Shoreditch: Overrated or a gem?

I have been so out of touch lately its ridiculous. I had always intended to  post on a weekly basis but like everyone in London, I have a never ending to do list and it doesn’t make much room for blogging. Recently I read ‘The Happiness Project’ and It told me to make time for things I enjoy. So here I am.

I went for a nice day trip on one of the odd sunny days in london to Shoreditch Brick Lane. Whilst a Londoner, I never trek to the East as it’s just a bit of a mission from the western outskirts of Ealing Broadway. Feeling a much needed change of tempo I went to Brick Lane, home of hippies, grungies, trendsetters and cliched it people, the vibe is so different to the west thats populated by families, conservative businessman and greenery.

Walking through Brick Lane I couldn’t help but question whether Shoreditch was just too overrated for its own good. Overpriced nic-nacs, fake vintage (last time I checked M&S was not vintage clothing piece) and crowded walkways… but still it was definitely a pleasant change. I came solely for the food market that nestles within a walkway off the main stretch, The Old Truman Brewery.

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Verdict? It has character, but it tries to hard. Just like the people who populate it.

One Glorious meal at Islington’s pop up restaurant [Pipsdish]

Pipsdish is an amazing little gem nestled in a little alley off of the main highstreet of Islington, London. This charming little restaurant is a well kept secret and has only a limited time open. On entrance it looks like a Citroen car garage, and thats exactly what it was since 2011 when the founder Philip Dundas started the venture. This little place was rented and converted to a foodie heaven. Fresh produce, artisan goods, fine culinary work and simple hearty dishes.

[Visited Saturday 9th March]

Whilst working at my internship in a design agency I was fortunate to find out about this place. I had to delivery tea there for an event and fell for it immediately. Hastely booking the venue 3 weeks in advance (yes it is that much in demand now!). Many have dined here more than once and I can see why. The chef is friendly and talented, and the waiter is just as warm. You immediately feel like your being welcomed into someones home, and the chef cooks in front of you as though you are indeed, in his kitchen.

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The decor is kitsch, country and realistic to being in a garage, contains a mini old citroen van which is quirkely converted into a private dining space.

This cute little venue has another quirk, its menu- There isn’t one. You pay a set 3 course meal rate of £30, but you don’t know what you will get until the day. Food is made daily, depending on the ingredients bought and the mood of the chef. Theres something exciting about not knowing what you will get served, adding to the experience. They are still very accommodating to dietary needs if you tell them prior to the day. I was worried i may not enjoy it as I can be fussy but every dish as lipsmackingly amazing.

Pipsdish is closing in April, so time is tight before we say goodbye. I must make sure I go again before it disappears.

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Starter: Onion Soup (They gave it a more flowery explanation but this is what it is) topped with pancetta, pumpkin seeds and bread pieces. The flavour was lovely and the textures of the pepper, pancetta and seeds really added to the dish. We savioured every bit.

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Couscous with Beef. My friend doesnt usually like beef but loved this. And I usually dont like couscous but the lemon herb dressing and the flavour of the beef made this delicious. I have been converted to couscous. When the waiter went to get the dish with only a few spoons left on it. My friend pryed it out of his hand, its not done till its licked clean!

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This was a highlight. My friend ate hers in under 5 minutes and I finished every morsel too. I am not a sweet tooth but this pear and butterscotch crumble with cream was one of the best desserts Ive ever had!

Philips Dundas explains the story of the pop restaurants birth at: The Wheels of Fortune Turn

Friday at the Borough Market

IMG_4947I have lived in London for 16 years of my 23 year life and yet never bothered to go Borough Market, What sort of foodie am I? I have one paid and unpaid job and a maximum of one day a week free. This one day should be made the most of but I spend so much of it asleep, or lazing about or doing chores that could

IMG_4925have taken an hour for hours as I fly back and forth to the couch to watch another repeat of Friends for the billionth time.

So this friday was different. Bloody cold and miserable for march but I dragged my arse there anyway- no regrets this market it the shizzle. So much good food I was salvating. I tried to make room for as much as possible.

IMG_4923 The baked goods are to die for. Admittedly not so great to buy and eat later, as the breeze and cold air makes it go all dry. I think the smells are more seductive than the actual act of eating as my £2 bread hurt my pocket later. Whilst walking around I found myself so drawn to the scent and the colours and the flavours that I found myself buying things that were ridiculous in price for what they were. Women and spending, you know how it is:))

CHEESSEEE

CHEESE

I love cheese! The french stalls were the best, boasting so many different cheeses. Delicatessen’s are so rare in places like London. In my district of West London there are no local butchers, no fresh local grocery stores and our food is dominated by Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and Waitrose. It’s not the same, and borough  market just has remember how much I love fresh food.

In my 3 years living in Turkey my mum and me went to the fresh food market every friday to get all vegetables and fruit. Every morning we would go to buy fresh loaf of bread. I miss that so much.

A Meringue Tower

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It’s like walking back to a time where a community existed behind our food. Where quality trumped quantity. It’s a shame you have to go to a touristy, small area of London to look for something that everywhere should have. Local markets.IMG_5038

It’s great place to go for a half day as a tourist, as it gives you a great introduction to good english produce as well as an insight to the diversity of cultural foods in London.

Getting to the Market: Borough Market is easily accessed by public transport. We’re seconds walk from a major train station, on countless bus routes and even provide bike racks for keen cyclists. Best day to Go: Fri-Saturday

Travel by train and underground:

The Market is located right next to London Bridge Station which is serviced by the Jubilee and Northern Lines on the Underground and by overground trains from all over London and the south of England.

A Day in the City of Opportunity

Central London, England 

 

Locations: Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Westminister

These are the main attractions to tourists, but I would love to capture more specific district characteristics in London as I feel every area represents a very different type of culture and background.

This tube map covers the whole of London. My future projects will be:

  • Alternative Camden
  • Asian Southhall
  • Bricklane
  • Upperclass Chelsea and Kensington
  • Upperclass rural westend Richmond
  • Ghetto of Brixton and Oval
  • Business District Canary Wharf/ Holborn
  • Mayfair and Park Lane (Buckingham Palace Gardens)
  • Hyde Park

All of these districts and areas host a different kind of community, and the surrounding areas hold a variety of different architecture and atmospheres. I hope to catch these on camera.. I’m just waiting for the rain to go away!