Portobello Road is always bustling with tourists, but within this bubble is a plethora of independent stores that hold the community together. In this series, we’re highlighting some of our favourites, starting with our go-to coffee shop: Cable Co.
Hey Ashley, thanks for sitting down with us. How long have you been in the area?
Well, we’ve actually been up in Kensal Rise for the past nine years, and opened the Notting Hill branch two years ago.
What was your journey to start your business?
My friends originally got me involved over 9 years ago while I was an operations manager at Apple, and before that I worked for Hugo Boss for 10 years. It was definitely a steep learning curve and huge change. I used to be one of those people who would order a Starbucks caramel latte. It's great working for yourself, and on the tired days, you know you’ve always got caffeine, which makes things a bit easier. Waking up at half 4, roasting beans, you have coffee.
Any fond or funny memories about being here?
It is really about meeting so many interesting customers, for both good and bad reasons. It’s interesting hearing people’s conversations, especially in such an affluent area, sometimes I think: sounds like a real first world problem!
Also, of course meeting all the other local businesses, Couverture & The Garbstore is great, everyone helps each other out. For example, if we run out of cup carriers we just run next door and vice versa.
It's also interesting hearing stories from both tourists and locals. We have so many regulars as well as flows of tourists. I really didn't expect so many regular locals - I thought it was going to be mainly tourists.
What’s the best thing about working in the neighbourhood?
Dream customers are someone like…(what's his name?) where you can chat, you can be rude to him, he will be rude back but he never changes his coffee order. At the crazy busy times you know you can pull his drink straight away and that saves you a lot of time. My dream customers are the boring ones who never change their order.
What are some of your favourite local hideouts?
Holland Park. You’ve got the tree’d area, and the open space. We would usually walk Lula (our dog) there when we have time. Even if it’s raining, there’s the covered area because she’s very… fair weathered, she doesn’t like the rain.
Couverture & The Garbstore is great, I actually don’t go anywhere else around here, and also Provenance because they support Lula’s feeding habits.
I don’t really go out much around here, but I know a lot of people say Golborne Deli? Apparently, it has a really nice vibe in there, nice wine etc… Also, Gold - it’s so popular you have to book months in advance if you want to go on weekends.
Favourite local place that everyone knows
Sainsbury’s? (laughs), Ceramica Blue, Couverture & The Garbstore, Mikes.
Little known fact about you?
My cousin is Taylor Swift's manager and my other cousin is the drummer of a band called Def Leppard. I used to play international badminton.
Quick Fire Round:
Best coffee roast?
Medium roast Colombian coffee
Best coffee art?
Tourists like the sea horses
Ideal sandwich filling?
I am very boring. It is as simple as sun dried tomato, pesto and mozzarella
Favourite song to prep to?
I sometimes have Massive Attack, Unfinished Sympathy on, or if I'm roasting, I tend to have a podcast called SmartLess on.
Go-to after-work meal?
Either a Mildred's takeaway in Dalston or our local Italian.
Unexpected coffee combo?
Bourbon with orange bitters, coffee and orange zest or an espresso tonic.
Thanks, Ashley! Finally, could you lend some parting words of wisdom?
Don’t believe what you see on TV, running a coffee shop isn't like Gunter from Friends. But doing what you enjoy makes everything easier. If you don’t enjoy it, it’s time to change.
Visit Cable Co.
15 Blenheim Cres, London W11 2EE
We visited Tessa of Layla's Bakery in the midst of morning rush-hour to talk about pastries, pastries, and even more pastries.