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Shakka begins his journey into the diversity of West London with a trip to Vicky’s, discovering some of the dishes that have become a staple in the area, born from the cultural diaspora. Then onto The Goldfinger Factory, a place working with on a concept called upcycling, turning waste into ‘gold’. Shakka then segways into the alcohol fueled side of his journey, meeting up with Sam, a musician. They visit a gin bar and distillery, learning the process and tasting the wares. To finish, a West London gem, the Sporting Clube. A wild Portuguese establishment with all the trimmings to end the night with large plates of food and of course, dancing.

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Transcript

- What's up? I'm Shaka, I'm a musician and food lover. For the next few days I'm gonna be showing you around my neighborhood. I grew up here listening to the sounds of the carnival and smelling the flavors of Portobello Market in the air. I'm gonna be eating, drinking, and vibing my way around the area meeting the artists, musicians, creatives, and foodies who make up the real Notting Hill. This is pure west London soul, baby. This is Notting Hill where west is always best. It's about 8:39 in the morning. It's the first hour of the first day. We're currently here in Notting Hill and I'm hungry, and it's breakfast time. So I need to get myself like a good greasy spoon or a good breakfast in general. And I got told about this spot called Vicki's. So, let's have some food in it. - [Theo] We're a local business, family run business. It's about healthy food, fast food at affordable prices. We do breakfast, we do lunch. All of our stuff is freshly made every day with fresh ingredients. We do delicious burritos with a sesame coconut rice. We hot roast piri piri chicken, or the baked sweet potato falafel with hummus and tzatziki. We do a lovely vegan burrito for those who don't eat any dairy or meat. - Theo? - Hey, Shaka, how you doing? - Yeah, it's me, very well. Nice to meet you, my brother. - Nice to meet you. - I've had a lot of barbecues. I've heard a lot about Vicki's. I see a lot of colorful, illustrious, beautiful ingredients, but I'm only here for breakfast. What have you got for me, bro? - Okay, well, man, we can definitely take care of you. We've got everything from croissants and pain au chocolat to our ultimate breakfast sandwich which is basically a fry up in lovely handmade ciabatta bread. - Nice. - Or we do a lovely Lebanese breakfast. It's very popular. - A Lebanese breakfast? - [Theo] Yeah, a Lebanese breakfast is scrambled eggs, chili and ginger greens, grilled halloumi, hummus with the ciabatta toast as well. - Right, so I got a long weekend ahead of me, yeah? And I want to make sure I power up right. So, I'm gonna go for the ultimate breakfast sandwich with the Lebanese breakfast. Can we do that? Can we do both of them together? - Both of them? - Both of them together. - Hungry? - Slightly. - Okay, yeah. Of course we can do that, man. - Sweet. - I'll also throw one of our fresh juices in for you and a cup of Monmouth coffee. - I'm loving this, let's do it. - Cool, man. - Nice one. - Sit down. I'll bring it over. We're from this part of London and it's so multicultural that we've had influences for the last 20 years from all over the world and that's kind of reflected in the food that we do. We don't have a particular type of food. For instance, we have a sesame coconut rice which would have an Asian influence. We've got the baked sweet potato falafels which would be a kind of Middle Eastern influence. So we just try and take care of everyone as much as we can. - Right, so I'm looking forward to this grub here, but there's a phrase that my mom and dad likes to use and it's your eyes are too big for your own belly and I think that's what happened here. I don't care because this lovely guy over here has put so much effort into this breakfast I'm just gonna finish everything. Bon appetit, isn't it? I'm in a very good place. Got some chili on, has got some ginger on it. Oh man, this is peng. I'm just gonna stop talking. That's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna stop talking, I'm gonna eat this food. I'm gonna enjoy life. Okay, so I started off my day pretty well. I've had a good breakfast courtesy of Vicki's. Filling up my stomach with the finest in Lebanese breakfast stuff. And right now we're gonna take a trip to Trellick Towers. For locals, Trellick's like a part of your identity. It's a landmark, a piece of history and a homing beacon. Built in the 70s, as social housing, it went from almost being torn down to becoming a grade 2 listed building. It's striking brutalist architecture has long been a source of inspiration for artists and writers. But it's biggest claim to fame is that one of the most unforgettable villains of all time is named after the man who designed it, Mister Goldfinger, which is also the namesake for where we're heading now. I'm gonna meet a dude by the name of Jason who's gonna teach me everything he knows about upcycling. Yeah, I don't know what upcycling is either, but hopefully we'll be able to find out more about that right now. So, let's go. - GoldFinger factory, we turn waste into gold. - How you doing, bro? - Good and you? - Pretty good. - We upcycle furniture. You could turn a plant pot, you know, into a lampshade, or for example, even the cupboard turn into something unique. We had a kitchen sink cut out piece, sort of just thrown it in the skip. We reused it and turned it into a coffee table. Selling it off on the shop floor right now. And it's helping us fund the business. We have tables and chairs that we've upcycled and built downstairs here, and we've distressed stuff as well. We have a Q and A courses run by Kensington and Chelsea College, and they would come in, and we teach the students how to upcycle from anything and help be creative, and, like, built something out of nothing, you know, pretty much. Anyone can come and learn. - Your workshop is downstairs, right? - Yeah. - Can we check it out? - Yeah, yeah yeah, come down. - [Shaka] Sick, nice one. - [Jason] This is where the magic happens. - Right, so how can anybody get involved in this? Can anybody get involved in what you guys are doing here? - Well, you could either come down to our shop, and, you know, we'll give you a little guided tour. You could visit our website thegoldfingerfactory.com. - Okay, dope. - [Jason] Yeah, just check us out, and yeah. - Let me just wrap my head around this. You find different materials and furniture from an a bunch of different places, being it on the street, or being donated to you by members of the community. You then re-transform these pieces of materials or furniture into new furniture or art. The money that gets generated from those pieces goes back into the projects that you guys have here. And you're also providing skills and jobs for people in the community to be able to do the same thing. I don't see any downside. It's just a win-win for me. It's a beautiful thing, man. - While we're in the naughty mood, Jason mentioned there's a spot just under Trellick where street artists have taken over. One thing that stands out in Notting Hill is street art. It's everywhere and always has been. With the history stretching back to the 1970s, I can see where the inspiration comes from for a lot of Jason's work. It's mad, like, it's proper taken for granted. Like, the fact that they've got this massive, almost warehouse-size canvas to just, like, I wanna try this, and I wanna try this, and I wanna try this. Do you know what I mean? - Yeah, yeah, definitely, Could be really. - There's a lot of people would have had to pay for a space to be able to allow them to do it. In our town, you just got ends, bro. - Yeah, no. - It's sick, man. Brother, thank you for the time. - [Jason] Nice one, man. - Yeah, man, thank you for showing me around the workshop and around this park. I never knew this existed. And, honesty, it's a beautiful thing to see. So everybody knows about the flagship spot in Notting Hill that is Portobello Market. But people don't know about it's unsung hero, and that's Goldborne Road. And it's sick because it's like this crazy fusion of Moroccan culture, Turkish culture, Caribbean, and British culture. And it's all densely packed on this one 200 meter strip. I'm gonna have a Moroccan fish and chips. Can I get one sea basket, bro? Can I get that with chips as well? - Yeah. - Yeah, man. There's a spot here in Ak-han Village here, and that's where my mom used to cook. And the stand was pretty much exactly like this one. Just her and , like, 20 other people in the queue. If you want the good food, you got to wait in line just like everyone else. Which is precisely what I'm doing right now. Thank you very much, bro. Nice one. Come on carts. Want some? You don't want some? All right, cool. Brother, thank you so much, man. - [Man] Is there's anything you need, brother? - Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've got your cash, I promise. This is not your average street market food. If you look closely, yeah, on the side it's probably black and brown now, but the green herbs. All sorts of different stuff. It's like its own special relish. You put it on there, you put it on the grill, tastes peng. So, so, peng. - Good choice, Shaka. If those that know me well, know me really well, they'll know that the best thing I need to do to wash down a good plate of food, is with some booze. So, next spot I'm gonna go to is The Ginstitute. You can go away now. Let me enjoy my food. Next stop is The Ginstitute, a pub with an underground distillery where they're cooking up their very own West London brew. I'm off to meet Sam, another West London musician, raised around Notting Hill. I'm more of a rum man myself, but from what I hear, Sam's a bit of a gin connoisseur, and he wants to show me what this place has to offer. Hey, Sam, right? - Yes, Shaka. - Sam, then, how you doing? - Nice to meet you, man. How's it going? - Yes, yes, it's all good. - Come in, welcome, welcome. - It's all good. It's good to meet a fellow musician - Yeah, yeah, yeah. - from Le Inns. Though you're in a band here called Molotov Jukebox. - That's right, yeah. - Yeah, can you tell me a little bit more? - We make a style of music we call tropical gypsy. The gypsy side of that was kind of where we came from as musicians that we both play, I play the violin. My missus is the lead singer, plays the accordion. Sort of like traditional Eastern European sound. - That's crazy. - And then the tropical side of it is what we grew up around. And so we grew up in this part of London which is, you got the Calypso, you got the dance hall, you got the reggae tone, you got all of that stuff. So it's a big fusion of, you know, all this around you. Funny enough, we're in a place where we're gonna do some fusing. - The fusion of sounds, - Yeah. - the fusion of alcohol. We're at the distillery to check out some gin, right? - No, so, in fact, we're in the Ginstitute right now. - We're at the Ginstitute? - The distillery is the pub upstairs. - [Shaka] Okay, right. - [Sam] We are in the basement where there is an actual distillery next door. - [Shaka] Oh, right, so it's not just called a distillery. - [Sam] No, no, no. It's real. - [Shaka] Oh, so you're mixing gin? - Yeah, yeah, they make the gin in the room just over there. The local resident gin expert is gonna come down, he's gonna talk us through the history of it, and, like, show us how to make some gin. - I never would have imagined I'd travel five minutes out of my house, and go to some mad basement - Right? - to make some of your own alcohol. - The secrets of West, mate, seriously. - Let's do this. - Hey, guys. I'm Luke. - Nice to meet you, Luke. - Pleasure. - Yes, Luke. Sam. - [Luke] Nice to meet you. - You're the expert? - I've got a little bit of game. - Even with the people who love gin they don't really realize how much of a rich history it does have. - [Shaka] Right, right. - In England you can kinda trace it back to about the 17th century. There's a Dutchman whose really important called William of Orange who came here to become our king. And in 1688, he changed a lot of the laws regarding how you're allowed to become a distiller. - Okay. - And so it really encouraged lots of poor people to start making what was called genever here in the capital. - Crazy. - And it became really popular, really quickly. But, what we had in the early 1700s is people were just drinking so much of it at such high strengths, that they couldn't say it properly and so they would just slur the word gin instead. - Oh wow. Oh wow. - How do you get from genever to gin? - I think by spending a night with that. - [Luke] A lot of effort. - Well, there's so much confidence in the term gin, and then you also have genever. - It's great to know that we've had a drinking problem for about 300 years, now, isn't it? - Yeah, yeah, absolutely. - Fortunately for you, I've got a little sample here. Just for you to have a little try of. - Marvelous. - So what is this then? - This is our little recreation of what it might have been like to drink gin back then. - Was there a different way in which people said cheers back in that time period? - I don't think they were really bothered about that, were they? - They couldn't even say gene... gin. All right. - And that's the thing about back then, they were just drinking and eating like you guys are now. - That's got some spice to it. - [Luke] It's got a nice little kick there, doesn't it? Yeah, absolutely. - Is that peppery? - It's got some cayenne pepper in there. - [Sam] Yeah, it does. - To kind of like replicate this burn. To try and make more money they would add loads of water to the spirit they've got, so it would then lose a lot of it's flavor. Actually, rather than use juniper, most of the time, they used turpentine oil. - Wow. - To kind of replicate that. Turps has got this compound called penine that's in juniper as well, so it's kinda a similar flavor. - [Sam] Right. - If you're lucky, they'd add cayenne pepper to it, to kind of replicate that burn. - Wow, okay. - Although sometimes they just used sulfuric acid. - What? - And soap. Drinking drain cleaner, - Wow, man. not exactly - What? - the best idea in our world. - They were heavy times, right? - It was so harsh to drink this stuff. By the time we get to 1751, they drank eleven million gallons for the year. - No, man. - Now most of that was in London. So that works out to about 63 liters of gin for every man, woman and child living in the capital. Which is probably why 15,000 people died that year as well. - Yeah. - Right, so can you tell me exactly how you guys make gin? - I can actually do you one better. Because if we go next door now I can show you the whole process from start to finish. - [Shaka] Sick. - Let's do it. - Mate, let's go. - Nice. - This is like a laboratory right now. - I'm telling you, there's so much we can do. So, these are our three pot stills. So we got Copernicus the 2nd and 3rd. So they're two 30 liter stills. And King Henry behind them. Which is a 400 liter still. - Wow. - [Luke] So these pot stills are all we need to make gin. - Right. - So we're gonna start of with our neutral spirits. So, it's 96%, we're gonna add some water to take it to 55, so it's nice and safe for us. And now we're taught how to make it, let's go and actually try some flavors and create some gin next door as well. - Sick, let's do it. - Amazing. - Let's head out of this room here guys. - After you, bro. - So these are our raw botanicals that we want to start off with for when we distill them next door. So we got various different options here. I guess most crucially we got some juniper berries as well. So this is the ingredient that we have to use in gin. So what I would do is just grab one of them as well. Have a little smell. So that's the key. That's what every gin producer has to start with. - That makes so much sense now. - Here we got some pink pepper corns as well. I'd grab a few between your fingers and just crush them. Quite perfumey in some ways. Then we got things like our orange peel here. They have this lovely sort of marmalade quality to them. - That's gorgeous. - Yeah, yeah. - It's like smelling in its raw form. This is definitely one of my favorites. This is Cassia bark. - Cassia bark. - This kinda smells like cinnamon that's been taking steroids. - It's just much stronger a flavor. It's like fireball whiskey, big red chewing gum. - Yeah, big red chewing gum, exactly. - Really Christmasy. - Pow. - We're gonna take those raw botanicals and we're gonna distill them. So behind you, we go to these fountains here. And so these are all those flavors distilled into an alcoholic form. - Okay. - And so we got a white pepper fountain here. And we're gonna have a little try of this now, and see how it translates from it's raw form into its distilled form. - Sick. That's mad, I can't actually quite place I can't place it. It's got a kick. It's got some spice to it. - The next one is gonna be a little big different for us. So, we're gonna try some Yorkshire gold tea this time. - Okay. - And so, this is really gonna taste like alcoholic tea own its own, and it's absolutely brilliant if you want to get involved in that shocker. - Yeah, yeah, yeah. - It's gonna have a little bit of bitterness, a little bit of spice as well. - Okay, thank you. - And it's as simple as throwing some Yorkshire gold teabags into my alcohol and then distilling later on. - [Shaka] Give me your vision, what can you see, what can you? - That is breakfast tea. That is - Yeah? - That is just an alcoholic's breakfast. That's amazing. It's like a really, nicely steeped, fresh tea, no milk, just like. - I get what you mean about the smell. There's definitely a scent of the breakfast tea. - I mean, I think that's nicer than normal tea, actually. - It's got booze in it, of course it it. - Of course, yeah. - That is so mad, - Really, really fresh. - How it tastes like like that breakfast tea is crazy. - Far away there on the bottom we've got some asparagus. - Okay. - Now this is gonna blow, - That's different, right? - This is gonna blow your mind, this one. - I like the reaction to that. Okay. - Yeah, all right. - There is no getting around that it's gonna smell and taste like alcoholic asparagus, but when we taste this, what you're gonna get is this lovely, sort of smooth, creamy, buttery texture to it, as well. - [Shaka] I like how you describe this as like a buttery texture. I've never heard that term being used before. - Wow, again, that is just fresh asparagus, isn't it? - Absolutely, blows your mind that it's so different when you taste it. - Slightly fresh and green, but not, I mean, not as fresh as the smell, at all. - [Luke] Absolutely, yeah. - Go on, do some of that. - That, yeah, it's very vegetabley. - You wouldn't think that was 42% alcohol because it's so smooth. - No. That's dangerous, I mean, all of these are kind of dangerous. - Like, I can imagine me getting accustom to this flavor because it's like I'm on a country farm, I'm listening to Miles Davis. - Yeah. It's on the rocks. I'm having a nice, long conversation with a friend of mine I haven't seen in a while, and this is, the aroma and the flavor, that's currently in my head and on my tongue, it's good man, it's really, really nice. - [Luke] So, we're gonna blend up a bottle now with the flavors that we've chosen. We wanna grab three glasses. We'll have a little taste. - All right, gin, gin. - Gin, gin. - Gin, gin. - That's fantastic. - Real easy going down. - That's really good. - That is, that is glorious. - It's weird, like a I said before, I wasn't mad, crazy gin fan before, but when you break it down, it becomes an entirely different experience. - Absolutely. - Sure, all right, thank you, fantastic. - [Shaka] Approved by the Ginstitute. I love it, get it. Thank you so much, bro. - No way. - Much appreciated. - Absolute pleasure. - And for me, I am kind of hungry, and we have been in this basement about how long? - Days, weeks, I don't even know what day it is anymore. I'm like this is the basement of timelessness, isn't it, yeah. - [Shaka] I need to get some food. You want some food? - Right, mate, mate I've got a spot I know if - Yeah? - I've got a proper little gem. I'm not gonna tell you any more. Just trust me, all right? - I'm scared. - Yeah? - I'm hungry, so, man, let's just do it. - Thank you so much. - Nice to meet you guys. - Legend. - Enjoy your dinner. - Take it easy. - We'll see you again. - Take care. All right, so it's starting to get a little late, and all this gin drinking has gotten me super hungry. - Your first big gin experience how did you feel? - I feel good, I feel good. As a rum man, I felt like I was being forced into a world that I didn't want to venture in, but, now that - Okay. - I'm in this world, I'm like, good addition to my palette of alcohol. So I appreciate it. - Just like a little, an extra flavor in there, right? - Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. - Yeah, yeah, yeah. - [Shaka] Where Sam's taking me next, he says I'm gonna need an appetite. - [Sam] I am taking you to a wonderful little, hidden gem. It's a Portuguese social club. - All right. - [Sam] They're gonna have meat on sticks. They're gonna have beer. They're gonna be shouting. It's gonna be fantastic. You with me? - Let's do this. - Do it. - Let's do this one. You first? - Yeah, you first. - I think it's you first. - Okay. - Yeah, let's do it. - Right? - Those steaks are ridiculous. Walking into the club is like stepping through a door into another universe. It's originally a place for ex-pats and authentic Portuguese experience. There's space for about 200 people on golden chairs and big tables together. All eating, drinking, dancing, laughing, it's like one big crazy family dinner. Right, so what are we having? Do you know what you're gonna order? - , but we're gonna get the good stuff. - Hey. - And how are you, sir? Excellent. - Your first time coming? - It is our first time here, yeah. - It's his first time, yeah man. - Would you like to order? I have good food. - [Shaka] I mean, I'm happy with steak. - Yeah, yeah, definitely want some steak. - And steak and more steak. - One portion of ribs, - One portion of steak, one portion of ribs, one portion of chicken in Portuguese spiced sausage because - [Shaka] Thank you bro. - Thank you very much. - Why am I having so much fun? - I mean, I just get all the meat. - Right, cool, so here's to trying new things, - Yes. - and finding out new spots in your hometown to celebrate. - Here's to that man, cheers. - Exactly. - [Waiter] Here you go, boys. Finally. - This is sardines. - That's how big sardines are? - Oh, my god. - The last one for you, yes. - Is that four piece chicken? - Yes. We have rice as well. - You are spoiling us. - I think I can help you to eat. I'm hungry. - Okay, you help me. Join, yeah, you gonna sit. - [Shaka] You got chicken, you got fries, you got sardines, you got chorizo, you got steak, you got rice, and ribs, bro. - Everything. - Can we. - Can we go, can we go? We in? Yeah. We're in, go. And they brought it out and just - No, they did, you know. - Oh. - They did. - It's good here. - Here's to doing things you ain't never done before, and enjoying it. - Here's to that, man, yeah. - Come on, bro. - Yeah, baby. - Listen to it. I am pleasantly surprised, bro. - Yeah. - Genuinely. I am pleasantly surprised. - It was a good one, right? - It really was. It really was. It's amazing how you can live in this town for, like, what, your whole life? - Yeah, your whole life. - And never know it's like little gems like this, like, right underneath your nose. So, brother, thank you so much. - It's been an absolute pleasure. - It has, catch you later, bro. The food was the perfect way to finish the first day. I've started seeing things I've never seen before from delving into the huge culture mix of the area, tasting the authentic foods, discovering upcycling. It's amazing to see community and commerce working side by side. There's such a brilliant diversity to the surroundings, and art, people and creation, and it's been an experience to see it like this for the first time. I've even been swayed into liking gin. It's only the start. I can't wait for what I'm yet to discover. Here's to doing things you ain't never done before and enjoying it. - Here's to that, man, yeah. - Come on, bro. - Yeah.