Tuesday, September 28, 2010

London Laughs - When It's Sunny and You're Hungry

You'll be spoilt for choice!  On Saturdays in London take the tube to Sloane Square on the District Line.  From the train station follow the crowds out a half block or so, then turn left at Lower Sloane Street and follow it along as it curves southward and to the left.

At Pimlico Road, just before the Bridge, turn left and you'll see ahead, just past all the posh antiques shops, the Pimlico Road Market.  It only takes place on Saturday mornings and specializes in small and specialty growers.  As well as specialty purveyors of fine foods (in the UK parlance).

It IS true that (especially in this part of London) you will find almost more goodies to eat than on an average Paris street.  Just across from the little place where the market can be found, at the junction of Ebury and Pimlico Roads, (aka Mozart or, Orange, Square) is Daylesford Organic, an aspiring quality comestibles destination, swathed in white marble and raw scrubbed pine for a little rustic luxe.  You will have passed the delicious and excellent L'Artisan du Chocolat on your way down Lower Sloane Street.

You tell me what you think.  But frankly on a Saturday, you'd be shortchanging yourself if you did not get your Saturday goodies here.  At the market.

The chunky half circle of English style white cake with the generous crumb and the gooey, sticky-dense, fudge-y chocolate icing did not enjoy the attentions of my camera, but it made it's appearance at breakfast time daily for several days and once for four o'clock tea with never any loss in its appearance, texture or appeal.  In fact it remains, pristine, fresh as daisy and emminently desirable in my sweetest memory...... 

but - I digress because I mean............ VEGETABLES!

 and (sigh) plums of EVERY kind.

Fresh handmade pasta - this is WHY, when you are staying in London, you feel compelled to find someplace with a little kitchen for you to cook all this deliciousness in.

And vases in the cupboards to pop your fresh flowers into.

Because how often do you get to buy veronica at your local flower store?  And frilly sunflowers like this?

The Daylesfords have taken over, also, where the mother and daughter team of Appley Hoare used to trade.  But they are eminently useful in my instructions to you, (in your further hunt for goodies) in remembering that you must NOT continue to your right down Pimlico Road past the gardening Daylesford (above) but rather, more or less straight along Ebury Street, keeping the foodie Daylesford's on your left with the Poule au Pot to the right.  If you've been following closely, and continue past a pub with hanging baskets you'll find yourself at the interesection of Elizabeth Street, NOW IS THE TIME.  TO turn LEFT!  And stick your nose into the Boulangerie Poilane.  You might like to know that there are only three Poilane bakery locations in the world!  Two are in Paris.

And one is right here.  (OK and who has spotted a blogger?!)  And it sells the flakiest light, most buttery croissant in London and big triangle wedges of the famous bread.

Extra points if you know what a "punition" is, and why especially you would want to eat one from Poilane.  (More photos inside were unfortunately discouraged.)

But who needs Poilane when Baker and Spice is just next door?  (Not the French family I saw spread out at these tables the night before the picture was taken.)  Baker and Spice have been growing like topsy for years from a little storefront closer to Harrods years ago, then a disused pub, and now a virtual empire (outlet now at Selfridges) with illustrious and now famous-in-their-own-right alumnae such as Sami Tamimi and Otam Ottolenghi.

Baker and Spice is a little less cool-and-spare than the fabulous "O".  It's a very approachable (by whippets, yes) deli/buffet style destination with a wide variety of mostly mediterranean-style yummies of both the savory and sweet persuasion.  And without all those hygenic "sneeze guards" and off-putting foodie-nazis (that you MIGHT find elsewhere in the world) separating you from your prospective food amours.  I can only describe it as a panoply of offerings.   And you would need to live in London for some time to be able to taste everything they offer.  Or to be a fearless full-figured person with very clear-and-certain gustatory aims.  Knock yourself out!

Maldon Oysters.  What else do I need to say?  Except that more photos-taking was not welcomed by the fishy people.  (Sad face.)

From Elizabeth Street you would have continued on past the flower shops, chi-chi pubs, jewelry stores and bespoke-ish greige-y arty pet boutique.  The neighborhood surrounding Elizabeth Street will be full of more luxury-cars-with-drivers than most have ever dreamed they'd see in a mere five minutes of their lives - but it is in this grand vicinity that the likes of Joan Collins and the Sultan of Brunei (and the once and only Isabella Blow) reside.  

You might not have taken the little detour to another flower bedecked pub, but continued up to the Kings Road, turned left and found yourself shortly again on Sloane Square.  From which, if you are smart, (or still hungry?!) you'd have continued on, to the Duke of York's Square on the South (or left) side of the street and past the Peter Jones on the right, where you'll know when you've seen the stripes:

That you are in the right place.

Are you

getting the idea?  That you've arrived at the Duke of York's Square Saturday Market.  EVERY kind of food you desire.  Sampling is EXPECTED.

Charcuterie, Mexican, Spanish, Italian - sorry I was too hungry and laden with cake to take pictures by the time I got here!  Even two kinds of Creole cooking - Indian Ocean AND West Indian kinds, to accompany your raw oysters down, and when it's time to get off your feet and have a coffee or a cool drink after all this gastro-reconnaissance, Partridge's of Sloane Square with like two cafes and a wine bar (and sponsor of the market) is RIGHT THERE!

Manicomio a neighborhood favorite/glam Italian spot steps away.  Patisserie Valerie for ice cream, also RIGHT THERE. And Pret a Manger right across the street.

London laughs.  Between bites.  (Whew!  That was a long job!)  What are your next Saturday plans? Got your airplane tickets yet?

To the Corner Viewers - I'm having difficulties with software, so will be doing the Corner View a week late probably.  Cheers Dears!


  1. This is the area I stay in when I'm in London as it is where both my aunts live, it's great isn't it! These places can be v expensive though can't they? :)

  2. Hi Alice - yes you're right. It is expensive. (Which is why I made sure to include the Pret at the end.) But to us Americans anyway, London is unbelievably expensive so we just have to close our eyes and think of the Queen.......(which might be why London laughs!)

    In any case it's not a reason not to visit such places, and buying from markets is usually cheaper than sitting down for a restaurant meal.

    Nice for you to be able to stay there though!

  3. Here from the CV tour ~ I saw your note at bottom and so will return next week.

    Now THIS is a market I could really, really love! I love taking pictures of markets that are away from my home. Cheers~

  4. those sweets look particularly amazing! punition? eating biscuits as a punishment? sign me up. it isn't poison or filled with soap powder is it?

    hope your computer issues resolve themselves quickly. xoxo

  5. I've marked my calendar for Saturday morning after a swim at Chelsea Town Hall..just a hop and a skip away

  6. one good friend just moved to London, i will send her the link to your post as I am sure she will enjoy it !!! thanks for sharing