THE SANDCASTLE’S Michael Bell was the owner of Notting Hill’s famous Portobello Gold pub, restaurant and hotel for 32 years. A descendent of artists Gwen John and Augustus John, he has had strong ties to Pembrokeshire all his life.
THE PORTOBELLO GOLD was one of Notting Hill’s jewels in the Crown and credited by some for having started the whole Notting Hill craze. It was an eccentric and informally elegant place that effortlessly and seamlessly set the pace for Notting Hill trends, decade after decade. It had the ability to adapt and remain fresh to the local community with its faithful, eclectic clientele as well as to the bastion of more international followers. Not to mention the Gold’s stellar staff: The Portobello Gold was known far and wide as a haven for those who wanted award-winning food and wine served with passion and personality.
It all began when The Princess Alexandra, “the Alex”, as it was affectionately known, was laid to rest in January 1985 and the Portobello Gold was created. In the beginning, wishing to distance himself from the Hell’s Angel reputation of the Alex, Michael re-established the traditional Sunday roasts … then introduced London to the oyster-shooter and to draught-wheat beer. The Gold partied through 32 Notting Hill Carnivals.