Lost in a crowd of tourists on London’s Southbank on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I was beginning to wonder whether the promise of an unrivalled international food market was worth the trip to the capital in peak tourist season.
Having extricated myself from the throngs heading towards the London Eye, I made it up to the Royal Festival Hall and the Southbank Centre Market (open weekends until the end of October). Hit by a hundred different sights and smells, I wondered where to begin. Never having been one to make a quick decision (especially where food is concerned) I allowed myself to wander for a while, taken in first by mammoth sized dishes of paella, then turning to a stand selling pulled pork and apple sauce burgers before spotting a stall which cooked stir fry to sample, as hungry customers looked on.
Having circled the market at least twice, I found myself drawn to an Indian stall specialising in slow-cooked lamb curry.
Having previously spied a stall brimming with cakes, brownies, traybakes and other sweet delights, I was conscious not to overeat in my first sitting and therefore opted for the ‘regular’ rather than ‘man size’ naan bread wrap that would constitute lunch.
Finding a sunny spot on the steps behind the market I tucked in, not disappointed by the tender, spicy lamb and mint-yoghurt dressing. It is of course impossible to enjoy such fantastic food without paying certain consequences though and sure enough, a momentary lapse in concentration resulted in a slightly distressing curry stain on a pair of white jeans. Water and napkins to the rescue, I finished the wrap in record time, not wanting to risk any further dangerous spillages!
Intent on a square of millionaire’s shortbread, I headed back down into the market, still marvelling at the range of delights on offer and, ever fickle, gave in to the temptation of a salted caramel cupcake instead.
For anyone in London looking for a taste of the world, the market at the Southbank Centre is a great place to start. It provided me with a wonderful afternoon of food that not even a curry-splodged stain could deter from.
Find out more about the market at the Southbank centre at http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/markets
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