Excerpt from Dallas Morning News Jan 9 2013
"London may be my favorite city. I love going there for theater, and I love Notting Hill, my favorite neighborhood anywhere in the world. I especially love my all-time favorite pub and inn, Portobello Gold, owned and operated by the inimitable Mike Bell. (For those who haven’t seen it, Notting Hill strongly resembles, in every conceivable way, the neighborhood that bears its name in the movie Notting Hill.) "
Arts and Feature Writer
Sunday Arts Columnist
The Dallas Morning News
Subject: my compliments to your wonderful hotel
Thank you for creating and maintaining a place that is welcoming, cosmopolitan, accessible, accommodating and most of all fun in one of the best areas of London I can imagine as a starting off point for an adventurous foreigner. From the moment I booked my room, from California, with Hayley, to the moment I left, knowing my seventeen-year-old daughter would be staying another three nights, I experienced fun, conviviality, and of course excellent food, some of which was not on the menu. Everyone on your staff was willing to go the extra mile and then some; amazing people who enjoy what they are doing and are curious, insightful, aware, entertaining. As an employer with a small business, I feel entitled to tell you that you are lucky to have this gaggle of energetic young people in your employ. I watched them after hours, cleaning up the bar/restaurant, and I was amazed. I have worked (long ago) in that realm. You are not watching them; no one is watching them, and they are so thorough, capable and sweet to boot.
At Portobello Gold there is an atmosphere of what I can only call possibility. Things are happening here and you can feel it. The people who work here exude a sense of awareness that the world is larger than their tv sets might suggest and that they are in waiting to find out what lies beyond this particular moment's reach. Their enthusiasm and their curiosity spill over into what some might deem the mundane tasks of wiping down a counter-top or rinsing out the glasses. Never underestimate the importance of mundane tasks. (I wish my own children were more adept at such things.)
It was fun to meet your lovely wife for all of fifteen minutes. I hope if you ever come to California (we do have that wine country thing here, you know) you will call us. We have some young children too. Michael, take care of these kids you have found and brought together (they think they're grown-ups and they kind of are, but what would you say?):
That reminds me--Please tell Dana thank you. I did not see her before I left. And David aka Boss is one of the truly nicest people I have ever met. Please tell him I said so.
Subject: Recent stay
I wanted to write you a quick note to let you know that both Chuck & I had a very pleasurable stay at your Inn. Both your establishment and your staff were greatly appreciated during our weekend stay. I would also like to mention that Alex was extremely helpful and professional not only to us but to other guests that we had invited to drink & dine with us. I look forward to having the opportunity to stay at your place again on my next trip to London.
Just wanted to let you know that Alex and the crew took very good care of Chris and me on our recent stay. And I wanted to thank you personally for providing the great weather.
Oh well, the rest of the visit was great. Flying Ryan Air out of Hahn was very easy and cheap and I think I'll plan a short visit again soon. I'll be sure to coordinate well in advance so I can get to see you.
Hope all is still going well.
Thank you so much for a fantastic time on Saturday. It couldn't have been
Sarah looked after us all brilliantly, the food was great and the room looked really lovely. And you very patiently put up with us until midnight!
Many thanks from us all.
Thanks for your help. I spent a very comfortable night here.
Sam was a prince and even though he was quite busy with the bar when I arrived, he carried my suitcase upstairs for me. Alex was also extremely nice and accomodating and Anna was charming.
I'm very glad it worked out, even though it was for a night. I hope to be back fairly soon.
Please let Mike know his staff is excellent.
- Review from Chris O
I met the Portobello Gold clan at the Yelp birthday party and have since gone to the Pub a few times. It really is an amazing place and all the reviews in the world couldn't do it justice.
I love the decor and the vibe, which is very inviting. I certainly hope some day to rent out the terrace room for some special occasion. For now, though, you can find me on the ground floor slurping tequila and enjoying the hell out of my time at Portobello Gold.
· Review from Arun K.
I've been an on/off regular at the Gold since the early '90's when I lived round the corner on Chepstow Villas. Its a one of a kind original notting hill stylee hang out. This was where Daniel Craig worked behind the bar back in the day and where Bill Clinton popped in for a pint when he was the most powerful man in the world. The people in the bar are an eclectic mix of the old and new portobello and its a great place to bump into people who you haven't seen for years. The restaurant is magical - a real tropical garden vibe and there are nooks and crannies to hide away with someone special. The wine list is extensive with some really good choices. And there is also a full cocktail list! The Gold is rightly famous for its oysters but my fave dish over the years has to be the nachos! There is also wifi and you can even move in and stay upstairs. All in all The Gold is a legend and a must stop when your in the area!
· Review from Laura N.
Sydney New South Wales
An independent pub on Portobello Road? A B&B style room for £74? The best margarita and nachos this side of the pond? An extensive tequila list? An indoor tropical paradise? Mulled wine? Attractive bar staff? An owner with charisma that would make Obama jealous? A loo that has been loved by the likes of William Jefferson Clinton? Free wi-fi?
I'm just not sure what's not to love about this local gem. (Maybe that I don't live next door. Or upstairs on the roof terrace, for that matter.)
I'd say that this pub on Portobello is a *must stop* full stop. Then I'd say it three times fast, because Portobello Gold is the epitome of a 5-star establishment in my book. No pomp and circumstance, just a low key local with fair prices, just enough camp to be cute, and a family feel. What's not to love?
Mike, thanks for the wonderful stay. I'm back in Calfornia now, a little less fun but a lot warmer ;). Good luck on your B&B internet venture and I'll be sure to recommend your place to anyone traveling to London.