Itinerary Location: London Fields | Duration: 3 Hours
If you embrace a market like Oliver Twist, all wide-eyed and mouth-agape watching the dancing milkmaids, fishmongers and butchers from the balcony of Mr Bromlow’s Georgian mansion, this itinerary will be right up your street.
Here, we walk you through a morning in London Fields, starting with a bracing swim (yes really) to get your juices flowing before hitting Broadway Market; a veritable cornucopia of fresh and ready-to-eat produce and a one-stop shop for buying everything you need for a Saturday night feast.
We start this epicurean excursion at London Fields Lido. Hop out of bed, tog up and let’s dive in…
➊ TAKE A DIP | 9:30am
If you had a couple more pints than anticipated the previous night, a plunge in a pool is just the ticket. Fortunately, London Fields Lido is heated (to a bath-like 25°C) so it won’t feel a total shock to your system. Ease in, splash about and once you’ve had your fill of floundering around, dry off and throw on some layers. Head north from the lido and walk briskly right along Richmond Road…
➋ NAB YOURSELF A PASTRY | 10:30am
Be warned: it’s likely you’ll have to queue, but don’t be put off. Pophams is arguably one of the best bakeries in London. Its London Fields bakery is perfumed with the scent of pastries; there are undertones of coffee and butter, mingling with top notes of fresh-from-the-oven croissants and those crispy-edged marmite & schlossberger cheese numbers. Order a coffee and a highly-laminated cardamom bun and bask in your post-dip glow.
Caffeinated and satiated, this is an opportune moment to jot down a shopping list for your market expedition, before walking straight through London Fields until you see Broadway Market come into view at the other end.
➌ BROADWAY MARKET | 11:00am
Broadway Market is one of those streets that feels more like a village. You could happily while away a couple of hours popping in and out of shops, snacking and sipping on coffee. As chance would have it, that’s exactly what you’re here to do.
You’ll start at the north end of the street. Navigate the bustle of the zebra crossing and stroll a few yards before you’re hit with the scent of sizzling, frying & smoking coming at you from every direction. It’s hard not to be distracted by the market stalls offering all manner of ready-to-eat delights, from jollof rice and Scotch eggs to empanadas and nasi goreng, but as you wander keep an eye out for:
- Artwords Bookshop: with shelves lined with books on contemporary visual arts and visual culture, this shop is a real feast for the eyes.
- 69b Boutique Sustainable Style: here you’ll find a lovely collection of clothing (men’s and women’s), accessories and gifts all given the environmentally responsible stamp of approval.
- Donlon Books: this independent bookshop and publisher is sought out for its stock of idiosyncratic range of new and rare titles.
- Retrouvé: this is a treasure trove of clothes. Find hand-embroidered, 1940s French linen nightdresses; powerhouse blazers; billowy-sleeved dresses and kitsch knitwear. The store also has a sister site close by on Wilton Way, which is well worth a trawl.
- The Broadway Bookshop: another bijou bookshop with a bang-up-to-date stock of bestselling reads, as well as poetry, politics, travel, art, fashion and children’s books.
Back to the task at hand. You have some shopping to do.
➍ FIN & FLOUNDER | 11:20am
If it’s fish you’re after, go straight to Fin & Flounder: a family-run fishmonger known for its quality crustaceans and supremely fresh hauls. The team prides itself on only serving the very best from our own shores and beyond, and will be only too happy to point you in the direction of a prime catch to suit whichever recipe you have in mind.
➎ HILL & SZROK | 11:30am
If you’re in the market for something meaty, wander a little further – resisting the crepes and caribbean rotis – to Hill & Szrok, a butcher-restaurant with an emphasis on whole-carcass butchery and low-intervention farming methods. Devised by butchers Tom Richardson Hill and chef Alex Szrok, here you’ll find a marble chopping block practically heaving with sirloin and sausages, chops and chuck. Don’t be afraid to ask about prime cuts – they’ll be able to tell you exactly where it came from.
Back outside, bob and weave through the market stalls, stopping to admire the oozing gorgonzola dolce from Big Wheel Cheese, alongside baked German cheesecake at Artisan Foods and bundles of fresh hydrangeas at the Flower Stall, then swing into L’eau à la Bouche to pick out some superior snacks to nibble on while you whip up a storm in the kitchen.
➏ RE-CHARGE AT PAVILION | 12:00pm
All this tote-bag carrying surely calls for another pastry. You’ll also need bread to mop up all those residual saucy bits of your meal, and Pavilion’s baguette is just the carbohydrate for the job. It might look like a regular French stick, but the difference is in its blend of white flour and toasted malt that adds extra flavour alongside the signature sourdough tang.
All that awaits: an evening of revelling in Food, Glorious Food.
➊ London Fields Lido | London Fields West Side, London E8 3EU
➋ Pophams | 197 Richmond Road, London, E8 3NJ
➌ Broadway Market | Broadway Market, London Fields, E8 4QJ
➍ Fin & Flounder | 71 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH
➎ Hill & Szrok | 60 Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ
➏ Pavilion | 18 Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ
Looking for more inspiration? Have a scan through the best restaurants in East London…
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