When I first moved to London, I stayed with my friend Danilo in a charming mews home with three other guys in Paddington, which is in Northwest London. I can still remember hopping off the Heathrow Express at Paddington station with all luggage. I was both excited and nervous to start my new life. I didn't have a job or a flat, though Danilo was kind enough to let me stay rent free in his place for my first month. I remember spending my first few days taking the tube to Oxford Circus (what I considered to be the one place in London I knew the most) to either window shop or pop into a restaurant to have lunch and apply for jobs on LinkedIn.
Paddington really has a special place in my heart because it will always represent the time in my life when I made the huge leap into my London life, and it will also remind me of how far I've come. However, I do wish that back then I knew about all the fun things that the area had to offer! Paddington is often just a place where people go to change lines or catch a train out of the city. The busy and noisy Edgware Road is often also a deterrent, unless you're looking for good shisha. But on this spring day, my best friend Chabeli decided to take me on a little trip to make the most out of the favourable London weather.
We decided to have lunch at The Summerhouse, which is in Little Venice and is walking distance from the Warwick Avenue tube station. Whilst the restaurant is open all year-round, it's always best to go on a nice sunny day so that you can enjoy their waterside location and watch the people on gondolas and boat houses pass by as you dine.
Aside from my favourite Bloody Mary cocktail, I ordered the flat mushrooms on toast with Dijon mustard and crème fraîche. I'm more of a mushroom and toast fan than an avo toast person (because once I made it myself I couldn't bear to pay someone else to do it), and this was probably the best mushrooms on toast I've had! The Dijon mustard gave it the kick that many other plain creamy versions lack. Will try to recreate this soon.
After brunch, Chab led us to the Clifton Nursery, which was in her old neighbourhood, Maida Vale. The nursery has both indoor and outdoor plants for sale and also sells tools and equipment that any gardener would be happy to have.
If we were going home right after and I wouldn't have to lug around a bunch of pots with me, I would have definitely made a purchase. One for next time then.
Afterwards, we popped into a nearby shop to get some rosé and nibbles, then made our way to the Paddington Recreation Ground, which is actually in Maida Vale, and not Paddington. It was a great space with lots of people doing fitness boot camps, playing frisbee, or like us, just lounging about. Brage joined us too and we had a nice and relaxing time soaking up some rays.
After a while, we of course, got hungry again. We walked back to Formosa Street in Maida Vale and took an outside table at the Red Pepper, which is a little Italian neighbourhood bistro. One spicy salami Diavola, please!
Northwest London is a place that still keeps its neighborhoody feel, and this is something I always look for living in a busy and fast-paced city like London.
Which areas in London still remind you of an intimate little neighbourhood? Share your thoughts in the comments below!