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: Granger & Co, Notting Hill

Today I miraculously managed to wake before noon all in the name of schlepping to West London for brunch. My new school friend Riley and I have bonded over our mutual love of the meal and have made a habit of trying a new place every weekend. What better excuse to explore London’s many neighborhoods than in the name of eggs, hotcakes, coffee, and sometimes (if we’re feeling frisky) a mimosa?

This morning we set our sights on Notting Hill, as we were both eager to find a reprieve from our many student nights out in hip, yet grimy East London.

Walking up from the bowels of the Underground, you’re immediately greeted by Notting Hill’s quirky and very chic charm. It isn’t quite Mayfair loud money vibes, but more of a granola, aging hippies with wealth atmosphere. You don’t get streets this pristine in Shoreditch, yet they still try to maintain the neighborhood’s bohemian character.

Notting Hill Street Facades Quirky Notting Hill Storefronts

I’d love to return soon for a drink at the iconic Beach Blanket Babylon or peruse the famous Portobello Market on a less tourist-heavy weekday.

Beach Blanket Babylon Notting Hill

It’s already freezing here, so I snuggled into this over-sized sweater from Asos. Warm enough so I don’t need to wear a coat yet, it’s my attempt at inserting more color into my almost all-black wardrobe. I attempted one of those blogger-favorite “stylishly stepping off the stairs of a townhome in London” shots, but I’m awkward and stuck to the selfies.

Notting Hill Street Style in Oversized Pink Sweater
Sweater (similar) // Jeans – super inexpensive  // Black booties – very comfortable // Bag

After spending way too much time taking photos of the temptingly photogenic shops and houses, I finally made my way to Westbourne Grove and Granger & Co, our chosen brunch haven for the morning. The queue builds up as early as 10AM, so make sure to go early or be prepared to wait!

Granger & Co, Notting Hill

Since I was running late, I luckily didn’t have to wait too long (sorry, Riley!), and we were quickly seated for feasting. Service was quick but not rushed, but also not overly warm. The menu is quite healthy (it’s founded by health-conscious Aussies), and they’re known for their whipped scrambled eggs and decidedly unhealthy ricotta hotcakes. Riley and I settled in and studiously browsed the menu.

Menu at Granger & Co, Notting Hill

We decided to order the iconic dishes (we’re timeless like that) and had eggs and toast for him and ricotta hotcakes for moi. I’m normally not huge on sweets for breakfast, but oh Lord this was worth it.

Brunch at Granger & Co Notting Hill

Have to shoot from above for that perfect #onthetable shot! Riley loved the toast and artfully whipped eggs. They were almost too pretty eat.

Breakfast at Granger & Co Notting Hill

The hotcakes were fluffy and came with banana, a touch of honeycomb and perfectly portioned syrup. I was a bit nervous they’d be too much like dessert, but the sweetness was spot-on, and oh did I savour every bite. If you make the pilgrimage to Granger, you cannot go wrong with the hotcakes. Feeling guilty, I also had a green juice on the side; it was refreshing and not too liquid salad tasting.

Ricotta Hotcakes at Granger & Co, Notting Hill

While Granger is becoming a tourist-favorite London brunch spot, I still recommend making a trip if you’re in town. Go early to avoid the queue, or visit one of their other locations, as you cannot book ahead. I’d still try the original Notting Hill outpost, as you can easily spend the whole day exploring the surrounding area. You know it’s worth the 40 minute tube ride if I’m satisfied enough to take a smug photo outside afterwards. Hours later, I’m still in a content hotcakes coma.

London Brunch at Granger & Co Notting Hill

Gift Guide: The Anglophile

Do you have a friend who, like me, is obsessed with all things British? Did they host a Royal Wedding party or have they watched Bridget Jones 100 times? Do they have a Union Jack tattoo, swear they’re destined to end up with Prince Hary and tear up at God Save the Queen? This gift guide is perfect for that Anglophile in your life – who, like me, is an American yearning to be a little bit more of a Londoner.


1. This coffee table book “London: Portrait of a City” is a classic with beautiful photography chronicling London from the Victorian age to the present.
2. A cute London city scene pillow from Pottery Barn.
3. Tea straight from the storied Fortnum and Mason. This British department store has a legendary tea room, and luckily for us Yanks (god I’m embarrassing), it’s available online. I don’t even really like tea, yet I still want some of the pretty packaging.
4. A UNION JACK FRAMED PHOTO OF A CORGI.
5. Notting Hill. I meannnn, come on, it’s Hugh Grant at his most self deprecating and charming. There go my ovaries.
6. Some tube station artwork. I may be romanticizing London (guilty), but I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed public transportation until I rode the underground.
7. “Born at Buckingham Palace” tee from Wildfox. I wish.
8. Some classic Hunter Wellies. I even bought Wellies when I lived in LA during an EXTREME drought. I eventually came to my senses and returned them, but they’re that chic.
9. A Temperley London candle set from Caroline Stanbury’s (the best lady on Ladies of London) Gift Library of course.

Not included: a first class ticket and London and visa to stay as long as I’d like – a girl can dream.