Kensal Rise, London
Up My Street
Mahaneela Choudhury-Reid, or “Neela” as she goes by, is a London-based model and the Editor of COZY MAG, an online music/art/fashion magazine. We love her vibrant, fresh editorial and so we asked her to take us on a tour of her Northwest London ‘hood. Enjoy!
Which city and neighborhood do you live in?
Kensal Rise, West London, UK!
What is the name of your street?
Where do you spend most of your time?
On the weekends, I usually spend my time at home, but if I’m not there, you’ll find me in one of the coffee shops on the rise or record digging in Portobello Market.
What is your favourite local business?
It would definitely have to be Honest Jon’s Records. It’s a record label & store on Portobello. My friend’s father runs the place and you can tell everyone that works there has a real love for music. It was established in 1974, so there’s a lot of history there. It has a great vibe and every time I go, I leave with a record that’s been recommended to me – the majority of the time, it’s something I’ve never heard of before, which I really love.
At Portobello Market, you can get pretty much anything there, and the vendors are always really nice. If you get there nearer the end of the day, you’re more likely to grab a great deal too.
It would definitely have to be Andrews. He’s a customer service assistant at Kensal Green tube station. I used to see him every morning on my way to work and he always had a huge smile on his face. Every day, he writes an inspirational quote on the notice board at the station, and there have been a lot of times I’ve looked at it and felt as though it’s exactly what I needed to see at that point. Andrews is awesome.
On a sunny day, my favorite place would probably be a place known as “Little Venice.” It’s a really beautiful spot where the Grand Union and Regent’s Canal meet. The Grand Union runs really close to where I live, so if it’s not Little Venice, I often try and catch the sunset there too.
On a rainy day, it’s always nice to hit up Cable Coffee Co. It’s a cool little spot with great coffee in Kensal Rise. It’s always super warm and toasty there, literally as soon as you walk in, you get a wave of heat. Perfect for the grey London weather.
I live with my friends now, but my family don’t live too far away from me. Just a five minutes’ walk from my family’s house is a huge royal park known as Richmond Park. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and I think everyone local has a specific spot there that they like the best. Growing up, I always went exploring there. I can’t really describe where my favorite spot is as I only know it once I’m physically walking around there, but watching the sunset in that vast open space is just amazing. It’s also pretty cool if you’re lucky enough to spot a deer or two!
It would have to be Boom Burger on Portobello. They do these amazing “Jerk Burgers” and their plantain fries are the best! They’re always playing reggae music super loud in there too, which makes it a really fun place to go with friends.
Where is your favorite place to drink?
The Island is a great local pub near me, it’s a really relaxed place and they sometimes have a live band which is really cool! I also love Minkies on Kensal Rise. Their freshly squeezed orange juice is the one!
Around Portobello Road you’re spoilt for choice with street art. However, I always especially liked this piece hidden in a little alley near West Hampstead station.
There are so many! Most of them are memories at home though. I remember not too long ago we decided to have a “princess party” and got a bunch of pink balloons, crappy party food, tiaras and basically just belted out cheesy 80s and 90s tunes all night. (We probably had a little too much wine!)
I’m yet to visit a place called The Shop here in Kensal Rise, I’ve heard they do amazing cocktails there!
I also really want to go to this cute little Cafe called Bel + Nev. It’s family owned and I’ve heard great things, so that’s definitely next for me.
My boyfriend took me to Brighton this weekend and I really love it there. It’s less than an hour away by the train and in the summer time it’s lovely. I love the beach and when I can’t get somewhere more tropical (like LA for example) it makes a great alternative!