Portobello Road is always bustling with tourists, but within this bubble is a plethora of independent stores that hold the community together. We sat down with Julian, creative director of Kuro, to talk about Notting Hill, pastries and more.
Hey Julian, thanks for sitting down with us. How long have you been in the area?
The coffee shop opened two years ago and as a local, I had always been captivated by the look of this particular building. I used to have numerous meetings with different people and desperately needed a coffee shop that offered a casual atmosphere for these gatherings.
Disappointed by the lack of options, I came up with the idea of an independent coffee shop. When the building became available, I seized the opportunity.
My vision was clear, I wanted something refreshing and simple. And so, KURO Coffee was born. As a local, I longed for a welcoming space where neighbours could effortlessly drop in and unwind.
Any fond or funny memories about being here?
One of the fondest memory we have was the transformation of the building when we decided to paint it all white. When we first acquired the building, it was a different colour. It had a brown hue, with exposed bricks. It was magical to witness our vision come to life. Our coffee shop has played a role in bringing together the vibrant Notting Hill Gate village community. Through our establishment, I've had the pleasure of meeting so many great people who have become regular customers and it has evolved into a beautiful community hub.
I hope he won’t mind us saying, but Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has become a great regular at the coffee shop. And whilst I’m totally not tech-savvy, when he was pointed out to me, I couldn’t help but admire him from far for all he’s achieved.
Who doesn’t know what Instagram is? I think he would make a super intriguing dinner guest (if only I had the guts to say hi and invite him) and I’d love to know his perspective of Kuro.
What are some of your favourite local hideouts?
I am really fond of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. It’s walking distance from Kuro and home which is super convenient. It’s our regular spot for runs and dog walks and I absolutely love watching the change of seasons. The best time to head there is 6 am before all the tourists,
cyclists, runners and everybody else invades - it feels like I have a huge garden all to myself.
I don’t normally shop for clothes as I’ll admit, I’m more of an online shopper. However, I do have a favourite supermarket that I absolutely love – Bayley and Sage. They offer a wide variety of high-quality products, especially when it comes to cheese and ham. I must mention their phenomenal soups, which I go back for all the time and, now that there is a new one near High St Kensington, I often head there from my morning run - it’s all about balance.
I’m totally bias but I’m happiest at Kuro Eatery on a Friday night. The atmosphere is incredible as it's filled with locals and friends enjoying their drinks and meals. Elsewhere I adore Franklin’s Wine (opposite Paul Smith) - they have an amazing wine selection and great knowledge.
Favourite local place that everyone knows?
Can I say Franklin’s Wine again? It’s the best!
Favourite local place that no one knows?
A new hidden gem I’ve recently discovered is called Essenza. An authentic Italian restaurant
near Notting Hill Bookshop. Very casual and intimate, perfect for dinner in the neighbourhood
3 local creatives that we should be aware of?
I must admit that I don't personally know many local creative individuals except for myself, Adam Mosseri and our head chef, Andrianos Poulis. Andrianos has been working with us since the beginning of KURO Eatery. He never fails to impress us with his creative menu design and dishes. His meticulous attention to detail and understanding of flavours brings a unique dining experience to our Eatery. It’s an honour to work with him.
Little known fact about you?
I don’t like or drink coffee but I own a coffee shop and I publish a magazine all about Dogs!
Quick Fire Round:
Your favourite pastry or dish from the counter/menu?
I like the ham and cheese pastry from our bakery.
Your favourite song to work to?
Boyish by Japanese Breakfast
The strangest coffee or food combo that you enjoy.
Mayo and kimchi ketchup
Ideal sandwich filling?
Mortadella, cheese and mayo
Go-to after-work meal?
I like our flatbread topped with goat cheese, drizzled in hot honey from KURO Eatery.
Thanks, Julian! Finally, could you lend some parting words of wisdom?
This may sound cliche but I genuinely believe that anyone has the capability to achieve whatever they set their mind to in life. You have the potential to turn anything into reality. Taking that leap of faith and giving it a try is essential. Without trying, we will never know the outcome. It's an exciting journey of exploration and you never know where it might lead you.
5 Hillgate St, London W8 7SP
3 Hillgate St, London W8 7SP
95 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3JZ
We visited Tessa of Layla's Bakery in the midst of morning rush-hour to talk about pastries, pastries, and even more pastries.