Goode & Wright, Portobello

Portobello shoppers will rejoice upon discovering Goode & Wright, a brilliant brunch hang-out in Notting Hill. Westbourne Grove has plenty of options for mid-morning meals, but on Portobello Road it is trickier to find food indoors. I usually grab a snack from the street vendors at the market but last Saturday I was very happy to take a seat at Goode & Wright and indulge in their comfort food.

We squeezed in between the hungry diners and began perusing the menu. The restaurant describes itself as ‘a French bistro with a British twist’, the decor mimics a Parisian eatery with lovely panelling and simply dressed wooden tables; the menu features some classic British flavours. The restaurant was packed and hopeful latecomers were turned away at the door.

I immediately spotted several of my favourite ingredients on the menu: avocado, bacon, parmesan… it was impossible just to choose one dish, so I chose two! Luckily I’d been for a run that morning so my guilt was eased. For a savoury course, I ordered the brioche roll with bacon, avocado and tomato and for ‘sweet’ the Gypsy toast (French toast) with maple bacon and grilled tomatoes. My guest opted for the Austrian inspired Buttermilk chicken schnitzel with avocado and salad. It was all delicious, fresh from the kitchen and smelling divine. The brioche was soft and fluffy with grilled crispy, salty bacon and creamy avocado, I asked for a helping of mayo which complemented the dish. The chicken received a rave review from my guest, a giant flattened chicken breast covered in an irresistible coating. French toast is increasingly hard to find on London breakfast menus so I was delighted to spot it at G&W; the portion size is huge and the combination of sugary thick eggy bread and bacon makes for an indulgently tasty treat.

I was disappointed to hear fresh juice is not available here, so instead ordered a milky flat white, which arrived lukewarm. Despite these minor drawbacks, I thought the food was filling and fabulous, and the service speedy and friendly. A feast here will fuel an afternoon of searching for bargains in the market or just provide a cosy venue for a weekend meal with a friend.

More information and book here.

Boom Burger, Portobello

The burger craze seems to be unstoppable and now West London is muscling in on the action. With the Caribbean population hosting the Notting Hill  carnival every August, it seems fitting to find Boom Burger in Portobello. The place instantly exudes the laid back Caribbean vibe, with reggae music blasting from the speakers and a Jamaican reminiscent red, green and yellow sign. Inside, the place is little more than a takeaway cafe although the food very much proves its value to London’s most famous market street.

As I learnt on my trip to St Lucia and Grenada, rum punch is more popular than water as a refreshing thirst quencher. We were treated to Boom Burger’s version as an aperitif as soon as we sat down. Alongside the punch a deep maroon Sorrel (a Caribbean fruit) drink was less recognisable, I winced at the first sip but soon began to enjoy the acquired sour taste.

Greasy and delightful starters arrived in coloured plastic baskets… Jerk chicken wings coated in a thick aromatic spicy and salty marinade and soft and fragrant fish cakes. Both were delicious, though we particularly enjoyed the tender flavoursome wings – they would make the perfect snack to munch on while wandering round the stalls of the market.

As recommended we tried a Boom burger and a Jerk boom, a chicken variety with an exceptionally sweet mango and pawpaw sauce. Both were delicious and the meat was of noticeably fine quality. The beef was coarsely ground and assembled into a messy patty with sloppy melted cheese and bacon. The chicken was great too – a successful alternative to the classic beef burger, the contrast of the salty chicken and peppery rocket, fruity fried plantain and extra sweet sauce was a marvel.

It can be stressful trying to find a filling and flavoursome snack in a busy marketplace… Portobello sellers and buyers will be grateful for this top notch Caribbean burger shack.

More information here: boomburger.co.uk

Golborne Place, Notting Hill

Golborne Road, though initially tricky to find… is a treasure-filled street, with characterful cafes, quirky fashionable shops and a rowdy market scene. I was delighted to be visiting Golborne Place, a little venue which describes itself as an ‘urban escape’ providing classes and treatments to inspire body and mind, encouraging a happier and healthier lifestyle for all.

Director Monica Zamora opened Golborne Place as a centre for healing and relaxing.  She is a former principal dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet but retired when she broke her foot. It was a devastating injury but Monica discovered Gyrotonic, a holistic form of exercise that enhances health and fitness. Golborne Place offers one-on-one Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis classes and lessons.

There are also a wide variety of therapists available offering specialist techniques to ensure you receive a treatment that will improve your health and fitness. I received a heavenly holistic massage with Amy Moffat. After a full tour of the building I went through to the small treatment room upstairs. Amy chatted to me briefly about my needs and strains understanding how she could remedy my aches and pains.

I felt completely relaxed almost immediately when lying down on the massage bed and soon fell into a light doze. Amy released tension in my upper back systematically kneading the knots and balancing the body. Amy’s massaging aims to help all of the body systems to work at their optimum level, giving particular attention to areas that show physical and emotional strain. After the hour I felt totally peaceful but re-energised.

Golborne Place is a calming sanctuary away from the hubbub and chatter of the Portobello excitement. I’m hoping to return soon to try out a ballet class, though I am tempted by everything they offer!

More information here: http://www.golborneplace.com/