Portobello Road, Notting Hill

19th February 2012

Last weekend The Boys and I hopped on a tube and headed to Portobello Market. The market was not quite as big as I remembered but this was a Sunday and the main market day is Saturday. It has also been a good 10 years (gosh is it really that long??) since I was there last visiting a friend who had a pitch there.

My first point of call was The Grain Shop a vegetarian ‘fill your box’ style of takeout. En route however I spotted a Mexican (in addition to my vegan radar, my burrito radar has now become finely tuned) and also a healthfood shop.

Portobello Wholefoods thus negated the necessity for me to trapse up to Wholefoods kensington to pick up supplies. They have dry goods, refrigerated and frozen sections stocking items such as Frys, Amys mac and cheese and Booja Booja ice cream.

Walking down Portobello Road we came across a Spanish supermarket, in which I  could have spent an age scrutinizing (and I imagine peplexing myself) reading Spanish ingredients to find some new random vegan delicacy but am sure The Boys would not have appreciated it so we moseyed on by.

Portobello Road is also home to the Electric Cinema where you can enjoy an alcoholic beverage with your movie and also very well known for it’s antiques markets full of trinkets and treasures.

Just off the Road were two shops I wanted to visit; The Spice Shop, a miniscule shop filled with bags of ready made spice mixes such as chilli con carne or stew. About £4 a bag I guess you would get several dishes out of the one bag.

Sadly the other shop Books for Cooks was closed, how I dreamt of entering and spying a vegan cookery section I guess I will have to return another day.

Back at The Grain Shop I picked up a large box and a chocolate walnut slice for my dinner.

As what generally happens when you stick everything in the same box it all tastes a but samey. From what I could tell the chilli con carne and chickpea and spinach curry were good. About half the potatoes with rosemary which are somewhere beneath all the cabbge in the photo were undercooked, not pleasant. The chocolate slice  was really good, I had been expecting it to be like a bar of chocolate and hard, but the chocolate was soft and almost ganache like.

Grain Shop on Urbanspoon

Our final destination before we went home was to stop off at El Camino for lunch.

The decor is very quirky with seating inside and out and an open kitchen. You place your order at the till  then the food is brought over to your table. As well as burritos they serve a whole host of other Mexican dishes some of which should also be veganizable.

We started with the nachos and gaucamole.

The tortilla chips are hand cut, but unsalted, good for the Lil Man but not so good for Mr Ikeda and I as the guacamole was also lacking in flavour which made it all rather bland.

My burrito, which was the portobello mushroom (of course :)) was also underwhelming. The mushrooms themselves were delicious, but the filling was mostly lettuce with a smattering of pinto beans. It may have been better had I remembered to order it with rice which was £1 extra, but the burrito was £6.25 to start with which would make it the most expensive burrito I have had on my quest so far. Being able to finish it all also indicated that it must be one of the smallest. And it was served open ended, is this not a serious burrito faux pas??

El Camino Fresh Mexicano on Urbanspoon

A pretty vegan friendly place and if neither of these eateries takes your fancy you could always stop by Otto Pizza to see what vegan corn crust pizzas they have to offer (plus gluten free options).

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