Once upon a time, Brockley was one of the hidden gems of the south London food scene, where those “in the know” could easily fill their day with food as fine as anything found at nearby Borough Market without battling the crowds of tourists. The flakiest almond croissants from The Broca washed down with a morning coffee; rich duck rillettes smothered on a crunchy baguette and accompanied by a slice of comté from Degustation for lunch; then a relaxing evening enjoying an organic feast over a glass of wine in the Toads Mouth's conservatory.
Fast-forward a few years, and Brockley is now the latest "next big thing" on London's food scene, thanks to its Saturday market held in Lewisham College’s car park.
With just one stop to this outdoor shop you can stock up on all the essential produce needed to stay well-fed all week: locally sourced fruit and veg, free-range and organic meat and poultry, artisan baked goods, dairy products, plus fish so fresh it still smells of the sea! If the sight of all this good food sets your stomach rumbling, you can also tuck into a hot brunches from an impressive array of gourmet streetfood vendors: bacon sandwiches from the Red Herring Smokehouse, breakfast burritos served out of Luardos’ pink truck Mary, Lebanese flatbreads handmade by Mike and Ollie, and the now-legendary candied bacon burger by the boys at Mother Flipper.
In the past two months I've experienced two very different trips to Brockley Market – where the one thing that remained unchanged was the excellent quality of everything on offer.
My first visit was on a freezing day in early February, where only a handful of stalwarts had cocooned themselves in a collection of coats, scarves & gloves to satisfy their thirst for top-notch produce. Fellow food bloggers Selina (aka Yummychooeats), Guilia (aka Mondomulia) and I shuffled between the stalls, munching on Blintz Boy’s cinnamon-topped vanilla cheesecake blintzes and clutching our Dark Fluid coffees in a desperate effort to fend off the impending frostbite.
In contrast, when I arrived at the market last Saturday in the baking hot sunshine I thought at first that I’d accidentally stumbled into someone’s backyard barbeque. The small space was buzzing with a bohemian vibe, as newcomers donning sunglasses and sandals set their tastebuds alight whilst chilling out on the benches.
The other key difference between my two trips to Brockley Market is in the clarity of my pictures! Anyone who’s been following my #project366 page will know how delighted I am with my recent iPhone upgrade, and the impact this has had on my food styling. Make sure you check out Guilia’s blogpost for a far-superior photo gallery showcasing all of Brockley Market’s wares, but here’s a small selection of snapshots based on the foods I enjoyed during my two trips (guess which ones are which!)…
The London Particular putting me in the mood for summer with virgin cocktails and ginger cakes
Egg Boss has transformed the humble scotch egg into a gastronomic delicacy with a variety of flavoursome fillings
I fell in love with Mike and Ollie’s homemade flatbreads and condiments on my first visit to Brockley Market, served up with sizzling slow-cooked Moroccan lamb
On my second trip the market was so busy that all the hot food has sold out by 1pm, but I was lucky enough to snap up Mike and Ollie’s final fillet of fresh line-caught mackerel! The preparation process is the ideal appetiser: first hummus and red cabbage are spread onto a warm flatbread, then grilled mackerel and harissa are layered on top…
…swiftly followed by a drizzle of homemade yoghurt, a sprinkling of toasted seeds and a smattering of shredded coriander leaves…
…before being wrapped together and served with the mackerel’s tail still on display! Surely a lunch as unique as this had to feature in my #project366 food-photography challenge?!
In the weeks between my visits to the Market I lusted after Browns of Brockley’s almond friands – when I finally took a bite of the moist amaretto-soaked cake I knew it was worth the wait! I’m now dreaming about their coffee crème éclairs whilst plotting a return trip!
These flowerpot loaves by The Honest Carrot would make an ideal gift for any dinner party, and their wholesome vegetarian pies and patties are great reheated in your oven…if you can resist the temptation to eat them immediately!