Where to go in Notting Hill (if you are an eager cook)

4 February 2005

Books for Cooks – the mecca for cookbook aficionados.

(BTW, the picture above isn’t of Books for Cooks. I took this at an antique shop on Portobello Road)

I first went in the shop about 10 years ago; although it still had a nice feeling, I remember it was rather messy (much like the (in)famous book shop Foyles on Charing Cross Road) and quite difficult to find what you were looking for. They didn’t have a cafe at the back of the shop then, but now they have a ‘test kitchen’ where they cook recipes from the books they sell and serve them daily at the cafe. They run cookery courses too – one of my favourite chefs, Ursula Ferrigno, is among the teachers there.

Try not to visit around lunch time unless you are actually going to have lunch! They have a big section of French, Italian and Spanish books just next to the tables in the cafe but it’s always busy at lunch time and you can’t look at those books because somebody’s always leaning over the shelves enjoying meals… I guess you could just have a seat and enjoy lunch instead :)

Don’t forget to pop in The Spice Shop, just opposite BfC. One of the BfC owners Eric Treuillé and a spice expert Birgit Erath run the shop. They have so many varieties and you just can’t decide which to try! I got a lovely spice mix called Aleppo last time – it’s a blend of aleppo pepper, sumac, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and cumin etc.
Eric recommended it for lamb dishes – he was right, it’s versatile and I mainly use it for marinating meat/fish. Their book Barbecue is full of great recipes – I’ve been using it for years.

You can spend all day here

Spice extravaganza

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  • Thank you so much for this lovely post. I’ll be in London in a few weeks and your photos and descriptions are wetting my appetitive! :-)

    Posted by Viv | 8 February 2005 #
  • Hi Viv

    I hope you have a great time in London. I have lots more favourite shops around the area, so hopefully more postings before your visit...

    Posted by | 9 February 2005 #
  • Hey Keiko, I have another shop in Notting Hill which I really like. They’re a European franchise which started up in Germany and they specialise in oils and vinegar sold straight out of massive barrels. You can bring your own bottles (or buy some lovely ones there) and after sampling your way through at least 50 varieties, chose which ones to take home. Excellent quality all of it and I love the browsing and sampling. It’s called "Vom Fass" and it’s located in 187 Westbourne Grove London W11 2RS and another one (which I haven’t been to) in Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street London W1C 1JS. Give it a try when you’re next in London!

    Posted by johanna | 9 March 2005 #
  • Hi Johanna - Thanks for the info, there are so many shops in this area that I’d like to post about, but I just haven’t got around to it yet.
    I can do one at a time, can’t I? :-D

    I know this shop, haven’t tried yet but it’s always busy at Selfridges (they took over the former Jane Packer place in the foodhall). I normally go for Spanish oils, but I’ll try theirs next time. Have you tried Belazu ones? I think they are quite good too.

    Posted by keiko | 9 March 2005 #
  • Hey,

    Lovely post. I recently discovered books for cooks after reading about it in EatMe magazine (www.eatmemagazine.com) Such a great place, I bought quite a few books I wouldnt have found elsewhere, and the food is also exceptional.

    Posted by Jess | 7 July 2010 #

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