Snapshot: Broadway Market

Sunday, 27 July 2014

I was completely charmed by Broadway Market, surprise surprise. Never mind the hike across town in the blustery wind, as I walked up Benjamin Close the heady aromas of spice, barbecue and coffee were enough to woo me. Sold! Broadway Market is an Aladdin's cave of culinary treats; it was tough even choosing what to try (1st world problems, much?)! The brilliant thing is that it's a bit more manageable in size (as opposed to the oppression of Borough Market) and has a more communal vibe. If you live down Hackney way, as more and more hipster gen-y types are favouring, Broadway Market is surely a highlight of the week. By the end of it I was barely mobile, but grinning ear to ear. 

As a photoessay of sorts, here are the providores worth a mention:

On a rare blue sky day, we rug up and take a stroll...

Climpson & Sons

67 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH

Now this is a sight to behold...empty space. I kid you not, the photo I actually took was just of the backs of about 20 heads. Not so good (but good for them!) Source: Two Lights

Climpson & Sons are perhaps a tad overrepresented at Broadway Market with both a stall and café in prime position. With little more than a stools by the window and a La Marzocco coffee machine running flat chat. Climpson & Sons is committed to delivering proper coffee to the Eastside masses. And in case you were wondering, yes they roast their beans. Grab a takeaway and make yourself cosy in London Fields for the people watching. Don't expect much in the way of nibblies though, but why would you when the market awaits!

An exceedingly frothy cappucino, and a pretty decent brew all things considered (the queues 4 deep in the café perhaps?). It ranks third on the list for me ;)
Climpson & Sons on Urbanspoon

In their enthusiasm they have penned a sign for WILD GARLIG (yes, a 'Swedish' varietal of garlic shoots...)! But who cares when the going is this fresh. And a bunch you say? It's whatever you want it to be...

Cheese please: having a laff over the plenitude of cheese and happiness in this 2x2

F. Cooke

9 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH

Like a moth to a flame, I was there

Walking up to the immaculately polished front windows of F. Cooke, a rather comforting feeling comes over you, like the fold of a doona. This East London institution established in 1900 (no kidding) is still dishing up hot and jellied eels just like they used to. The floor is sprinkled with sawdust and the decor hasn't changed for eons, it certainly stands at odds to the modern hipster vibes everywhere else in Hackney. And another thing, how can you fault a recipe that has been perfected for more years than you've spent on the planet?! I used to be a stickler for Japanese style smoked eel but I might have been turned to the dark side. 

This dish changed all my preconceived notions about the goodness of eel, I have basically only eaten smoked or cooked Asian style so this was unexpectedly good. The eel was gorgeous and tender in a rather mild sauce so the meat is definitely the star of the show. And at that price in the most expensive city in the world? You'd be crazy not to come back

F. Cooke on Urbanspoon

Fresh mushies from the aptly named Sporeboys (nailed it with the name alone!). If I had any room left after that scrumptious eel dish I would have demolished a mushroom sandwich. It looked fantastisch

Meringue Girls

After Sporeboys, come Meringue Girls. This cake looks suspiciously familiar - Black Star Pastry anyone? If those toppings are anything to go by, the things looks damned delicious!

For some random reason I chanced on Meringue Girls on the interwebs before I left for the UK. If there's one thing I've noticed, they certainly have a knack for presentation (and piping, apparently). With their signature droplet meringues in a multitude of pastel shades, they've now published a cookbook which is making small waves over at I mean who knew that meringues alone were marketable. They've created a sugared-egg-white fuelled frenzy over here (the kids have gone berserk).

More colour-ways than a Pantone flip book

Like a medieval smorgasbord the choice are abundant and heavy on the olives

Hansen & Lydersen

Hypnotising: they seem to know what they're doing around here...

Todd Selby smashed it out of the park with his video featuring Ole M Hansen of Hansen & Lydersen back in the day. I was so impressed I even did a post (#regram) about it over here. Hansen & Lydersen specialise in smoked salmon based on a recipe developed back in 1923. The salmon are farmed between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic and prepared within 48 hours of being caught to ensure (extreme) freshness. The end result after being cold smoked with juniper and beech wood is quite frankly, unbelievably good. The supermarket versions just don't cut the mustard.

A rather tiny and expensive morsel of some of the best salmon I've ever tasted. This version is oily, with a smoothness that lolls on the tongue. You can tell this is the good stuff because it doesn't have the pungency of 'fish'

Did I just hear/smell/see spit roast?! I think I did!!!


Smile, you're on candid camera! It's like bunting central over here...

Funny that, how I always gravitate to sweets. Violet Cakes was another feature in Todd Selby's 2nd book the Edible Selby. The range of baked goods here at the stall and their shop in Hackney is all rather impressive with enough cupcakes, cinnamon scrolls and whoopie pies to make your eyes water (they're happy tears). Cate Ptak and her team are a favourite at the market, with their sweet treats consistently selling out. Everything just looks so moreish!

A red velvet beauty of a cake in my hot little hand. Can I just say that I am properly stuffed at this point?! The cake was simply divine, nice and moist. The cream cheese icing, although delicious was probably a little bit too generous/heavy handed?

Again, I am astounded to find out this is actually a thing. Marshmallows sold in such a way, it completely blows my mind. Made by the London Marshmallow Company, no less! They took marshmallow flavour and texture to a whole other delightful (and squidgy) level

The Ginger Beer Engine: locally made in Hackney. If only it was about 20 degrees hotter, then it would have really hit the spot. Delicious and buzzy in the mouth nonetheless!

There's always room for the British classics. Scotch eggs and pork pies do a roaring trade at Finest Fayre. And who would have thought, there's even a market for a vegetarian version. It goes against everything a real Scotch egg stands for...MEAT

A classic basket-case, well that's what I felt like after I rolled out of the place

Thanks Broadway Market, it was fun :D
And thank you for reading!


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