london street food: golborne & portobello roads

I had originally planned to do a street food crawl across London but quickly realised that my stomach could not possibly process that much food at one go, so am instead breaking up the culinary exploration into bits. We began the food tour last Saturday by venturing onto nearby Golborne and Portobello Roads, a stone’s throw from our flat.

Golborne Road is like a Little Portugal and Morocco rolled into one, lined with Morrocan and Portuguese eateries and grocers. The pavements are dotted with makeshift stalls selling bric-a-brac, and a large selection of food stalls selling anything from falafel and kebabs to tagines and grilled seafood. The stalls here are not as bright and shiny as the ones found in portobello market and mostly serve locals rather than tourists, in fact many didn’t even have signs, leaving us clueless as to what they were selling.

We strolled down the road, bypassing the falafel stand, a mobile serving fry-ups and a group of Carribean women chatting in a stall, bare except for 3 covered trays (we assumed this was the Jerk Stand). Halfway up Golborne we found a kebab stand which is apparently popular with the locals and I had expected a queue but there was just one customer and a bored looking vendor.

Unperturbed we went ahead and ordered a lamb and chicken kebab in pita (there’s a choice of pita or baguette) with salad, a squirt of chilli sauce and a dollop of mayonnaise. It was messy to eat but very tasty – the meat smoky and tender. Having whetted our appetite with the shared kebab we wandered a bit further, past the vegetarian stall to the Moroccan Fish stall, drawn by the heavenly smell of grilled seafood.

The stall was a hive of activity, with groups of regulars huddling around the counters and chatting in Arabic. The two chefs were busy grilling fish but would occasionally join in on the conversation.

The seabass cooking on the open grill looked fantastic so we asked for one and it came with a side of chips, salad, baguette and a warm tomato and onion sauce. The fish was perfectly cooked, with soft, flaky flesh and crispy charred skin – a steal at £6. We will definitely be back to try their mini fish tagines, but today we had to press on.

With our appetites dwindling we decided to move on to Portobello Road, but not before getting a large flat white from the Australian-run Market Espresso stand serving smooth, robust Square Mile Coffee.

Once we hit Portobello Market the stalls become much flashier, and a whole lot more crowded. We knew we couldn’t eat much more and I had a hankering for the burgers at the German stall, so headed straight there. On the way we did pass a few enticing stalls, including one dishing up chorizo and bean stew, another selling hog roast, and the festive Jamon Jamon Paella.

After wrestling with the crowds, we finally got to the German stall. The queue gave us plenty of time to agree on what to order – we were torn between the grilled chicken leg (which I’ve had in the past and from what I remember, was pretty darn good) and the chicken burger that many seemed to be having and looked pretty amazing. We settled on the burger (top image) which, although flavourful and juicy, disappointingly a tad underdone. I think next time I’ll stick with the chicken leg.

At this point we were both pretty well-fed, but as always wanted to finish on a sweet note so backtracked to the Churros Garcia stall (next to Spinach and Agushi, made famous by Raymond blanc’s BBC series, The Restaurant).

The churros were delectable – crunchy, not too greasy and loaded with sugar. The hot chocolate it came with was only lukewarm and went cold really quickly, but I preferred it with just the sugar anyway so wasn’t that bothered. The perfect ending to our delicious afternoon of snacking!

More London Street Food: Whitecross Street

~ by gourmettraveller on January 26, 2010.

20 Responses to “london street food: golborne & portobello roads”

  1. well done! There is so much to eat in London! You should def go to Borough market and try some of the food there. Let me know if you want any suggestions for booths and stands! Also, make sure to hit St. John (the rest or bread and wine).

    • Thanks Petulia! I’m hopefully heading to Whitecross St this Friday to sample some more streetfare – am slowly working my way round London! It’s been ages since I’ve been to Borough Market so will definitely be doing that sometime too. As for St John, yes love the food there – I’ve been to both (there’s a writeup of the resto on the blog)

  2. Fab! Let me know if you want to try any of our food walks while you are in town. You can find them here:

  3. Incredible! I didn’t even know the first lot of places existed. That Moroccan fish place looks brilliant.

    • There are definitely a few gems along Golborne, it has a much more chilled out vibe than Portobello as well which is nice.

  4. That grilled sea bass looks spectacular!

  5. Fantastic stuff! As a west Londoner, many of these places are happily familiar :) There’s a good little Italian place at the Notting Hill Gate end of Portobello Road that does slices of fabulous takeaway pizza (proper pizza), best eaten while walking down the road on a sunny afternoon!

    I would also second the suggestion of Borough Market – it’s most definitely worth a visit.

  6. Most Saturdays, just down from the German hotdog stand (opp the Electric Cinema) at Portobello there’s a Ghanian Curry stand – oh my goodness, it’s the best streetfood going in London – we usually make the journey across from East London just for this! They do a spinach curry, a chicken and black eyed peas curry, usually a lamb or goat curry, and my favourite to top it all off, deep fried plantain – the best!

    • You must be talking about Spinach and Agushi that was next to the Churros stand – their food did look (and smell) amazing. Now you’ve given it a thumbs-up too I’ll certainly trot on down soon for some Ghanian curry!

  7. my favourites are broadway market (saturdays) and behind and inside the Up Market (Brick Lane, Sundays). would be great to see features on those. you’d need about 10 people if you wanted to sample everything in the latter…

  8. What an absolutely fabulous post! I’ve always wanted to eat at that Golbourne market fish stall and I’m glad to hear that it’s every bit as good as it looks!

  9. […] and are always happy to see the fine art of curbside cuisine being endorsed online. I spotted this little gem from Gourmet Traveler – a cosmopolitan pair of bloggers who are taking in the street food of […]

  10. Wow…so much good food! I love this type of open air food stalls. I must go there when I go to London again

  11. Wow, excellent posting and the pictures are fantastic too. I love Golborne Rd and all the Portuguese delis and cafes. I go there frequently to buy the ingredients for some of the Brazilian dishes I make at home sometimes. I need to go back and try that fish stall! Thanks for that.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  12. Great to see a thriving London street food scene – after 4 years revelling in Indian street food – maybe it’s safe to come home!

  13. HI GT. Not sure if you are planning to go back to Golborne Road but if you do make sure that you try the stall selling soups and hot plate meat sandwiches. The soups are amazing (so too the home made harissa and the bread is also great), you can choose beween bean (my favourite), lentil and pea and it costs £1.90 for what is a meal in itself, truly one of London’s great bargains. If you’re still hungry, order one of the sandwiches which they stuff with some chips and which are pretty good although not in the same league as the soups.

    Only problem is IDing the stall. I’ve been twice at lunchtime (Mon and Fri) and it was there both times but in a slightly different spot. No sign outside but if you look closely inside the stall, there is a licence on the wall indicating a proprietor name of “Lamti”. Address wise, roughly in front of between 68-74 Golborne Road.

  14. Very informative article!! I’ve yet to cover Golborne & Portobello but hopefully will do at some point in the future, and I think I’ll be making a beeline for that grilled fish place, then to my namesake the Churros Garcia stall!!

    I’ve so far done articles featuring the street food on offer in Camden and in Brick Lane, please feel free to check them out here!!

  15. Church St Market, Edgware Rd.

    Can recommend the (Pakistani?) kebab stall and Moroccan fish here also.

  16. […] and are always happy to see the fine art of curbside cuisine being endorsed online. I spotted this little gem from Gourmet Traveler – a cosmopolitan pair of bloggers who are taking in the street food of […]

  17. There is another Moroccan fish in church street London, very similar to the one described above in Golbourne road..amazing. check it out on my blog . cheers

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