Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Broadway Market - East London

Welcome to the Broadway Market, a cornerstone of East London since 1888. As I rode the bus toward another food adventure at E5 Bakehouse, my friend and I passed the street above. She told me about the market's varied vendors and stalls and said I needed to visit. When she heard I was coming back to London Saturday morning, I was urged to hurry to the Broadway Market. And hurry I did! Considering I just landed from Zurich, I made remarkable time.
Let's welcome East London's unusual denizens. The vintage and used clothing racks attract the wild and free to the staid and frugal. Clothes ranges from brightly knit threads to sturdy Barbour jacket to denim Levi jackets. Further up there was even a stall selling vintage ties and mens bathing suits. I may have even spotted a vintage 40s bathing suit from Jantzen (made in England).
However, food was my mission. It's always my mission. It's true I was hunting for my friend, but why let a small thing like that sidetrack me from what matters? Here's a colorful stall from Gujarati Rasoi advertising traditional indian food. Bhujia, a fried treat consisting of gram flour, spices, and vegetables, were £1, so I grabbed a quick snack and kept hunting.
My friends were waiting for the above to happen. A band was promoting an event next Saturday using Swing Patrol London dancers. They were taking their sweet time moving to Broadway Market and I was getting antsy. There was so much to be explored here and I was waiting for some sort of parade (note: it wasn't a parade).
At the topmost point of Broadway Market, near London Fields, hang a right for more stalls. My hunger could be sated and I was close enough to the road to hear the band coming. I headed straight to Don Arancini for their risotto balls. Two flavors especially caught my eye - the chorizo, saffron, and chili and the goat's cheese, sun dried tomato and basil. However, there is a deal. If you buy three, it's £3.50 where as one is £1.50. What a great deal! I asked for a suggestion and he went with a new selection, the feta, olive, and spinach. I left happy with my three arancinis and more red onion jam.
It's easy to get sidetracked by Olympic fever and a sign boasting that Usain Bolt ate here. My hands were rather full with arancinis, but they were advertising plantain. I hadn't had those in a while, so I inquired about getting those as a side. This option isn't advertised, but I was informed it would be £2.50. Once agreed, they took a small takeout box and loaded it up with plantain. They were sticky, slightly sweet, and could be eaten with my fingers. I was very happy.
Whereas the parade was lame, the ice cream wasn't. Chateaux Gelato appeared with their bicycle toting frozen sweets. I had to have the orange zest, rosemary, and honey ice cream. A bit of citrus, but something lurking beneath, something herbaceous. Rosemary added a great balancing touch.
I was slowly filling up on savory and sweet morsels. Then this pie shop temped me with their inexpensive mini-pies. One apple and blackberry pie was inhaled.
The Northfield Farm allowed me to stand in front of the grilling hamburgers and sizzling bacon smoke. I would have loved to sample their menu, but I was too full.
Same thing here. I loved Scotch Eggs and they even had a Thai Red Curry Pork Scotch egg, but I passed. I want to consume immediately and not wait. The food was meant to be enjoyed willingly and the full stomach dost protest.
Slices of wild board, venison and blue goat's cheese hard cured meats don't count.
Roast Hog was at the market.
Musicians were playing the blues on the street corner. One of them works at Passing Clouds.
So the market comes to an end. It did wonderful work- providing me something sweet, something savory, and something to keep away drafts (Harris Tweeds, etc). If you're in London, definitely check out this market.

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