Friday, July 15, 2011
Market – Organic, Seasonal Eatery in London’s “East Village”
One of my last meals in London fulfilled my wish of having the signature English, fish & chips. However, where I had that meal wasn’t at a traditional pub, but at an organic, locally-driven eatery in Camden Town called Market.
A funky, trendy and a little off-beat neighborhood not far from London’s Regents Park area, it reminded me of NY’s East Village. I went out with a colleague and friend, Nursel who was up for trying anything and since she hadn’t yet been to Market, we were both looking forward to exploring something new.
We immediately fed off the nice vibe here – it was simple, clean looking and incorporated earthy elements. I liked the dark, rich wooden tables and chairs that provided nice harmony with other design elements such as pretty green color tones, exposed brick walls and warm lighting.
The place was hoppin’ for lunch, and nearly every table was occupied. I liked this because it showed that the place was popular, and probably pretty good. Some other fun décor elements I noticed were rustic green and black metal water jugs (they reminded me of something my grandmother would have), vintage mirrors and rustic pots and pans that hung from the ceiling.
While the menu wasn’t long, I liked this because it kept us focused and we were able to choose something quickly. We noticed that Market was running a 2-course lunch special for 10 Pounds, so we went for that, as we felt it offered us the best bank for the buck (I mean…Pound).
Bread – While I wouldn’t usually talk about this pre-meal course, I wanted to briefly touch upon it here because I really liked the way it was presented. Two rustic, thick cut pieces of bread were accompanied by three little ramekins – one with soft, creamy butter, another with thin morsels of fleur de sel and the third with coarsely ground black pepper. I loved the rustic quality of this and we used the contents of each little ramekin to spice up our rustic bread. It was as the Brits say, “lovely.”
Appetizers – The two apps we chose for this course (and the only 2 available in fact) were chicken livers on toast and a spinach, onion, cheese quiche. Nursel chose the former and I the latter, but we had a bite of each other’s dishes. Out of the two, I really enjoyed Nursel’s, as I have a soft spot for chicken liver, which dates back to my childhood. I liked that the meat was soft and not overly chewy, and the thin gravy with which it was dressed was flavorful and made the meat even moister.
My quiche was nice too, packed with soft caramelized onions, melted cheese and yummy earthy spinach. I liked its buttery crust too, which made it a bit decadent and a nice way to begin the meal. The only issue I had with it is that it could’ve been warmer.
Main Course – Again, each of us choosing one of the two main dishes on the lunch specials menu, I had my much-dreamed-about fish and chips and Nursel tried the pork chop with red cabbage and lentils on the side. While I didn’t try her dish, it looked gorgeous, the pork dressed with apple sauce, and boasting a lovely golden crust. Nursel said she really enjoyed the meat but the side of cabbage and lentils fell short on flavor.
My fried haddock fish and chips were very delicious and I was so glad I got ‘em. The crust on the fish was excellent and super thick. It didn’t feel greasy and once I got to bite into the moist, flaky fish, I fell even more in love. The side of tartar sauce was used to its last drop, as I dunked each bite of fish and chips into it – so much so that I could’ve used another ramekin. I was also missing some ketchup for my chips but since the waitstaff seemed super busy and a little flustered, I didn’t get around to asking for it. Oh well!
Service and Cost:
While the service was fine, I wouldn’t go out of my way to say it was spectacular. There were a few mishaps such as when Nursel got her appetizer before me to only have it immediately taken away, but overall, I think it was still satisfactory. The busy atmosphere could’ve contributed to a few hiccups.
Costs are expensive and even with the lunch special, we paid 22.50 Pounds including gratuity. That’s nearly $40, which I think is a bit much for lunch. Regardless, it was fun to try and the company was fabulous.
Market – 43 Parkway, NW1 7PN Camden Town, U.K.
020 7267 9700