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.