a very chilled food market
Leaving London in the evening by plane is trully a treat. The Thames forms a sleek black ribbon with white glistening lights along its banks. Tiny red dots mark the sky-high peaks of The City and whilst you gaze down at the scenery, you are oblivious to how busy and loud London can be. And how very toothsome, tasty treats are hiding in every corner.
I hadn’t realised how much I missed London, its energy and colour, the many friends I got a chance to catch up with over many cups of coffee. And yes, I’m really happy London can really do coffee nowadays. Don’t take it as a given, I spent years and years that people behind the counters registered in their heads my cappuccino order as a cup of tea. There are many brilliant independent coffee shops out there. Starting from coffee importers and grinders to boutique coffee shops all around the city. Cappuccino no longer includes over-boiled froth, no burned beans ground for your espresso either. Bliss!
I enjoyed a really good one in Fuckoffee at Bermondsey street, their organic beans are sourced from Papua New Guinea. Great coffee, simply great, well-balanced, delicate coffee. Coffee quality aside, I believe the guys must have the happiest and friendliest staff in London. Let’s face it, it is quite liberating to use the F word whenever the f*k you please and can actually f*cking joke about it. Their loyalty card bits any other in town, hands down. Check them out here.
Of course brunch is going strong in London. I wonder how many hens are on overtime just for this sublime all day breakfast experience. I went eat yourself English on this one and enjoyed a hearty full English breakfast at the Front Room cafe, with mushrooms, hash browns, beans and all. I wish I could go back at Stroud Green road, with a fairy park pass, walk in and out every restaurant for a week. Finsbury park always was a cool place for food, from the colourful groceries to restaurants and all these cosy culinary gems that keep on popping up. Certainly worth a stroll.
But let’s get a little bit more central. Undoubtedly your path will guide you there too. No matter where you are strolling in the center, head to China town if you want a quick, honest meal. It makes for an easy lunch or a fun dinner . An old time classic for soup on the go is Wong Kei (very rude staff). Szechuan cuisine is established even in the most popular china town eateries, so if you like spicy or just something not typically Chinese give it a try. To enjoy dinner, go to Manchurian legends (very polite staff), it’s just behind the main road and they have a wide selection of Chinese street food on their menu. Now, if you find yourselves strolling east towards Liverpool street, go for My Old Place, (seriously rude stuff) but the food is great. From skewers to braised aubergines or salty squid you will not be disappointed. Don’t go rush hour without a booking though, you will be queuing forever. (I did, it was all worth it)
London of course would never be London without a visit to a good old food market on a Sunday. Don’t go to Borough market, unless of course you want to rub shoulders with strangers whilst you munch on your pork and apple sauce sandwich. Head the opposite way, on the right hand side of London bridge towards Berdmonsey High street, follow the rail tracks, the market is just underneath, here.
The Ropewalk, otherwise known as Maltby Street market, it is indeed as good as I thought it would be. Maltby street is not new on the foodie trail, it still feels like a well kept secret. Nested just below the rail tracks, it is whole sellers space during the week transformed to busy cooking stalls during the weekend.
You can walk into Lasso for a drink or just browse at the many wonderful items they stock. Most of the pop up sellers have stalls and chairs where you can sit and enjoy your freshly cooked food.
What to eat? You will be spoiled for choice. Falafel is a must have if you are a fun of middle eastern cuisine. London has been going crazy on waffles and their devilish sweet toppings. Fried chicken stalls are putting KFC to shame, the butters are as ingenious as the makers, home dried seasonings to sprinkle on top. If you are a true fast food lover you will not be disappointed.
As for me, well I’m a well known carnivore, smokey smells lured me in and there was nothing that would make my head turn away from the steak! Juicy, smoked, succulent medium rare steak on top of a bed of crispy fries and a generous zigzag of horseradish sauce, yum!
I was in for a real treat! One amazing stall full of Greek wines, beers and refreshments under the banner of a cute donkey in top hat!No other than Maltby and Greek.
The staff behind the stall is really friendly and you are more than welcome to try both the reds and whites. There is Assyrtiko, Athiri, Moschofilero and Malagouzia, some of our best whites, as well as deep, rich reds like Agiorgitiko and my old time favourite Xinomavro. It made me really happy to see such an amazing focus on Greek wine. You see, the best wine production in Greece comes from small wineries. Maltby and Greek have introduced a great wine selection, rich reds and fruity whites and most of the labels are organic.
I went for something different, I tried a wonderfully light sparkling wine from Karanikas estate. You wouldn’t have thought Greece does sparkling do you? Well, here it is, straight from Karanikas estate and it’s very easy to drink on its own.
If you fancy, you can grab a nice sparkling for home. This sparkling is great to accompany a cheese platter or simply drink it instead of a white wine with your favourite meal. I left Maltby and Greek with a hint of jealousy, why hadn’t they been there before I left London? No holding any grudges though. It’s good London can finally enjoy some of the Greek finest wines and I know where to get mine when I visit: here. They do deliveries of course so you can have it straight to your door.
And here I am back in Athens, getting ready for great new projects. Stay put! or just subscribe to get new stories straight into your inbox.
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From Athens with love,
PS Beware London, I will be back soon!by