I love weekends where I get to catch up with old friends. Life moves so quickly in London and everyone lives such busy lives, that even though you live down the street from a friend, you could go months without seeing them. I truly cherish the times I do get to spend some quality time with good friends and it was so lovely to see my dear friend and fellow blogger, Lauren, a few weeks ago ahead of our trip to Bali.
I sadly wasn’t able to make it to Lauren’s birthday the weekend prior to meeting up, so I suggested a belated birthday lunch at the super cute, California-inspired restaurant Pomona’s in Notting Hill. As I jumped on the tube from Clapham and made my way over to London’s most colourful area, I couldn’t believe how it had been 7 months since I had seen Lauren and it was at my own wedding! Far too much time had passed, but lucky for us, we’re the type of friends who can pick up right where we left off.
It’s a freezing, snowy Sunday when we meet and the Beast from the East had reared its ugly head a few days prior. Bundled up in our warmest wool coats and wellies, Lauren and I met at her hairdresser’s around the corner from the restaurant and quickly hustled over in the slushy, damp streets to escape the deep freeze. We walk through the doors of Pomona’s and a smile instantly comes across my face. It’s a crayola box of colour – bright chairs strewn across the dining room, pops of vibrant hues across the walls and lush palm streets strategically dotted throughout. In my mind, i’m transported to a warmer sunnier place, far far away from London’s dull grey skies and it gives me a feeling of calm. Lauren and I sit down and in typical fashion, we order a bottle of wine – California Chardonnay, to share.
Toasting to finally seeing each other after all this time, Lauren fills me in on her trip to New York in January with her mum I tell her all about our itinerary for Bali. Chattering away like two school girls, our lovely server politely interrupts us to ask if want to order. We tell him to bring us his personal favourites and away he went, bringing back with him a selection of plump Madagascan prawns with lemon, chilli and butter. A hearty portion of six big ones, we tuck in, peeling the skins off that reveal the juicy meat underneath.
On cold days, there’s nothing like a curry and our waiter brings us an Indonesian prawn curry with rice and toasted cashew nuts – a great dish to try just before my trip! The curry is typically made with Monkfish, but alas, they had run out during their busy brunch hours earlier in the day. The succulent prawns, just as juicy as our starters, tasted a treat combined with the warming, cinnamon-y and subtly spicy curry sauce. I take my first bite and it’s as though I am jumping into a hot tub after playing in the snow. It’s comforting. As a lighter side dish,we share the butternut squash with cottage cheese and almonds. I am always a sucker for butternut squash, though personally not a huge fan of the consistency of cottage cheese and though the salad as a whole tastes lovely, I think it would be better paired with feta.
Our waiter brings out a surprise Dry-Aged Sirloin with wild mushrooms, horseradish shoots and bernaise sauce with pomme frites for us to share and we happily tuck in. The perfectly-pink-in-the-middle steak is just what the doctor ordered on such a frigid day and we demolish the fries what feels like 2 seconds flat.
Lauren and I finish off what’s left of our lunch, but make sure to save a little room for dessert. We try the chocolate soufflé – perfectly made. As we dive in fork first, warm, silky chocolate oozes out like lava from a volcano and in the blink of an eye, the soufflé is gone. Happy, satiated and toasty, we decide to stick around at Pomona’s for just a little while longer to enjoy the sunny atmosphere. A bartender walks over to our table and asks us if we want to try some of his new cocktails – we of course oblige!
He whips up a few special digestifs for us to enjoy and brings over two stunning drinks – a seasonal margarita with blood orange and agave and a Pina Colada made with six rums! The margarita is a fiery red, dusted with gold salt and reminds Lauren of her days spent in Mexico whilst the Pina Colada, which frankly is one of the best I’ve had, brings back memories of drinking endless ones on my honeymoon in the Maldives. It’s such a treat to end our fabulous lunch on. We say our goodbyes, bundle back up and take one last look around the cheerful restaurant before braving the freezing Siberian winds outside. We make a mad dash for the tube, and both decide to not leave it so long until we next meet – possibly back at Pomona’s for cocktails on their newly opened summer terrace when London’s sun decides to make an appearance 😉
Growing up, I spent seven years in California’s Bay Area. To me, it’s one of the happiest places in the world – always sunny, friendly faces walking about and fantastic food – and being at Pomona’s remind me of those days. It’s a fantastic restaurant for brunch, lunch and dinner and is really kid friendly. They have an awesome upstairs area that can be hired for parties as well. For all you instagrammers out there, its cheerfully colourful interiors are a dream.
*Thank you Pomona’s for hosting us, it was a brilliant afternoon! 🙂
Pomona’s, 47 Hereford Rd, London W2 5AH.