Jessica Yolanda Kaye’s Insider Guide To London's Notting Hill

Jessica Yolanda Kaye’s Insider Guide To London's Notting Hill

Former Sydneysider Jessica Yolanda Kaye shares her favorite haunts around the west London neighborhood she has called home for the past five years — including antique frame spots, the best coffee, and cozy pubs.

/ Kate

“I grew up in Sydney, which I’m incredibly grateful for because it’s unlike any other pocket of the world. Matteo and I lived in Bondi Beach, and we would start our days with a walk and a swim before work. It's magical, so most people never leave, but we wanted to step outside our comfort zone and explore more of Europe. Matteo’s family is Italian and mine is Hungarian, so we took advantage of our passports and made the move.

In truth, I struggled to connect with London as a city at first. I loved the exhibitions and the parks, but I found the city overwhelmingly big. Walking down Portobello early one morning, though, as the markets were being set up, and then onto Holland Park, with its tunnel of trees, I fell in love. So, I traded my Bondi bubble for a Notting Hill one — and we’ve lived in London for over five years now.

My favorite time in Notting Hill is first thing in the morning. It’s so picturesque, it looks like a movie set, but it’s a village filled with market vendors and locals who have lived there forever — especially in Ladbroke Grove, where we live. Our home is filled with vintage pieces—a 70s Italian sofa which Matteo found on Facebook marketplace (in Rome), Finnish dining chairs, and lots of art. The best part about it, though, is the view. A big weeping willow tree which consumes the garden. It’s a mess but it’s beautiful.

Notting Hill is more than pastel terraces and crowds; it’s a mix of old and new. It’s a diverse tapestry—beautiful and gritty at the same time.

Food & Drink

What’s the first thing you do when you get home/return to Notting Hill?

A coffee at Hagen, a walk through Holland Park, and a visit to my art studio.

Best spot for a morning coffee to go?

“Without a doubt, Hagen — a Danish coffee shop off Westbourne Grove. I’m an Australian coffee snob, but their cappuccinos are perfect. And if you ask, they sprinkle on freshly shaved dark chocolate.”

And if you want pastries?

“A pain au chocolat or choc-chip cookie from Layla, a chocolate and hazelnut bun from Buns From Home or banana bread from Kuro Bakery.”

What about a long brunch or lunch on the weekend?

“The best brunch in Notting Hill is at Granger & Co but I avoid it on weekends because of crowds, instead opting for a table outside at Lowry and Baker or the courtyard at Tin Shed. Nothing beats brunch in our garden, though—eggs and soldiers with vegemite, sourdough from Fabrique, eggs and butter from Pastella & Butler’s.”

Best place for wine or an aperitif?

“On a sunny afternoon, there is no better spot than Golborne Deli.”

And a pub session?

The Pelican or The Cow.”

Where do you go for a romantic dinner in the area?

“Matteo and I have a soft spot for Meditteraneo, a little Italian trattoria—big bowls of pasta and a carafe of red wine. Or, for something special—the nigiri at Sumi, from sushi master Endo Kazutoshi.”

What are your favorite cuisines to eat when you go out? And where do you go locally to get them? (i.e for sushi and Korean)

The best restaurants are often the unassuming ones right under your nose—those spots you walk past every day, maybe overlooking them for one reason or another, yet, surprisingly, they have the most delicious food. Lately, my neighbourhood finds include Fez Mengal for Turkish cuisine, Bibida for Korean bibimbap, and Portobello Garden for authentic Italian.

Where do you go for a cocktail/nightcap?

Electric House.”

What if you wanted to go out dancing?

“Electric House! Or back at our place…”

Shopping

Where do you go antique hunting?

“One of my favorite spots in Notting Hill is Lacy Gallery, which has been run by the same family since 1960. It has one of the largest collections of antique and vintage frames, with three floors filled with stacks and stacks of exquisite ones. I recently picked up a dusty pink ‘Montparnasse frame’ from Paris in the ‘30s.”

And furniture?

“The best furniture is on Golborne Road, which has a mix of mid-century modern and more eclectic vintage pieces. I love strolling through the markets on a Friday morning, hunting for bric-a-brac — be it a vase or a bowl. Our most recent acquisition was a stone mortar and pestle for £8. For interiors inspo or a splurge, 44 Golborne has some great reupholstered designer vintage pieces.”

What about if you’re looking for clothes?

“I don’t shop much but when I do, I tend to seek out quality pieces I’ll want to live in for years. My first port of call is Couverture & Garbstore, which has brands like YMC and Rejina Pyo, or Rellik for well-priced, high-end vintage.”

And any other bits?

“I tend to buy flowers from Floral Studio on Portobello Road. For books, I can’t help but pop my head into Luytens & Rubenstein when I walk past. And my most recent obsession are the hazelnuts from Pastella & Butler’s, produced by a Piemonte family that has been making hazelnuts for three generations.”

Matteo and I also spend half our weekends zigzagging between delicatessens, markets, and bakeries, picking up specific ingredients. Most people would find it mad and wildly impractical but we love it. Figs and parmesan from Natoora, a baguette from Maison Pujet, yogurt from Notting Hill Fish shop, chocolate ice cream from Melt… the list goes on!”

What to See & Do

Where do you go when you want to feel inspired?

“I am most inspired walking through the tunnel of trees in Holland Park. It doesn’t matter what time of year— it’s always different and always breathtaking. In spring, it’s covered in cherry blossoms, in autumn it’s flooded with golden leaves. For me, nothing beats a long walk.”

What is a touristy thing that’s still a must?

“A pastel de nata from Lisboa Patisserie.”

Favorite local cinema?

Electric Cinema is very charming, with its high ceilings and plush red velvet thrones. Matteo and I will go to Miznon for a falafel before our movie, and finish with gelato from 3bis. It’s the perfect date.”

Where do you go for an art gallery fix?

“There are lots of little independent galleries in Notting Hill, but I’m constantly inspired by the exhibitions at the Serpentine Galleries in Hyde Park. The bookshop is excellent.”

Wellness

Where do you go for a workout class in the neighborhood?

“I love starting my day at Love Supreme Projects, a yoga studio with the most incredible light and high ceilings — it’s Stella McCartney’s former office — or pilates at Heartcore on Uxbridge Street.”

Best place to get a massage or a facial?

Skin Glow for a hydra-facial with Simona.”

And to get your nails done?

Kem.”

Where to Stay

If friends are visiting, where do you tell them to stay locally?

“Either at the Laslett, The Princess Royal, or at us!”