A Walking Tour of One of London’s Finest Market Streets
At the top end of Portobello Road in Notting Hill is Golborne Road, one of London’s best market streets. I visit on Friday mornings, when antiques dealers and Moroccan food vendors line the street in front of the permanent shops, which belong to a mix of Moroccan and Portuguese butchers, bakers, fishmongers and, of course, more antiques dealers. Here, I’ll guide you through the Portobello Road area for your next Friday morning visit.
Caffeinate: Oporto and Lisboa
First, stop at one of these two rival Portuguese bakeries, situated across from each other at the far end of the street, for a milky coffee and a custard tart from Lisboa or a toasted ham-and-cheese croissant from Oporto.
Oporto, 62 Golborne Road, +44 20 8968 8839; Lisboa, 57 Golborne Road, +44 20 8968 5242
Start Early: Street Vendors
All the street vendors are there fairly early, before the actual shops open around 10 a.m., but there’s no need to rush there at dawn. The other day, I got a split bamboo chair that Tom Sheerer would approve of for only £8. I also found a pair of oval serving dishes, accented with a dark red edge, for only £4. The street vendors’ prices are worth the foraging.
Hit the Shops: Les Couilles du Chien
This is one of my two favorite shops on the street. (Bazar is the other.) A fresh inventory of Campbell’s soup cans currently fills the shop’s window. Inside, among the usual assortment of taxidermy, I recently spotted a pretty, candy-colored Venetian glass chandelier — a look I am loving at the moment.
65 Golborne Road, +44 20 8968 0099; lescouillesduchien.com
Find Furniture: Phoenix
Next door to Les Couilles du Chien is a good stop for scrubbed oak furniture and pretty pieces of china, including the sorts of jugs that look nice filled with flowers.
67 Golborne Road, +44 20 8694 8123; phoenixongolborne.co.uk
Dress the Fireplace: Arbon Interiors
Across the street from Phoenix is Arbon Interiors, which is the place to find a fire grate or mantelpiece. Recently, I even found a really pretty vintage Lunneville jug there.
80 Golborne Road, +44 20 8960 9787; arboninteriors.com
Stock Up: Bazar
Next door to Arbon Interiors is Bazar, a must-visit for all sorts of French bits and pieces. I bought lovely blue-and-white bistro plates the last time I was there, and I usually see old French cafe wine glasses, carafes and furniture.
82 Golborne Road, +44 20 8969 6262
Grab Lunch: Al fresco or Pizza East
The sidewalk is filled with fruit and vegetable stands. One tagine vendor offers a counter to pull up to for a quick seated lunch. Or grab a wood-oven pizza at Pizza East, a newer and fancier establishment opened by Nick Jones of Soho House.
Pizza East, 310 Portobello Road, +44 20 8969 4500; pizzaeastportobello.com
Shop for Fabric: Warris Vianni or the Cloth Shop
Near Pizza East is Warris Vianni, which is filled with rolls of sari fabrics and printed Indian cottons. Further down on Potrobello Road, the Cloth Shop is terrific source of French vintage sheets and grain sacks, in addition to dark green Lorraine jars from France and pale blue Ball jars from America.
Warris Vianni, 85 Golborne Road, +44 20 8964 0069 warrisvianni.com
The Cloth Shop, 290 Portobello Road, +44 20 8968 6001 theclothshop.net
Dress up: Soler
When you’re done shopping for the home, there’s this divine shop on Bevington Road (opposite Pizza East) full of the prettiest tops and dresses, most of which are made on site and all of which are perfect for summer.
88 Bevington Rd, +44 20 8968 4694; soler.co.uk
P.S.: It’s all there on a Saturday too, but so are the crowds. Friday morning is the time to go.