A couple of Mondays ago, I decided to seize the moment (that being, an afternoon with nothing planned) to go and do a bit of exploring in one of my new neighbourhoods. I headed towards Westbourne Park tube and then, as advised by The Londoner on her blog, made my way to Westbourne Grove….except, my phone took me left where the bit of Westbourne Grove she speaks about is to the right – never to mind though as I made it up on the way back.
The first place of interest that I passed was The Oak, which again I’ve read about on Rosie’s blog but it was closed for refurbishment. Not to worry as I have a little time to try out the numerous West London haunts that I have my eyes (and belly) on. I wasn’t taking notes, and I really should have been as I passed so many interesting looking places. As I was only a week into the move my mind wasn’t quite with it. I happened upon a Planet Organic, which I was very pleased about as there were a number of things that I wanted to buy that were more Planet Organic-y than co-op-y.
I don’t think you really get a sense for a place until you walk, bike or drive it and I have to say I was so interested to see how this part of London fits together. I hadn’t really appreciated how central this area was but with a right turn off Westbourne Park Grove I found myself on Queensway (it is slightly confusing round here as Bayswater tube seems to be on Queensway and Queensway tube is, more or less, on Bayswater!). I bolted through Whiteleys, finding it lacklustre and soulless, and continued up Queensway where, just beyond the tube on the left-hand side of the road, there is a brilliant Cost Cutter – it’s an Oriental supermarket jam packed with all sorts of enticing looking products. I will definitely be heading back there soon. Not being quite sure of how far away home was, without just turning back on myself, I decided it would be best to turn right into Bayswater and do a big U. This is where my son went to school for his A-levels, so I had by now found my bearings slightly. I pootled along with Hyde Park to my left for a very short while and then marvelled, once again, at finding myself at Notting Hill Gate and….a most magnificent sighting
Difficult to tell in this photo but, there is a group of people to the back of the shop tucking into a spaghetti dish they had just whipped up at the cookers in the centre.
Don’t these meringues look delicious – just like pastel candy coloured figs. YUM.
I just had a quick look round and though I’d already planned to check out the classes and to return to try out the café this post by Rachel Phipps has convinced me that I must. If any of you have seen Jamie’s American food crusade shows, this places seems rather like the centre that he set up to teach people how to cook. I mean, this probably isn’t news to you, and as a bit of a Jamie Oliver fan, I really ought to know about the Recipease concept..tut tut.
I’d started my walk quite late in the afternoon and it was, by now, getting on somewhat so I thought it would be best to head homewards. Walking along Pembridge Road, just at the point where the road forks and to my left, I spied a nice looking pub – The Prince Albert – which I note from their website, has a small theatre upstairs. I took the right fork and carried on along Pembridge Road which was dotted with small shops, some interesting and others not so much. There were a handful of secondhand/designer vintage shops – Retro Man and Retro Woman and an odd looking pizzeria (mainly because it had half a car sticking out of one of its interior walls and..come to think of it, I’d already passed a branch on Westbourne Grove) called Arancina. I finally got back to Westbourne Park Road but, hearing home calling me – as I’d somehow managed to fail to have a coffee anywhere (though I’d not been short of opportunities) I pressed on apace.
I ended up stopping off and having a coffee, just before Westborne Park tube, at a PUB no less! Honestly, with all the coffee and cake opportunities I had on my walk, I can’t believe that I ended up having one in a pub. I only just made it in time though as they stopped serving coffee at 6pm and I got my order in with about a minute to spare. Oh yes, I also got a tap water. Heh heh. Oh dear, must try harder. I’ve walked past The Metropolitan on football evenings and it has been packed with, mostly men, clutching pints, staring in the direction of the screens. I wasn’t sure then, if this was really a boys’ boozer but I needed a blinkin coffee and a sit down. The bar staff were really sweet and I felt completely comfortable going in there on my own.