CAFE SOCIETY: Portobello's just desserts
Saturday 28 February 1998
After the piles of massively up-marked retro gear, streams of sulky French exchange students, shops called Candelabra R Us and Piercing to Go, you don't know whether to reel or fall sobbing to your knees when you reach this forsaken place. If the first law of retail is to only offer what you think you'll sell, this means that the people running these stalls are actually making a living from flogging rust-encrusted hinges and single mittens.
If this sight isn't enough to put you off your dinner, there's a very pleasant place to eat at the far end: the Brasserie du Marche aux Puces, an Anglified French restaurant based in an old pub with the walls knocked out, floor stripped and green things in the windows. This is a good place for a leisurely post-shopping lunch. Though only a Celt would consider colonising their pavement tables this early in the year, the building's position on a corner means that eaters can bathe in all the light of our false spring.
Food here is what you expect in a British brasserie: steak frites, merguez and mash, casseroles, and none the worse for that. Puddings are uniformly excellent - the sort that do amazing vanishing tricks down the gullets of all the people who said they were too full: if nougat ice-cream with currants is on the menu, grab it even if the Montelimar has always sat in the family selection box until it developed a slight shine.
The best feature, though, is that, despite its location, it is almost entirely a Trusta-free zone. While less than 300 yards away bars heave with people who paint huge splashy canvases with their breasts and spend hours telling their dealers what an interesting case their therapist finds them, the patrons here are a tad closer to maturity. Sure, you'll still find people giving their friends sniffs of their new essential oils, but, blissfully for Notting Hill, you don't have to queue for half an hour to go to the loo.
Brasserie du Marche aux Puces, 349 Portobello Rd, W10 (0181-968 5828)
The Nosh Brothers will return next week
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Life & Style blogs
The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies
America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
There's a snake in my hat! Snakes in tiny headgear becomes latest pet trend
Microsoft announces first exclusive Xbox One content: a documentary on the worst video game ever
Potential revolution in cancer treatment voted breakthrough of the year by scientists
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 2 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 3 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 4 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: This Big 4 giant is seeking ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have personal tax exp...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...
£27000 - £30000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Capita ...