London Brunch: 202 Notting Hill

A funny thing happens when you don’t blog for months and months. You’ll be aimlessly scrolling through photos on your phone (in between mindlessly refreshing Facebook and obsessively curating your Spotify playlists), and stashed between selfies and screenshots of memes, stumble upon a forgotten set of photos, like a faint displaced memory. Since I’m currently wrapped in a duvet listening to Frank Sinatra, yearning for warm and easy summer days, I thought I’d reminisce a bit and take you with me to a dreamy brunch in Notting Hill.

Hungover, but keen to embrace the long London summer days and limbo period after classes end but before full-time work, my friend Halle and I set off in search of brunch. Another American, and sadly now back in the States, Hal is one of my best friends and a great exploring companion. She’s always up for trying a new restaurant, starting a conversation with strangers, or trekking through an unseen neighborhood, and I love her spontaneity and sense of adventure. On this day, we settled on Notting Hill and breakfast food – preferably in a picturesque setting. Not too difficult to find in this part of London.

Originally, we though we’d scope out Granger & Co, but the Notting Hill location was PACKED (pro-tip: always go early to the Notting Hill location), so we opted for a great alternative just down the road, 202.

In the heart of busy Westbourne Grove, 202 is easy to stroll by, but keep your eyes peeled for the namesake numbers and head in. On a sunny day like this one, the bright and modern space was particularly fitting.

Like Granger, there was a bit of a wait, but less overwhelming, and the queue is lined with Slim-Aarons-esque coffe table books to keep you entertained. You also might make a furry friend.

The vibe is decidedly casual, and you could show up in leggings and sneakers without shame. Packed with yummy mummies, foreign tourists and chilled out locals, 202 lacks pretension and is perfect for a no-nonsense brunch in a California cool space. I’m also just instantly smitten with any restaurant that has perfected eggs benedict….

Halle committed a cardinal brunch sin and ordered a salad, but quickly repented by adding on a side of crispy fries. The food doesn’t veer from the classics, but done well, they are always satisfying. Stuffed, but hangovers fading thanks to the healing powers of 202, we decided to traipse around Notting Hill. I mean, it’s really a London commandment: When in Notting Hill, thou shalt walk and photograph its Instagram friendly streets.

Enveloping us in its arms, the summer afternoon sun gave the shops an appreciative glow and almost distracted us entirely from the throngs of visitors along Portobello Road.

 

Notting Hill may have long ago completed its transformation from bohemian enclave to tourist destination, but it’s still worth a long, languorous visit. There are plenty of side streets lined with charming houses and scenic shops or brunch havens like 202 to escape the masses.

 

 

 

London Brunch: Ivy Chelsea Garden and Chelsea Wanderings

Recently, the London brunch queens decided to head west and pay homage to a very famous London brunch outpost – the Ivy Chelsea Garden. Buzzy, oft-instagrammed and sometimes filled with a celeb sighting or two – the Chelsea Garden is a member of the Ivy family of restaurants and probably it’s most hyped member. So, is it worth it?

Spoiler Alert: the short answer, is yes. Reasonably priced, yummy food, attentive service, and a beautiful and scene-y ambiance make the Ivy Chelsea Garden worth every bit of hype and winding through lines of tourists. I’d even make the pilgrimage out on the District/Circle line for it. That’s love. You may have to make your brunch reservation a month in advance, but have you seen the pink sofas and eggs benedict?

I had the classic while my friends went with the fancy lobster and trendy avocado. Much to the pleasure of my American sensibilities, they have a pot of filtered coffee on the menu with cream. It’s surprisingly very difficult to find classic coffee and cream (half and half) here in the UK, so I inhaled the stuff. Apologies for the lighting. The interiors are gorgeous in person but not the best for instagram food photography. Besides, nothing beats natural light….

The garden terrace tables don’t open until noon, so we missed out on enjoying the famous al fresco space. Once warmer summer weather hits, I will be sprinting to snag a table and sip rose all afternoon long on this patio. I was lovestruck by those seafoam chairs!

After we wandered around the garden and likely overstayed our welcome, we parted ways. I decided to take a detour from studying and explore more of Chelsea. In one of London’s most photogenic neighborhoods, I was not going to waste the fact that I had already made the commute.  Chelsea, and its residents did not disappoint.

I mean, it’s a rule if there’s a bicycle parked out front you have to take a photo, right?

The pastel hues of Lenox Garden Mews are fairly insta-famous, and their pink and lavender facades lived up to their notoriety.

Praise be to the Mercedes driver that parked their car so perfectly in front of this home. Classic London at its classiest and finest. Hate to see the price tag on the car or address.

If you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen this whimsical little porch already. Potted plants, pink facades and purple doors. So lovely. It’s on Bywater Street, and a definite visit for any photographers. Practically every house on that road is begging to be photographed.

Added Scalini to my list of London restaurants to try. Locals filtered in pretty regularly and that royal blue facade is enough to tempt me.

After exhausting my feet and appetite for photography (my phone memory was starting to wane as well), I decided to bid adieu to my fantasy Chelsea life. I’ll certainly be back once the summer sun returns, to sip pink cocktails in the garden and waste away another afternoon discovering more dream homes.

 

Linking Up With:

Wanderful Wednesday hosted by Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World. Click on the button below to check out more great travel content!

Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

London Brunch: Holborn Grind

This blog may seem brunch-obsessed recently (check out my breathtaking brunch at Sky Garden here – end shameless plug), but I just can’t get enough of the meal. London also can’t stop tempting me with new options, each with their own seductive play on eggs, dotted across the cityscape. While I do have other not-food-related content planned for this week, I wanted to first share this affordable brunch haven in the heart of central London. It’s perfect for those of us who can’t always make it rain at the likes of Sky Garden.

If you’re anywhere in London proper, chances are you’ll wander into a Grind location. Just around the corner from Holborn station and attached to the Hoxton Hotel, you’ll find an insta-worthy outpost of the chain – Holborn Grind.

Pink neon sign? I’m drawn like a moth to the flame.

This Grind location is pretty petite, so either come early to grab a table, or don’t plan on having a ton of space to sprawl out. A sprawling fan, I prefer this Grind for eating (and photographing), not studying or working.

While I usually visit Grind for their iced lattes and banana bread, this visit entailed a sampling of their brunch offerings, namely my nemesis: avocado toast.

But, Erin, how can you resist mother Earth’s two greatest creations, avocado and bread, united in one holy union? With eggs, no less!?

Well, my friends, turn me into a foodie pariah if you must, but I just don’t like avocado. Even guacamole or its photogenic beauty can’t win me over when it comes to this green temptress.

It had been quite some time since I’d given the green little devil another chance, so I figured no better time than the present. Worst case scenario, I’d be consoled with aesthetically pleasing photos of the taste test. I dared avocado toast to give me its best, and it came at me with guns blazing.

I mean…..come on!?!? How amazing does that look? Holborn Grind certainly knows its way around perfectly poached eggs and the dreamiest and creamiest looking avocado toast you’d have the pleasure of meeting. All washed down with their refreshing iced latte, of course.

Spoiler alert: I still don’t like avocados. Epic fail, I know. The toast wasn’t unpleasant and I loved the eggs, but I don’t think I’ll be so generously giving the little green guys another taste test soon.

At least the people watching and neighborhood facades were charming consolation prizes. And I can’t sip too much of the avocado haterade when I know it will help amass so many future Instagram likes. Social media over everything, right?

Speaking of Instagram – you MUST get a snap of this beauty in between sips of Grind’s delectable coffee:

A stylish neon quote adorns each Grind location, and this one is perfectly hot pink. While the Covent Garden location may have my favorite quote (it’s a David Bowie lyric!), Holborn’s sign still emanates a chic glow and is well worth the awkward hovering over cramped tables of British men. I somehow didn’t mind the loitering too much.

Definitely stop into this Grind the next time you’re in the Holborn area and want an affordable breakfast in a fashionable setting. If you’re into avocado toast, give that a go as well, or at least take a photo of it.

Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

 

London Brunch in the Clouds – Weekend Vlog

While waxing poetically about London brunch spots isn’t new to this piece of the internet, I thought I’d share this week’s breakfast-but-better outing in vlog format instead of my typical written style. It was quite the special occasion taking us to the height of London’s beauty, so I thought a video more befitting its visual splendor. The food was good, but not amazing, so I don’t have too many food porn shots to share with you, just breathtaking ambiance. Plus you get to see me squirm and act extremely awkward on camera – so it’s a win-win!

London Brunch: Daisy Green, Marylebone

After visiting our home kingdoms for the holidays, the London brunch queens were finally reunited this past rainy Sunday. To celebrate the end of our winter hiatus, we made our way to Marylebone to do what we do best – brunch and avoid studying. The London sky soaked us with a steady stream of cold drizzle, and I was feeling a major post-spinning and post-drinking-too-much-in-Shoreditch hangover, even several mornings after the fact. Frankly, I needed a cute brunch spot to brighten my day and fill my stomach ASAP.

Enter a new fave, Daisy Green. Just a few blocks north of Oxford Street, this Aussie cafe beguiles you from the rainy pavement. Who can resist a neon sign heralding a “Secret Garden Brunch?” Not me!

At first Daisy Green appears to be your run of the mill cafe, but sneak downstairs to enter the whimsical dining room to get your brunch fill. I never thought a basement could be so bright and bohemian garden-esque.

The space is small and adorned with charming touches like cotton-candy paper flowers and shiny streamers. They do take bookings, but luckily we were able to grab a table without a reservation.

Like most Australian cafes, the menu is mostly nutritious with dishes like corn and broccoli fritters, the full Aussie breakfast, eggs on charcoal toast, and shakshuka. Being me, I managed to find the one gluttonous dish on the menu, however, and tucked into the “fancy” bacon sandwich. I mean, there’s spinach, so it’s basically a salad, right?

It was delicious, and I regret nothing. My friend Riley had the decidedly more lean scrambled eggs on charcoal toast. I’m still not sure what charcoal toast is, but it looked cool?

I would definitely return this fanciful hideaway for another round. It’s centrally located, affordable, and has a delicious but not too over-indulgent menu. Plus, you’ll have ample opportunity to photograph its decor and delightfully photogenic facade. It certainly warded off my Sunday scaries. Do you have any London brunch spots I should try? I’m headed to a special one this weekend, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Shop my London rainy day essentials: