Although it might sound thrilling, sometimes being smack in the middle of everything can be a tad tiresome. Which is why living on the fringes of Notting Hill on Clarendon Road, but only moments from Portobello Road, makes good sense.
Clarendon Road, a quiet residential street and one of the top-drawer addresses in Holland Park, is in a kind of Golden Triangle close to three hot locales: Notting Hill, Holland Park and Portland Cross.
On the southern tip of the road, there’s the area’s mega-meeting place, The Castle. A fixed price menu of two courses for only a tenner (think chicken and chorizo skewers or hake fish fingers) means you don’t have to cook if you prefer dallying over that pint of fine ale. And if you still have a thirst, there’s Nicolas on the corner where a bottle of Sancerre Blanc is just £15, or you can splash out on Mersault 1st Cru at fifty quid.
Probably the world’s best fruit and veg emporium, Michanicou Bros, is next-door (they deliver daily). In the same stretch, friendly Thai restaurant, Cool Monkey, offers a two-course lunch express at £7.95, and newcomer Italian deli Melograno serves up espresso and mini baguettes for breakfast, and fresh pasta and salami for easy suppers. And, spring brings white narcissus at £6.50 a pot and bunches of daffs (four for a fiver) at Bursting Buds.
New townhouses nestle close to sumptuous semis on the corner with Ladbroke Road. John Cleese once lived in one of the half-dozen Thomas Allason-designed homes with unusual bowed projections at the rear. Built in 1845, Allason copied Georgian homes in Bath and brought the facsimiles to the Ladbroke Estate. Smart cars appear to be obligatory at this end of the road, with polished BMWs, Porsche Cayman S’s and the latest Minis lined up in this outdoor showroom.
Past the huge detached house where Robbie Williams once resided, lamp posts groan with planning notices for iceberg basements and ground and first floor side extensions. Other up-and-coming signs include light-wells, exteriors splashed in whites from the Farrow and Ball chart, and boho-chic The Clarendon with its animal skin-draped cocktail lounge, Sunday Bloody Marys and roast fests. Fringe benefits galore on Clarendon then for edgy residents wise enough to choose the verge over the hub.