London: Day 3, Borough Market, Barbecoa, Yashin

On Saturday, I visited Borough Market even though I knew all I would be able to do was stare wistfully at the gorgeous produce (rhubarb, purple sprouting broccoli, heritage breed meats to name a few) but it had been such a fixture of my London life that I had to go.  It was how I remembered it, except for the giant skyscraper that had mushroomed up since my last visit called ‘the shard‘ (sounds like a Stephen King novel, doesn’t it?).  

I bought the obligatory Monmouth latte and then went over to Neal’s Yard where I had a free sliver of Coolea (based on the Gouda recipe but so much better!) and picked up a pot of thick yogurt with poached apple at the bottom for breakfast.  

I lost myself watching a whole side of pork being expertly butchered and resisted the urge to buy a bag of Mini Magoo’s addictive granola from the adjacent stand.
When in London, you must take every opportunity to cross a bridge. I am not really fussy about which one (although the Millenium bridge from the Tate Mordern to St Paul is a favourite). It’s easy to forget that London has the Thames running through it but cross a bridge and you see old and new architecture vying for prominent position in the London sky line. Read more of this post

Winterfeldtplatz Market - Schöneberg

I have been looking for a Borough Market type set up here in Berlin, with the cool stands and the great food.  It’s true that Borough Market in London is eye waterlingly expensive and jammed full of people but I loved to go down on a saturday, get in a great breakfast at Brindisa, a coffee at Monmouth and then hit all my favorite stands and spend way too much money!  Ach, old London life…  How I miss you some days!

This is the Timeout Berlin’s Market Critique Choice and I am inclined to agree with them!  I still have loads of markets to visit, in fact this weeks Tip Berlin has a listing of notable Berlin markets (By the way, if there is anyone out there that feels like translating those pages for me, just holler!).  So far my forays into Berlin markets has been a bit of a let down so I was pleased to finally come across one that I would bother to come back to. Read more of this post

To Market - Wittenbergplatz Market

I have been looking for a market for a month now. I am becoming familiar with the many fruit and vegetable stands on the outside of Turkish supermarkets but I wanted German products, preferably grown close to Berlin. You know the spiel, seasonal, local - all those virtuous words. It’s August, so now is the time to buy seasonal. I found a great website called Hungry in Berlin, that sadly seems defunct since their last post was in December 2009, that makes reference to this market. Read more of this post

Borough Market, London

I visited Bourough market on Saturday.  I even managed to get there early enough to secure a sunny outside table at Brindisa for breakfast.  Their fried eggs with Jamon and fries is delicious although seriously pricey at £11.95.  I had a fresh pressed orange juice and Voila!  Spent £15 before I even started looking through the market stalls.  I would have to travel all the way to Spain for such a perfect dish though.  I love the shards of ham on a slightly warm plate so that it gets that all important sheen.  I am starting to salivate at the thought even though its 1:30 in the morning!

I then had to get the obligatory coffee from Monmouth.  I circled quite a few times considering if it really was worth the long wait.  Every time I circled though, the line became longer.  I should have just taken my place from the onset.  It was silly of me to think that I could forgo a “Monmouth”.  I shouldn’t have been dissuaded by the long line though because they have serving down to a fine art.  Someone walks down the line, takes down orders, you move along quite quickly, get to the till and pay and your coffee is waiting at the end.  Similar wait time at Monmouth with 15 people as there would be at Starbucks with 5 people.  And what you get is still my favourite coffee in London.  My taste buds perceive it as something thicker than chocolate.  I haven’t found anywhere quite as good in Berlin yet.   And that sugar….  I never take sugar, except here.  I thought they put some sort of spice in it but it’s just a raw cane sugar, finely processed, dirty blond and it marries perfectly with the coffee and that delicious crema they serve at Monmouth.  

The bench outside Monmouth, Borough Market, London


On a side note, I always marvel at the outfits / fashion choices of Monmouth folk?  They all look like they belong to some sort of a cult and they have all had their haircut by Edward scissor hands, or their dog.  Whatever, they make good coffee.  Coffee that I will soon only dream about in Berlin…  Mental note to drop by the Covent Garden branch and buy some of that sugar!

I then had to visit Neal’s Yard Dairy.  Its Spring (well so the calendar says) and goats cheeses are out of this world at the moment.  I bought an entire Innes log, thinking I was being a bit greedy albeit I ate half of it standing up by the kitchen counter with my jacket on and my toddler perched precariously on the counter.  They had two other goats cheeses featured at the outside stall on Saturday, a Ragstone and a Stawley.  I considered the Stawley to be too salty and the Ragstone was lacking acidity.  The Innes was tasting like a perfect goats cheese; it has that soft charcoal bloom on the outside, a bit of runniness under the rind, and a saliva inducing acidity at just the right pitch that gives you no choice but to have “just one more slice”.  

All the Innes log needed was a slice of sourdough, I found a good contender at the Paul Rhodes stall.  Chewy, open texture and sour.  Very good, I had almost forgotten how good sourdough is now that its been taken over by shops like Pain Quotidien that always serve their sourdough tartines fridge cold, with a dusty crust, not chew and a bit stale.  How not to make an open sandwich.  Is nothing sacred anymore?

I always visit the Murienn smoked fish stall.  I have lost the ability to eat any kind of smoked mackerel after trying theirs.  And their smoked salmon…  I lack the words to express how delicious it is.  It’s not salty, the meat has a bite you feel it under your teeth as opposed to the mushy pappy flesh of most supermarket finds.  There is definite smoke there too and somehow…is it possible it makes me think of a wind swept coast and makes me visualize a rickety smoke house perched high on the cliffs.  Yes, it’s so good it gives me visions.  It annoys me when I see tourists loitering around waiting for freebies, tasting the man’s entire range and then skulking away empty handed.  Buy it if you like it!  How are they going to stay in business if you keep eating their stuff and not giving them any money?

Lastly, I bought some lovely asparagus from a very grumpy man, who softened considerably when I told him his asparagus was sublime. And then I bought some morels. Well only about 5 since they were going for £60 / kg. Gulp! I had the asparagus and morels with butter, white wine, garlic, shallots and cream. I wish I had thought to buy some chervil…

A day out at Bourough market is probably more expensive then having lunch at the Ritz but its infinitely better and I shall miss it desperately when I am in Berlin.


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