23 July 2013

zen in the city

It has been a fun-fuelled few days - from team bonding at Vinopolis to the company summer ball to girls night out - and I definitely felt like I needed a day of rest on Sunday. What better place to go than the amazing Book & Kitchen in Notting Hill (between Ladbroke Grove & Westbourne Park tube stations), a true hidden gem which Asad and I stumbled upon on a trip to Notting Chill way back in April. It is a genuine little oasis from the busy lives we lead in and around London town and we couldn't wait to go back and visit the lovely Muna for some zen-time. Book & Kitchen is relatively new (opened in March 2013) and I wanted to capture why I think it's really worth a visit.

wearing | dress, bag (Zara), boots & frill-edged pink socks (Topshop), rings (Accessorize), watch (Storm), bangle (present from mum)

Above photos by +Asad and below by me

The concept behind Book & Kitchen is simple - it merges owner Muna's love for books with delicious food. Primarily, it is a bookshop. As you walk into the front door you enter an airy open plan room and immediately something will grab your attention whether it's the books, the beautifully restored and re-upholstered armchairs or the photographs on the walls. The room almost gives off an instant impact of peacefulness, yet has so many intriguing elements to grab your curiousity. It's a place where you can really browse and look or just find a little corner to read and have the afternoon pass by. Plus, if you get your teeth stuck into something good then you can also buy alongside some other fun trinkets like books-necklaces or moustache mugs (below).

The element I like most about Book & Kitchen and what makes it so different is that the books are just as important as the food! In addition to running the bookshop, Muna also makes the most delicious home made food which is served downstairs in the more cafe-like area and in the garden. The idea is that once you've got your good book, you can then sit down and enjoy reading over a summer salad, a savoury muffin or slice of almond cake. Muna also serves fair trade coffee from around the world (my favourite is the Sumatran!) in individual caffetieres as well as a variety of proper teas and juices. On this particular visit, I tried her carrot & spinach muffin and then later had an early dinner of grilled salmon with 3 types of salad - baby gem with green beans and white currants, jewelled couscous with pink peppercorns and a carpaccio of cucumber and radish. Everything was just YUMMY and the perfect summer dish :)

What else does Muna's little bookshop offer? Well, if you hadn't already guessed by my pictures, for me it really shines through how every item has its perfect place in Book & Kitchen. The level of detail just speaks volumes about the amount of love and time it's taken to clearly make this place have its lovely atmosphere. Every picture, book, chair, lamp and pot of flowers has been placed purposefully and with stylish execution. I could (and I'm sure you could too) spend hours just looking around and discovering new elements that make this place a home away from home.

I really like Muna's little hidden zen-space in Notting Hill. If the pictures haven't lured you to pop by and visit yet then I would just say take my word for it: in a busy place like London, places like Muna's are an absolute find when you just want to escape for calm and get some time out to think. If you don't believe me then you'll just have to go and find out for yourself and let me know what you think!

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