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Hot on the heels of the very first, sold-out Supper Club Social on 15th November, personal holistic chef Sarah Sugden is hosting another special supper club event in Notting Hill next Friday 12th December.

The Peruvian themed evening – named Peruvian Nights dos – will see diners once again having the opportunity to sample some tasty Latin American specialities in a private dining room in our local area.

The Supper Club Social

The evening will comprise a Pisco cocktail plus a six course tasting menu for all diners; this will include four ‘Ceviche & Tierra’ options, followed by a sorbet and a dessert.

Come down to feast on sea bass ceviche; sweet potato and coriander causa (a type of potato cake) with beetroot and coconut; salmon with yellow aji pepper, mina mint corn and cress; and asparagus with red quinoa, smoked curd and herb flowers. Clean your palate with the physalis, pisco, lemon and mint ‘sorbete’ and finish off the evening with a delicious-sounding lucuma, almond and coconut cake with honey and passionfruit. Sounds simply amazing, doesn’t it?

Sarah Sugden works as a personal holistic chef in London (with clients including a number of high-profile personalities based in Europe and the US) and runs her own cooking and catering company SomethingfromSarah. The Social Supper Club events showcase Sarah’s style of cooking – one that’s fresh and vibrant, involving creative yet unfussy preparation.

Tickets for the Supper Club Social cost £40 per person, and can be booked via somethingfromsarah.com. The location of the evening will be revealed on booking!

The first supper club in November was a sell-out, so make sure you snap up tickets quick. This is a wonderful opportunity to take part in a social evening out, as well as sampling the tasty treats of Peru – which are very tasty indeed!

The Supper Club Social – Peruvian Nights dos
Friday 12th December 2014
Secret location in Notting Hill
somethingfromsarah.com

Where has the last year gone? I certainly remember last year’s Carnival as if it were yesterday…but yet it’s already Carnival time once again!

That’s right, this Sunday and Monday – 24th and 25th August – Notting Hill’s streets will be packed to the brim with the revellers, soundsystems, jerk chicken stalls, Red Stripe sellers…and the Carnival procession too! And then, of course, once each day is done and dusted, it’s time for the legendary Carnival after-parties to get going…

Notting Hill Carnival 2013
Last year’s Carnival

Time Out, as ever, has a great guide to the Carnival which you can see here – there’s the route map, Carnival tips to help those that have never been and an essential guide to Carnival after-parties…as well as warm-up parties! The print edition of the magazine also has a six-page guide, including a feature on the steel bands of the event, a look at the parade’s colourful costumes and other useful tips that will come in handy to those attending. Given that Time Out’s free, it’s well worth picking up a copy. (Try local newsagents which should still have some lying around.)

VisitLondon also has useful and fun section on the Notting Hill Carnival – including a very useful area map that not only shows the procession route, but also displays helpful Underground information. There’s also more on their Notting Hill Carnival pages, which also include information on Notting Hill and Portobello Road in general.

The Evening Standard has a great line-up of Carnival parties that are taking place over the whole Bank Holiday weekend if you really want to get into the Carnival spirit.

Rinse’s Rough But Sweet Soundsystem

Celebrating twenty years since their first transmission as a pirate radio station on this very August Bank Holiday weekend, Rinse will be hosting a Carnival soundsystem for the very first time. In partnership with London streetwear brand Boxfresh – who themselves are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year – the Rough But Sweet Soundsystem will be on the corner of Hazelwood Crescent and Bosworth Road, W10. Rinse has grown from a small set set of friends sharing tracks inspired them into a radio station that transmits innovative music; the soundsystem will be live on Rinse and is the first of a programme of birthday celebrations that will culminate in Rinse – Late at Tate Britain.

Notting Hill Carnival - Rinse

The Rough But Sweet line-up – featuring everything from grime to basement and bass to soul  – includes Katy B, Chase & Status, Tinashe, Route 94, Skream, Bicep, Becky Hill, Metalheadz, Ms Dynamite, P Money and many, many more – head down (or tune in!) to celebrate with Rinse.

For a sneak preview and to get you in the mood, check out this amazing track by Katy B, who’s released this just in time for Carnival: https://soundcloud.com/katyb/littleredlight

Top Notting Hill Carnival Tips

Don’t bother trying with any of the Underground stations actually in the area – they’ll either be closed, operating a one-way system or insanely over-crowded. Try Bayswater (Circle & District) or Holland Park which aren’t too far a walk away. Many roads (e.g. Westbourne Grove) will be closed, so it’s easy to get around. TFL have a useful page on transport to and from the Carnival.

Yes…Carnival will be crowded. Ridiculously so in some places. (e.g. The junction of Great Western Road and Westbourne Park Road is always something of a major bottleneck.) If you see a massive crush of people – no doubt trying to push past each other in all directions – consider stepping back and trying to find another route around, especially if you get a little nervous with large crowds.

THE SOUNDSYSTEMS ARE LOUD. Don’t stand too close to them, because your ears will be ringing for days on end. I SAID, YOUR EARS WILL BE…oh, forget it.

Everyone and his mate will be selling soft drinks/cans of Red Stripe/bottled water from front steps, street corners etc. They’re fine to buy from! But it’s probably an idea to bring your own water along, at least to start with.

If you want to get the vibe of the Carnival but don’t mind which day you go on, DEFINITELY go to Carnival on Sunday (officially, Children’s Day). It’s a bit less crowded, the soundsystems will still be in full swing, and you can pretty much experience everything. Plus, the kids really are very cute with their amazing costumes!

DON’T drink too much. Please. I’ve seen many a reveller passed out in some doorway by mid-afternoon (!). Yes, it’s a bank holiday. Yes, it’s fun. But then you’ll just be making some nice St John’s Ambulance people tend to a drunken fool. And doorways aren’t exactly comfy!

On a related note…you’ll need the loo at some point, yeah? There are some toilets and urinals set up on site, and you’ll also see local residents offering their own loo facilities (for a charge!). But bear in mind the whole ‘loo situation’ is a bit like a festival.

See you all at Carnival!

We here at The Guide to Notting Hill are very sad to hear that one of the institutions of the Notting Hill nightlife scene – blagclub – is shutting its doors next month after 14 (count ’em!) very full and fun years.

blagclub

Determined to go out with a bang, blagclub are determined to keep the party going strong until they depart the area, with their very last night on the 20th September. They’re also surely the place to keep the party going after Carnival (which is this coming weekend, in case you’d forgotten!), so make sure you head down for their last ever Carnival celebration in Notting Hill.

blagclub

Since it opened in 2001, blagclub Notting Hill became something of a pioneer of the intimate, small-club scene, especially at a time when super-clubs where all the rage. Offering up a bespoke service in a funky setting – but without the over-inflated prices of other places – blagclub was home to many a fun night for so many people over the years.

If you’d like to book a table or space for the Carnival weekend or at any time over the next month, please contact the bar directly on 020 7243 0123 or email info@blagclub.com.

blagclub

To find out more about blagclub’s closing, please see their newsletter, or check out their website for a sneak peek at their recent stylish refurb!

Keep the party going at blagclub Holland Park!

Don’t forget that the Holland Park venue is still very much around and will be keeping the party spirit strong in the future! With that venue also undergoing an exciting refurbishment soon, it will be the place to go to for a lively night out in the local area.

blagclub
First Floor
68 Notting Hill Gate
W11 3HT
www.blagclub.com

I was very pleased to be able to try out Notting Hill Kitchen earlier this week – the Spanish/Portuguese restaurant that is home to an equally smart tapas and cocktail bar too – for some delicious Iberian cuisine.

Notting Hill Kitchen

Notting Hill Kitchen

Housed in a rather impressive building (once upon a time converted from three Edwardian townhouses, no less) on Kensington Park Road just south of Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill Kitchen is a very welcoming space, something that’s matched by the attentiveness and friendly nature of the staff. It’s the restaurant’s bar area that you come to first upon entering, somewhere where you can perch up on the stools around the bar or by the high tables to settle in for a night of cocktails and tapas. And that’s how we started our night!

Sampling some of the most popular choices from the tapas menu – the spider crab, mini lamb burger and the ham and sour dough – I also chose the Black Cherry Cocktail as an accompaniment for the full tapas ‘n’ drinks experience; I was rewarded with an expertly made cocktail that went perfectly with our tapas.

Notting Hill Kitchen
Spider crab

All the tapas options are presented on rather smart black slates, making eating here a rather sleek affair! First to arrive was the spider crab in brioche buns which, with their rather round shape, were almost reminiscent of whoopee pies in presentation. Succulent chilled crab sandwiched in-between soft rolls – were this not tapas, I could have happily eaten more of these. In fact, it was only out of politeness that I stopped myself from devouring these whole, instead slicing them up politely. Next to arrive was the mac abrito (lamb mini-burger) which came as a decently sized burger patty with toppings of cucumber and coriander, complementing it well. Finally, we rounded things off with the tiborna, thin slices of ham draped over a half moon shape toasted sourdough slice, with bone marrow and a drizzle of truffle oil.  In many ways, this felt like the most authentic tapas option we tried – I could imagine eating this perched at some seaside bar in Spain having a cold cerveza and watching the world go by.

Notting Hill Kitchen
Tiborna
Notting Hill Kitchen
Mac abrito and tiborna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then moved on to sit in the restaurant proper, which we had already snuck a few glances at from our position in the bar. Although you can see the expansive space from outside, it’s still a surprise to see quite how large the restaurant area is once you enter. With muted greens, little decorative touches in and around the tables  and plenty of wood detail throughout, it’s a relaxed but joyful setting for a meal.

Having already enjoyed the tapas a little too much, we skipped starters and went straight for mains. (Tapas options are also available as a starter in the restaurant proper.) I opted for the bacalhau com caldeirada – slow cooked cod – whilst my dining partner chose the mano a mano, confit pork cheek and ox tail, which was wonderfully presented with large roasted red onion slices and parsnip crisps. Pleasingly – unlike so many other places these days – mains do come with a decent side offering on the plate too, although there is of course a small selection of proper side dishes available as well.

Notting Hill Kitchen
Mano a mano
Notting Hill Kitchen
Bacalhau com caldeirada

My cod was wonderfully tender and fell apart easily when eating, its slow cooked nature really apparent. Caldeirada is a Portuguese fish stew, so the cod was set in a kind of broth that provided a delicate hint of the traditional dish. The side of kale – in sheep butter – was a welcoming ‘green’ on the plate and worked well with fish; rounding things off was the potato puree, presented in its own little pot, which helped soak up the juices and gave the whole dish a hearty and comforting impression. My choice of wine – a glass of crisp Portuguese Azeo wine – turned out to be a very fine tipple to have alongside this main.

Dessert? How could we could refuse? (In actual fact, we did have to be persuaded – but only because we were happily full by this point!) I had to ask what the pastel de nata was – it turns out that this is the traditional Portuguese egg tart, perhaps most commonly presented in a flaky pastry cup. By pure coincidence, I had picked one up at a Portuguese-run cafe in North London the day before (and thoroughly enjoyed it!); the thought of trying Notting Hill Kitchen’s deconstructed version was too tempting to not choose this dessert! This version was like a custard slice with a small delicate piece of pastry in the middle, and came with the usual pastel de nata accompaniment of cinnamon, here in ice-cream form, along with a few select choices of fruit. A reasonably light but oh-so-tasty choice to round up a very delicious meal.

Notting Hill Kitchen
Pastel de nata

All in all, a very enjoyable evening in a supremely sleek and comfortable setting in Notting Hill. I’d certainly recommend Notting Hill Kitchen as a option for dinner in W11, or for cocktails and tapas in their stylish bar. They also have a very tempting set lunch menu, and I can certainly imagine a weekend brunch here would be fantastic!

Notting Hill Kitchen
92 Kensington Park Road
W11 2PN
www.nottinghillkitchen.co.uk

Disclaimer: The Guide to Notting Hill was invited to dine at Notting Hill Kitchen, but was not required to write a positive review. We thank Notting Hill Kitchen for their kind invitation!