Borough Market – London
The main purpose of our second trip to London was to eat, and eat we did! We headed to Borough Market to sample some flavours from across the world, and we were overwhelmed by the amount on offer. We started with a circuit round the market before returning to specific stalls that had taken our fancy. Everything we ate, we shared, as this meant we could try even more food!
Our first purchase was a simple but tasty Olive and Cheese Stick from Bread Ahead, whose bakery lies just across the street from their stall. The bread was rustic, with crispy bits of melted cheese sticking out at all angles. What I especially liked was the strength of the olives which imparted flavoured throughout the stick.
Ethiopian Flavours provided us with our first experience of, well, Ethiopian food. From the choices available, we settled on Sega Tibs – beef steak in a delicious, slightly spicy sauce served over rice and accompanied by two sides. This meant more descision making, as there were four or five sides to choose from. We went for the Atakilt Alich’a – sweet and sour carrot and cabbage – and the Yekik Alich’a – split peas. Each element was yummy, but eaten together they were like nothing else I’ve ever tasted.
In need of a drink, I turned to Turnips for a fresh Watermelon Juice. I’m not actually the biggest fan of watermelon, but I couldn’t resist the bright red of this juice, and so I enjoyed the fresh, additive free taste of liquid water melon. To quench their thirst, mum and dad decided to try a cider from New Forest Cider. Both the sweet (for mum) and the medium (for dad) were 7% alcohol and one could definitely tell! The draft cider was still and slightly cloudy, and though they both enjoyed it mum definitely missed the fizz of a bottled cider.
While we drank, we visited the next stall on our list. Northfield Farm were offering Salt Beef Sandwiches served on beautifully soft, fresh mixed rye bread. The bread was piled with flaky, melt in the mouth beef, gherkins and a little mustard, and was thoroughly delicious. The sandwich fell apart with each bite, salty beef spilling out onto the ground.
After some more walking, we headed for Gourmet Goat for a Goat Souvlaki in a Greek Pita. The pita was filled with slightly spicy salsa, kohlrabi, and a cooling sauce, as well as the tender pieces of goat meat. This was possibly my favourite food of the day, as the meat was, again, melt in the mouth and the pita was thick and light.
As we were leaving the market we thought it might be nice to buy something sweet but we also wanted to try something we hadn’t had before. Thus, we visited Khanom Krok and bought some Coconut Pancakes. The small morsels were soft and milky on the inside, but fried until crispy on the outside. Oddly, half were topped with sesame seeds, and half with a kernel of sweet corn. I wasn’t so sure – both texture and flavour seemed strange to me – but mum and dad were big fans.
And so we departed, but I’d go back to Borough Market in a heartbeat as it’s a total foody heaven.
Pret a Manger – London
When dinner time rolled around, we were all feeling different in terms of hunger. However, as we were about to go to the theatre, we decided to have something light to eat. Unfortunately it had gotten late, and places were filling up fast, so we ended up heading for a nearby Pret a Manger. Little did we know that Pret have recently gone a wee bit fancy, with evening menus and (mostly) table service. The idea is that you order your meal at the counter and it is then brought to your table – all a bit Nando’s really. I was sceptical at first, but Pret a Manger I applaud you – the food was pretty damn good!
I didn’t feel like eating much, so I plumped for the Mozzarella Salad. The salad leaf was mixed with red onion, tomatos, capers and mozzarella and topped with a creamy Dijon dressing. The crowning glory of my salad, however, was the addition of pistachios and pine nuts, which both added a perfect crunch to the dish. Mum, a little hungrier than I, enjoyed a Korean Pulled Pork Bowl. The soft and delicate pulled pork was served alongside quinoa rice and pickled red cabbage, and the whole dish went down a treat. Across the table, dad enjoyed a dish of Prosciutto Macaroni. The cheesy macaroni was mixed with crispy prosciutto and cauliflower, making for a pretty tasty dish.
All in all, I was both surprised and impressed by the performance of Pret a Manger, and I would probably eat there again if I was looking for something light and relatively cheap.