February 18th 2013
Goldborne Road intersects West London’s Portobello Road just north of the Westway. The road itself runs from Ladbroke Grove to Trellick Tower, an iconic late 60’s social housing block, once the tallest block of flats in Europe. Goldborne Road and Trellick Tower have featured in more than half a dozen pop videos including The Bottom Line by Big Audio Dynamite. Ironically, 30 years ago, Trellick Tower was considered to be hard to let housing – today flats on the top floors sell for millions – the view is spectacular!
Goldborne Road has traditionally been like an extension of Portobello Market, selling old furniture,
fruit, vegetables, fish, etc.
It’s also home to a large Portuguese community, with shops selling traditional hams, chorizo, salt cod and other groceries. There are two Portuguese patisseries, not to mention a French/Moroccan one called L’Etoile de Sous. Next door in Portobello Road there are 2 Spanish shops, a convent school and at least 3 Spanish Restaurants. From the 1950’s the area has had a large Caribbean population too.
More recently Golborne Road has become home to a sizeable Moroccan community (possibly the largest in Britain) who’ve opened shops, cafés and some amazing open air restaurants.
These have kitchens in tents or caravans and use fold up tables and chairs.
I’ve eaten at this fish stall before and the food was excellent.
They specialise in fish cooked on a griddle or in a tagine. Their paella is spectacular and the family meal is a huge platter of fish (looking like the sort of dish you see in the South of France) for £12.
I visited Goldborne Road with Fiona – we went specifically to have soup from the soup stall – Mohamed and Ibrahim Siteri recently won Best Takeaway or Streetfood category in the BBC Food and Farming Awards 2012. The judges visited the trailer back in November on BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme. Note the street bollard (in the picture above) which doubles as a stool.
The menu is fairly simple – you can see above that the soups are £2.50 and come with French bread.
We ordered Aladass – lentil soup
and Harira – celery, chickpeas, lentils, onion, parsley and tomato. Both were quite spicy, but we stirred in an optional teaspoon of harissa too. We shared, so as not to miss out. Both soups were spicy and delicious, but we thought that Aladass was the best.
The soup stall also sells fish or meat tagines (cooking bottom left). I wanted more after the fantastic soup, but the tagines were all gone – there were a big queues when we walked past all the stalls at 1pm.
I had a bap, like most of the Moroccan customers were eating with their soups – I went for the spicy mergaz (merguez) sausages with griddled vegetables, chips, salad and garlic mayonnaise. Merguez are a North African beef or lamb sausage, spiced with chilli or harissa. These were particularly red and hot – perfect for me.
The Soup Stall is terrific and you can see how cheap it is from the menu above. I suspect, from looking at the food on all the stalls, that they are all great!
After lunch we went for a coffee (over the road) at Lisboa, a Portuguese institution in West London.
I wasn’t really hungry, but Fiona ordered a custard tart… I’ve had these before and couldn’t resist a little taste – it was delicious as usual. People go to Golborne Road just for the pastries and coffee at Lisboa, let alone the all other amazing foods!
I took the picture above of some tagines for sale and now I realise I’m going to have to go back and buy one. I bought some whole preserved lemons in one of the shops, which are brilliant in spicy lamb, chicken and fish stews (and tagines, of course) – 6 cost me £1.65, that’s cheaper than fresh ones!
Goldborne Road is close to Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park tubes. Having previously lived off Portobello Road for 10 years, I prefer visiting on Fridays which are nowhere near as packed as Saturdays. I believe that food is served al fresco 5 days a week, they are closed on Thursdays and Sundays. The main Portobello Market days are Friday and Saturday.
Goldborne Road and Portobello Road have been voted Best Street/Outdoor Market in the 2013 Market of the Year awards.
OK: suitably green and envious! An exciting tale of interesting food 🙂 ! The links will be slowly ‘devoured’ over the following week, still unable to look in the mirror re skin tints!! Make my own preserved lemons each winter here, but even with my beloved Meyer lemon tree behind my kitchen window, could not bring them in at price . . . Oh, to be back in London 🙂 !
Thanks Eha – I keep meaning to make my own preserved lemons, but at that price it’s difficult to justify – I bet they taste amazing from your own lemons though 🙂
Actually they DO 🙂 !
What a fabulous place to visit! Great photos!
Thanks Tessa – I feel like I’ve gone home every time I visit – I should go more often, it’s only half an hour away 😉
If you stay in a city long enough, it really is amazing the transformations you’ll see, some good and others, well, not. How I would love to come upon a spot like this. Such a great variety of food. Something for everyone’s tastes. There isn’t much opportunity to sell food on the streets here, only recently have food trucks been allowed. Maybe they’re a sign of things to come.
It did evolve over time here – Portobello Road seems to be a real melting pot. The street food phenomena seems to be very popular in London at present, though Goldborne Road is probably the best value. Some places in central London charge more than eating inside.
What an awesome place that is, such a wonderful mix of culture and flavours, the food looks stunning, and I’d want to try it all.
Thanks Marcus, I have considered going every week for a month 😉
What a wonderful tour guide you are. Tangines intrigue but that custard tart is speaking to me cross the ocean! The lentil soup would be good for our snowy weather, too.
Thanks Ruthie – those Portuguese custard tarts are delicious 🙂
Fabulous post, taking me back to my last London post and introducing Goldborne Rd to those who don’t know it. I looked longingly at the pictures of the soup stall. Seeing the name Big Audio Dynamite was a blast from the past as Dan Donovan was my assistant for a short time, before his Dad arranged him a better offer with Richard Avedon in New York:-)
Thanks Roger. That song came out when I was living in Powys Square, so it always makes me think of Goldborne Road. Friends of mine produced some of BAD’s records and one of them joined the band for a while. We used to drink at the Globe – a weird one table Caribbean restaurant with illegal club downstairs.
I wish I’d worked for Avedon, back in the day – shame about Dan’s dad.
Great post Craig! It’s my hood of course. I love the stall and what a boost for Mo & Ib to win the BBC Food Awards – street food category. On the subject of preserved lemons – i have a nice recipe for them which I must share with you and your followers.
Thanks Sue – I’d love to see that recipe 😉
I had read about this area, and the Portuguese and Morrocan offerings make this a mandatory visit while I am in London, reinforced by your post and especially the photo of the pastel de nata! I had read the Morrocan soup stall is only there Fridays/Saturdays do you know if that’s right? Great post, really captures the essence of a market you would want to visit! Thanks.
This is from the horses mouth – I asked the soup guys what days they are open and it’s definitely everyday except Thursday and Sunday. I recommend Fridays (and Saturdays are second best), because you get the whole market too, whereas other days will just be the Moroccan food and Portuguese shops 😉
Thanks so much for letting me know, and the advice. I will certainly visit when I’m down, although don’t know what days of the week that will be as yet!
You’re welcome 🙂
Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful street! Sounds perfect for a little culinary wanderings. Would love a harira recipe….
Portobello Road is particularly good the first time – there’s probably about half a mile of antiques, brick a brack, junk, vegetables, bars, restaurants, shops and even a bookshop dedicated to cooking – Books For Cooks.
Here’s a recipe for Harira – I haven’t tried it but it looks good 😉
Fantastic post MD – I need to taste those soups and I am a huge fan of those custard tarts, How long did it take you to put in all those great links?!
Thanks Tanya – I do the links as I go along, so not too long 😉
such great memories of London market, wish I could visit soon.
I hope you get to visit again soon 😉
These Moroccan food stalls look fab, especially the fish and soup, and so reasonably priced – amazing for London. I used to work near Goldborne Road over 10 years ago, wasn’t the nicest part of London. When we had bountiful lemon trees here in Spain, I preserved two big jars, but then forgot to use them and they went mouldy 😦 Was being a bit too ambitious.
There’s been a healthy boost to Portobello and Goldborne Roads since they scrapped the congestion charge. I was really bothered that the markets were dying 5 or 6 years ago.
Shame about your lemons – I’d be tempted to make preserved lemons as Christmas presents if I had a lemon tree 😉
Good idea, sadly an idiot bashed his digger into them a few years ago and now their crop is miniscule. Still waiting for compensation…
Wonderful! That’s one of the best things about London, I think, the number of different cultures and their cuisines that are thrown into the mix!
Yes and it’s particularly concentrated here 🙂
I was so lucky, my girlfriend made some preserved lemons and gifted me a tiny jar! I felt as if I were walking along with you through the market, how I would love it if we had something like that here. The exotic food.. and you should definitely go buy that tagine!
Ha ha – I think you’ll love the lemons – I made a fantastic lamb and chickpea dish with one last week 🙂
Lots and lots and lots of beautiful food, such a lucky fellow you are! c
Thanks Cecilia 🙂
You have the most wonderful choices for ethnic foods…I could spend a year trying a different food each day and still want more. I especially enjoy mergaz sausages…the sandwich and both soups look great.
Thanks Karen, you’d love it 🙂
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