Former Notting Hill boozer the Portobello Gold has been transformed into a four-floor destination with a restaurant, late-night bar and terrace with retractable roof. Now known as Gold, its been masterminded by entrepreneur Nick House (of Mahiki fame) who has assembled an impressive team including ex-River Cafe Theo Hill as Head Chef and front-of-house staff from Pizza East and Soho House.
Gold stands out amidst the ice cream terraces with it’s pavement-to-roof mural from Portuguese street artist Vhils. The talking-point piece – an extreme closeup on a pair of gold eyes- has even ruffled a few feathers in the local area with cries from residents to have it removed.
Inside, the piste de resistance is the terrace where we were lucky to be dining. I can’t think of many lovelier places to enjoy a meal on a summer’s evening with the retractable ceiling pulled back at the light of golden hour streaming in. With its terracotta brick floor and jungle of plants, it’s a 2019 take on conservatory chic. Inside is equally achingly cool with exposed brick, a smaller mural from Vhils and more greenery.
With the Notting Hill memorabilia, overpriced antiques and floods of exchange students, by day this stretch of Portobello Road may have lost some of its original charm. However, by night the gears shift. House has worked his magic (read: connections) to pull in the right kind of punters (Tatler reports Lady Amelia Windsor, Jourdan Dunn and both Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice have visited) and on our Wednesday night visit it was packed with well-heeled clients. It had that can’t-put-your-finger-on-it buzz and felt like the place to be that evening.
The menu centres on an open flame concept with additional fresh options all designed to be shared. It was a meal of two halves, and one that kicked off very well. The tomato, salted ricotta and basil salad (£12) was zingy, fresh and just what the doctor ordered on a hot evening. The grilled peppers, burrata and anchovy on toast (£14) and the roasted aubergines with goat’s cheese and mint (£10) were both equally full of flavour.
It was a little downhill from here and our chargrilled squid (£18) was on the chewy side, the braised artichokes (£12) failed to make much of an impression and the roasted cauliflower with spiced yoghurt could have done with being a little more charred. Nothing was inedible but all could have done with a little more oomph.
We were a little bamboozled by the cocktail list so pleased to be recommended the Penasquito by our helpful waiter. A Gold twist on a classic Margarita with sage and George Clooney’s Tequila, Casamigos. It was delicious and if it hadn’t been a school night we could have sunk many more. This was followed by a bottle of white wine that we enjoyed so much we never found out the name from the same kind waiter who suggested it.
In a nutshell
With a couple of disappointing dishes, it did feel like a slight case of style over substance. However, the lure of Gold got me and it wouldn’t prevent a return visit.
95-97 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 2QB; 020 3146 0747; goldnottinghill.com