Imagine! I actually hauled myself out of my lovely, snuggly, cosy little bed, the one with the soft new organic cotton linen that caresses your skin as you lie snoozing, at some unearthly hour to go and meet a friend for coffee. Okay okay, I admit that ‘unearthly hour’ for me is when most people have already been at work for at least half an hour, longer if they’re German, and ‘friend’ in this case refers to my lovely Bali Pixie Princess. If you met her, you’d know why I call her that. Bali because that’s where she’s been living for the last seven years, Pixie because of her delicate bone structure, lithe yoga honed body and mischievous twinkle, Princess, well naturally because she’s a beautiful, very special person, sort of pixie royalty, if you get my drift.
Originally a home counties girl, multi talented and facetted, she was never going to walk the conventional path, instead she fled from the prospect of marrying a bank manager in Dorking, or a dentist in Leatherhead, and trained as a pastry chef in New York. That challenge cracked, and following a personal health issue, she decided to return to London and become a colonic irrigationist (or, as it’s often more elegantly known, a hydro therapist) at a complementary health clinic in Hammersmith. Not to put too fine a point on it, that’s how I met her, some 15 years ago, bottom first. Having done this for several years, and built up a devoted following, she decided to leave other people’s digestive tracts, top end and bottom end, behind her, upped sticks and became a successful photographer in Bali. As you do…. (See www.sukizoe.com).
Like all ex-pats on a brief trip home, her availability and diary slots are limited. So many people to see, so little time! I was absolutely determined to get an audience with her, even if it meant rising earlier than preferred and, with bed hair and sleep in my eyes, driving to North Kensington. Neither of us knew the café, Bluebelles, we’d arranged to meet up at, as we’d randomly picked it from the internet on the basis of its convenient location for my Pixie Princess’s next appointment. Well, surprise, surprise, it was adorable and could not have been more perfect for the two of us had it tried.
Everybody, of course, knows the southern end of Portobello Road in Notting Hill, with its antique stalls and markets. It is, after all, one of London’s main tourist attractions, but head north, beyond the massive A40 highway, and up here in North Kensington, it becomes more artisan, intimate and villagey, with little shops and cafés and not a tourist in sight.
Bluebelles of Portobello claims to redefine the coffee shop experience and, indeed, it does. It’s a small place, very homely and pretty, with wild flower arrangements on every table and a cute little courtyard out back. It has the feel of sitting in a small, distressed, shabby chic country kitchen, welcoming and inviting. Service is smiley and friendly, the clientele young and local. Best of all, here they serve first class Caravan coffee beans, filtered through soft water, with either cow’s milk, soya milk or coconut milk, but unusual beetroot latte is also on offer. There are some delectable brunch options, from home baked artisan breads and pastries, healthy fresh fruit and vegetable juices, to gluten free cakes. But it’s not all super saintly, bangers with caramelized onions, baked beans or fishfinger sandwiches sounded equally tasty.
As we chatted away and caught up with all our latest news over two black Americano coffees, me, and a latte with coconut milk, her, my as yet unbreakfasted tummy started grumbling, so I ordered a Homemade Granola with Greek Yoghurt, Seasonal Fruit Compote, Fresh Berries and Maple Syrup on the side. It was quite heavenly, the juicy fruit, the crunchy granola and the very slightly tart but creamy yoghurt, and so well balanced in flavour, that I didn’t even need to add the maple syrup for sweetness. Oh, how tempted I was to get stuck in to some of the fresh pastries or croissants, but the granola portion was generous enough, that any more would have been overkill.
Much later, after I had left the Pixie Princess to her next date, she ordered a portion of scrambled eggs and a second carrot juice, all of which, so she told me, were excellent.
We paid £14.50 for my granola, our three coffees and a carrot, apple and ginger juice, service not included.
Pretty little Bluebelles is open every day from 8am to 4.30 pm for breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea. There’s no doubt that I’ll be back to try more of their goodies and enjoy the really outstanding warmhearted ambience. This is a real find and well worth rolling out of bed for!
What I wore
Skinny white JBrand jeans, J.M. Loughlin top, sky blue French Sole ballerinas
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