This weekend was a rather superlative one, and I spent most of Saturday full of admirational adjectives. The first recipient was Broadway Market -- a little gem hidden by London Fields in Hackney. It's a much more manageable size than Borough market, but also filled with all manner of edible delicacies. The road itself is also full of character -- trendy looking (non-chain!) coffee shops intermingle with an old-fashioned pie, mash and jellied eels joint, a pub with a lengthy Belgian beer menu, a hardware shop, etc.
Last year, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Raymond Blanc's The Restaurant, and developed a particular spot for the Ghanaian couple running Spinach and Agushi (the latter being a kind of West African soup, apparently). Well, it turns out they are still in business with a stall at this very market.
We sampled a "small" portion (£5.50) of their mixed selection. It was huge and tasty, though I think this kind of food does work better in a street stall setting than a fancy restaurant with drizzles of this and foams of that. There was chicken in a more-ish peanut sauce, spicy kidney beans, contrasting sweetness of plantain, rice, a meat stew, and a sprinkling of peppery rocket leaves on top.
Ever a sucker for pancakes, I also couldn't resist a ham-egg-and-cheese combo from the neighbouring stall (£4.50). They asked if I'd prefer emental or cheddar, and I chose the former for authenticity's sake, but was taken aback once the pancake was ready to be charged an extra 30 pence for the privilege (though admittedly this was mentioned in the small print of the menu). It was a good crepe though, made with traditional sarasin flour, and the ham was good quality thickly cut stuff.
Alas, that left us far too full to contemplate any of the other delicacies on offer, such as wild mushrooms on toast (though we did by some mushrooms to use at home), or the rows of scrumptious looking quiches and cakes. But, hey that just gives us the excuse for a return visit, and soon.
We did have some well-kept ale at The Dove pub on the market though. It's a nice, wood-covered pub with a slight warren-like quality, a menu of Belgian beers as well as several real ales on tap and some rather appetising looking food.
Broadway Market, Saturdays 9am-5pm, London Fields, E8; Tube: Bethnal Green, or London Fields rail; www.broadwaymarket.co.uk