Thursday 6th December 2018/Thursday, 10th January/Thursday, 25th April/Thursday, 23rd May 2019 – Food (Jollof Mama, Simply Paella, Nikskitchen, Parson’s Nose)
The Guild Hall Lunch Market is a fine thing as far as I’m concerned, as it brings a variety of street food traders all together in one place, and unlike say the weekly Kerb market at the “Gherkin” or the daily street food section of Spitalfields Market it’s within a stone’s throw of the office (as opposed to a 10-15 minute walk as a minimum). The downside is that it only happens around 10 times every year, and you try finding out when! The only sure-fire way I know is to read the posters they put up on the day telling you when the next ones will be. You’ll note the flaw in this; you actually need to know there’s one happening in order to go there to find out when the next ones will be. It’s not ideal… but at the end of 2018 I made sure I noted all the dates I could find, and headed off to see what I could find to eat on each occasion that it coincides with me being in the office.
Thursday 6th December 2018 – Jollof Mama
Although it was December it was relatively clement, weatherwise, but had it not been, the stallholders were geared up to help with that. I didn’t think a glass of mulled wine would be conducive to a successful afternoon’s work though, so I scouted out the stalls and tried hard to make a decision. I decided Simply Paella wasn’t the answer this time (though it has been in the past, and very tasty it was, freshly cooked and full of flavour).
Instead, I opted to try out whatever Jollof Mama had to offer.
I scooted back to the office to enjoy my food at my desk. How good was it? Wonderful! Spicy, hot, the goat cooked down until it fell apart, and not the usual collection of bony bits and fatty tissue that you often get in curry goat or similar, the plantains nicely fried and sticky, and the rice packed with all sorts of spices and seasoning. Oh, and the hot sauce? Not blow-your head off hot, just make you tingle all over hot. Which, as it was December, seemed like a good thing to me. I’ll certainly buy from them again, though increasingly it’s hard to be a repeat customer when there’s so much choice in front of you. So many street food stalls, so little time!
Thursday, 10th January 2019 – Simply Paella
This time I did go for Simply Paella, asking for – and being given – a half and half container full of the glorious paella Valencia studded with chunks of fiery chorizo, and their equally splendid seafood paella with massive langoustines lurking in its saffrony interior. In some respects it was too easy a choice, and I promised myself that next time I would try something different.
Thursday, 25th April – Nikskitchen
And so I did. This time I was tempted by Nikskitchenlondon even if they did make me very twitchy with their lack of apostrophes, or capital letters or even spaces! The food didn’t make me twitchy though it did make me indecisive. Thankfully they took the pressure of decision making away from me by offering to serve me smaller portions of everything for an extra £1. I’m not greedy these days, but I do like to test as many dishes as possible so this was the ideal solution. In short order I have a glorious mix of Persian lamb, Morrocan lamb, and an aubergine kofta, along with aubergines cooked in a delicious sauce of some sort.
I don’t know precisely where they usually base themselves, cuisine-wise, but there are of course a lot of similarities around the region, so it’s perhaps not surprising that it all went very nicely together when I got it back to the office. There was yogurt to cool the heat of the spices, and a small salad to make me feel I was doing something that could be considered good for me! I would certainly buy from them again.
Thursday, 23rd May 2019 – Parson’s Nose
My final visit of the year so far saw me veer towards something more European in food terms, or perhaps more American, because I found The Parson’s Nose, a butcher’s shop rather than simply a street food stall, selling the most amazing looking wild boar burgers. Now I can’t resist game, so I was in there rapidly. I needed no further encouragement, and was on it even before I tasted the sample chunk of juicy looking meat they had on offer. I grabbed my haul and dragged it back to my desk, where I was prepared to repel borders with a sharp-pronged metal fork if necessary! Given the quality of the meat I suppose I should not have been surprised that it was served in a good quality bun too. Again, I’ll happily eat one of these again.
And so there’s a selection of street food stalls you may want to try sometime soon if you’re in London. Most of them turn up at other locations too, so you don’t have to try and track down the next Guildhall Lunch Market, though if you do the remaining dates for 2019 are:
- Wednesday 26 June 2019
- Thursday 25 July 2019
- Thursday 12 September 2019
- Thursday 10 October 2019
- Tuesday 29 October 2019 – Celebrate the festival of light at this Diwali lunch market
- Thursday 5 December 2019
You can also look them up here and if you’re lucky they may actually update it next year too (they didn’t in 2018).