council block of flats that reminds me of my days back in the USSR – and it has none of the fussy, upstanding, cuteness of the nearby posh neighborhoods. The scruffy urban feel of this particular street fondly reminds me of the up and coming areas I like going to in East London, but without the long tube ride and annoying hipsters. It’s got an older crowd (or it did today) and that is reflected in the mix of high and low end shopping and dining.
My friend Luna and I poked around in the various antiques and salvage shops, picked through rails of vintage clothes and found quite a few new items that we both were hoping we might win the lottery and come back for post haste! On Saturdays it appears that quite a few market hawkers set up stalls on the street. I bought 9 globe artichokes for £3 (at a shop that shall remain unnamed not too far from here they go for £3 EACH). There’s a very promising looking fishmonger, again with reasonable prices and an impressive looking Halal butcher. These just the stand-outs among many nameless storefronts selling huge bags of rice and couscous and spices and vats of exotic sauces. It’s sort of like Costco without the annoying membership fee and warehouse atmosphere and….ok, well, it’s nothing like it, but you know where I was going. Queues popped up along the sidewalks in front of the few lunch stalls – lots of BBQ’d meats and fish. Given that it was a lovely day (by London standards for February) it wasn’t even that crowded, especially compared to what I know was going on just down Portobello Road a few blocks away – shoulder to shoulder jostling through the narrow streets to look at crap that I still can’t figure out who buys.
Finally, we had made the rounds and stopped in at Bluebelles Cafe (https://www.facebook.com/BluebellesCafe?ref=ts&fref=ts). A lovely selection of sandwiches and pastries and bread were on display at the counter where we placed our order. They have delicious coffee and the eggs benedict I ate was just perfect – Luna enjoyed her goat cheese salad. They also offer French toast, scrambled eggs, lots of different salads, soups and sandwiches. It was the perfect stopping off point after a delightful shopping excursion. There were lots of other restaurants in the neighborhood that caught my eye though and I will most definitely be heading back. Galicia, a Spanish tapas restaurant at the very end of Portobello Road, looks very intriguing, as does a Persian place called Anar Persian Kitchen and Mexican spot called Santo. Oh, and there was a pizza place called Pizza East that looks like it will be fantastic to eat at once the weather warms up a bit and we can enjoy the sidewalk seating. Lots and lots of new places to explore in the coming months. And I’m saving up for the vintage Pucci shirt I found in Relik at the end of the road! Don’t you just love days like this?