As the fashion for cupcakes begins to dwindle into a buttercream-saturated malaise; the new big thing in London seems to be street food. Food festivals and food markets seem to be popping up in London town at the same rate as new skyscrapers, and it seems to B that all of this (along with home baking, knitting and supper clubbing) is symptom of longing for a bit of local small-producer soul in the face of an increasingly sheet glass-and-steel city.
Gluten Free B is a long term fan of food markets – having lived in eating distance of Spitalfields, Smithfield, Camden and Covent Garden. The beleaguered GEH has been dragged round many weird and wonderful stalls on our travels grazing on strange sweets, dumplings and unmentionable animal products. So it seemed right to start a new feature on the best GF street eating experiences I have found in London.
Market stalls offer the ideal opportunity for the fledgling GF producer – none of the overheads of a shop or restaurant, less risk/commitment, and a more adventurous clientèle; so there are many opportunities for coeliac-friendly days out if you want to see a slightly different side to London. If you know of a market I should visit, or would like to contribute your experience or your local London market – do get in touch!
First up, none of the usual suspects, but the excellently named, and teeny tiny Cabbages and Frocks market which is a small cluster of stalls nestled in a quiet leafy courtyard at the top of super-posh Marylebone High Street. I recommend sweeping extravagantly past the shiny objects and floaty accessories sold by the other traders to collect a picnic for enjoying in nearby Regent’s Park after a spot of shopping.
The market hosts Wild Thexton who are a welcome break from usual sugary treats as they serve proper good savoury bakes. Or as my friend put it: ‘boy food’. There are deep-dished quiches with rugged, hearty pastry crusts; exceptional Scotch Eggs with just-right orange yolks wrapped in a bear hug of herby sausagemeat. They also take things to a civilised level with Camembert and crisp breads. If you can’t tell, these are boys after my own heart.
For your afters, an about turn introduces the gorgeous Catherine and Sweetcheeks who can tempt with a rainbow of cute cakes and moreish treats. Before I ordered my stick-to-your-ribs-and-die-happy Peanut Butter Blondie; I saw a 5 year old boy inhale his red velvet cupcake stopping only to comment ‘look it’s got glitter too!’. Bet he didn’t know (or care) it was vegan! My Gluten Eating Friend was very impressed by the rich, chocolatey Rocky Road; and if you are of the almondy persuasion, you will love the chewy sweet (award winning) Almond Biscotti.
Cabbages & Frocks Market, Saturdays 11-5pm, Marylebone High Street