There's an unmistakeable veneer of Yummy Mummy Hangout surrounding Granger & Co's Notting Hill branch. The restaurant has supplanted 202 and Tom's further down on Westbourne Grove as the trendy west Londoner's eatery of choice, as a natural refuelling point after a morning spent pottering around Joseph and Daylesford. Doubting Thomas(ina) that I am, when my mother invited my sister and I to lunch in Notting Hill, I was pretty ready to debunk the myth and proclaim Granger a fad. But, of course, I fell in love with the darn place. I mean, look at that cake. Just look at it. And absolve me of my guilt.
The Notting Hill area is pretty hard not to love in spring. Each immaculately-kept street is lined with trees, which rain multicoloured blossoms on to the steps of the palatial stucco-fronted townhouses. The people who live here are weirdly beautiful too. Seriously, though. A couple occupying the table opposite ours looked like they'd just stepped off the pages of Monocle.
True to form, I went for a big bowl of pasta, meat and cheese. More specifically: chicken and pancetta meatballs, cicchetti and spinach swimming in a buttery, lemony broth, covered in parmesan and lemon zest. A perfect combination for a spring day - summery citrus flavours paired with comforting broth and hefty meatballs for weather that was beginning to warm up but wasn't quite at the humid height of summer.
Sis went for a prawn and chilli linguine, with rocket leaves sprinkled liberally over the top. Again, a perfect spring dish and a generous portion too, with a big helping of juicy prawns and a good level of heat from the chilli.
The stars of the lunch were the puddings, though. We knew from experience that ordering three would prevent any squabbles. Because these were the kind of desserts worth fighting over.
A pot of chia seeds soaked in almond milk and coconut yoghurt was perfectly complemented by summer berries and pomegranate seeds. I could eat this stuff every morning if only I was motivated enough to soak the seeds overnight!
There's that cake again: the moistest cheesecake I've ever had, flavoured with mango. The top was like a gilded jewellery box, glazed with a golden mango jam and studded with ruby-like pomegranate seeds. Incredibly addictive.
My mum's favourite was the pistachio pavlova, topped with a cloud of yoghurt cream, passion fruit seeds and crushed pistachios. The perfect way to round off a meal that smacked of spring and heralded the promise of summery days ahead.
Hats off to Bill Granger. I feel a tiny bit bad for being so cynical now. In fact, I may have to go and stock up on some Sandro and Maje pieces so I can blend in with the yummy mummy clientele... and more importantly, justify coming here more often!