In London there is a bookshop with a kitchen where you can try out recipes from the books for sale

Sep 22 2023, 08:09
A gourmet reader's paradise, a peaceful corner that holds niche cookbooks, where you can also stop to taste dishes inspired by the latest published books. The beautiful story of Books for Cooks in Notting Hill.

Colourful, nostalgic, fairytale-like. The 1999 film starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant officially declared it the city's most sentimental district, and indeed between vintage shops and cafés Notting Hill does everything it can to recreate an atmosphere worthy of a romantic comedy. One of London's most unusual bookshops could only have sprung up here forty years ago. A shop specialising in cookery books that also conceals a workshop, in which the dishes described between the pages of the volumes come to life. It's not a real restaurant, you can't order, you go and taste what's there, the fruit of the day's inspiration, unless it's sweets: then the music changes, the tray of cakes is always well assorted, from the famous Victoria sponge, symbol of British pastry, to the chocolate and orange cake.

Books for Cooks, the bookshop with a kitchen in London

A sort of cafeteria set up behind the bookshop, which does not take reservations but always tries to please everyone at lunchtime. And you can also watch cooking demonstrations in the upstairs workshop. This is not surprising considering that the owner Eric Treuille, as well as all the shop's employees, has several catering experiences behind him. He came to Books for Cooks as a customer: crunching through the shelves he met his wife, Rosie Kindersley, whom he won over with patience, continuing to frequent the bookshop assiduously in order to see her again. The owner of the time eventually offered him a job, and after twelve years Eric and Rosie took over the business.

The bookshop kitchen in Notting Hill

Opened in '83 by Heidi Lascelles, the bookshop quickly established itself as a landmark for London chefs and enthusiasts. And also as a safe haven for the hungry, who can rely on express dishes here from Tuesday to Saturday: the team chooses a book from the latest titles and recreates the most curious recipes, ranging from the great classics of French tradition to Indian preparations, Italian or Chinese dishes. To taste at a cost of £5 for two courses, £7 for three. It starts at 12 noon and continues until the food runs out, even serving around forty people a day, including many regulars. There are also themed days: Tuesdays are vegetarian, Fridays are reserved for fish, and the other days range between flavours from around the world. The recipes prepared by Books for Cooks then end up each year in a self-published book collecting the best dishes. 

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