It seems my old favourite Portobello Pizzeria has fallen out of grace with me recently. After continuously being so busy that it’s impossible to score a spontaneous table, I’ve discovered a new remedy for my pizza cravings.
The Oak in Notting Hill.
Set on two floors, it’s situated on an inconspicuous corner of Westbourne Park Road, slightly stretching its Notting Hill location label. I know that people say that Franco Manca make the best pizza in London, but as I haven’t tried it, The Oak will be my number one for now.
In the past month and a half I must’ve been thrice. This week with the Lovely L, three weeks ago with the Italian and four weeks ago with the Italian’s famiglia: Yes, aunt, grandma and mother. No, they don’t speak much English. Luckily, food is a universal language. Especially if you’re eating Italian food with Italians.
My favourite items on the menu are of course the wood fired pizzas (if they throw artichokes at anything I’m a fan), followed very closely by a goat’s cheese salad with red and gold beetroot and homemade liver pâté. The pâté is incredibly moreish and comes served with sourdough bread, which we always have to order more of. The rest of the menu is very much an Italian-Spanish love affair with Spanish butter bean soup, burrata, boquerones, beef tagliata and pan-fried gnocchi as evidence.
The restaurant gets very busy and sadly doesn’t take any reservations. However, this is probably the only place where I would be happy to wait in the bar. The bar you see, is upstairs, and feels like an elegant living room. I know for a fact that it inspires interior fanatics and of course, myself too. Old sunken in sofas and chairs, long, deep-red drapes, dark walls and over sized lamp shades make it the perfect modern drawing room. I could stay for the rest of the night if only there was a bedroom waiting for me in the same building.
So my next question is naturally – when can I expect the boutique hotel to open? And secondly, will they take bookings?
These photos, however much I wish I took them, belong to The Oak.