Crammed into the lively Broadway Street is a well established market that has avoided becoming a stage managed tourist trap like Borough; functioning as a place where local people can convene to buy cheap local produce. It strikes a good balance by also including enough Foodie’s Heaven stalls to draw yuppies looking to graze on takeaway food. Despite having experienced annihilation under Conservative governments it has returned to stand out amongst London’s estimated 162 street markets and is in rude health. It even has it’s own website and has started selling Borough style souvenir tote bags. The stall owners are enthusiastic about their wares without being snobbish, and the market draws a moist cosiness from the nearby canal and London Fields.
As an eating out experience, Broadway Street on a Saturday offers such a rich smorgasbord of delights that many visitors are paralysed with indecision. The samosas on offer from the Indian food stall are rich and heavily spiced, and a fish stand offers smoked herrings, as well as salmon and cream cheese bagels. This establishment also offers the best fast food money can buy; a thick steak of marinated sashimi grade tuna, seared lightly on both sides and sold in a bun with salad and wasabi sauce. A neighbouring fishmonger specialises in expensive smoked salmon, and offers small sliders of his delicious lean slices with cream cheese, dill and crusty bread. Other stalls are less impressive, serving rather dull quiches, German bratwurst or Polish sausages.
The token artisan coffee stands offer great espressos, but a rarer experience is offered by Che Phe VN, who serve Vietnamese Coffee, ice cold and sweetened with condensed milk. The best place to go for a sweet course is the highly original Violet Cupcakes for perfect mouthfuls of spongy bliss. Their greatest creation is the massive Victoria Sponge ‘cupcake’, a chaotic mess of sponge, rhubarb and cream.
The fresh produce available includes both essentials and rare delicacies. There are top class organic fruit, vegetable and bread stalls, and hawkers selling esoteric dips, sauces, chutneys, and olives and several excellent cheese stalls. As you’d expect there are opportunities to try almost everything. Northfield Farm sports an outlet with some excellent meat and dairy, although their eggs are anaemic and tasteless and their sausages can be uninspiring.
If you’re thirsty after shuffling through Broadway Street’s crowds, I recommend the excellent cocktail bar, Off Broadway. If you fancy a walk, go to Pub in the Park on London Fields instead.