I have fallen in love with Southbank in London. My usual favourite area to visit is just a short walk up the River Thames at Borough Market, London Bridge, and the row of pubs with large patios looking over the river. When the sun is out I think this is the perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon, good food and a few beers with friends 🙂
Southbank runs a weekly food market (friday to sunday) which is definitely worth a visit but I would also recommend looking out for the dates of their Real Food Festivals (the next one is August bank holiday). There is a wide variety of tempting hot and cold food stalls, local produce, bread and cake stalls, music, circus and comedy from The Udderbelly festival (running until 14th July) and also chef demonstrations from some brilliant household names.
Here is a little snap shot of our day and what you can expect from Southbank-
As we walked in to the market from Waterloo station (I get ‘that’ Abba song in my head every time!) the first stall we came across was Petros. This is a Mediterranean deli selling hot haloumi wraps, cold mezze items such as home made gorgeously smooth hummus, authentic stuffed vine leaves, plump marinated olives and giant butter beans in a rich sun ripened tomato sauce. Hungry yet? To top it all off they sell my absolute favourite Turkish Delight!
Great start! The next stall to catch my eye was ‘The Flour Station’ with freshly baked breads of all kinds piled high. Who wouldn’t stop and stare!! Bread is such a simple pleasure in life and I think we would have less health problems if everyone went back to eating REAL bread, handmade and free of additives! Mmm shame it wasn’t gluten free because it looked soo good 🙂
In my opinion tomatoes and bread are a match made in heaven. I still think the best tomatoes I have ever tasted were in Southern Europe because they were huge, misshapen and kissed by that gorgeous sunshine. Bread Tree drew me in like a moth to a flame with their amazing looking Bruschettas, they come plain or topped with meats. The tomatoes look juicy and ripe and I love the generous portion size 🙂 look at the bright colours of the tomatoes and those basil leaves!
I went out with the mindset that I didn’t fancy a drink, especially since I’d just got over a hangover after a great night put with friends, but then we walked past The Somerset Ploughman’s stall and I couldn’t resist a taster of their dry cider. Somerset will always have a place in my heart, some of my best childhood memories were from family holidays spent in a big pink thatched cottage, running around the beautiful garden, paddling in the stream and spending evenings by an open log fire. So it would have been rude to not buy the drink… 🙂
I’m not a huge fan of very dry cider but they did a medium sweeter cider which was perfect for me. They also sold local cheeses and chutneys!
Nomades is a Moroccan food stall selling many different treats such as wraps, spicy pastries and jars of sauce. I love the look of the chilli turnovers, I didn’t get to try them but they look like the flavour would pack a punch! I love that they are family run and full of passion for their food.
Karantania Delicatessen had some really fabulous looking dishes including a pasta bake muffin!!! Literally pasta bake wrapped in paper and shaped like a muffin. They also had some interesting flavoured savoury strudels including spinach and feta and a bright purple cabbage flavour.
Me and Scott have made it a tradition to do a brewery tour whenever we travel but we realised we had never done one in London! When we found the Meantime London brewers stall we realised we have actually never done one in London before! They had a very interesting selection of flavours including chocolate beer…mmmm… This is definitely going to be our first London brewery tour, I can’t wait!
I also found out that IPA stands for Indian Pale Ale…I worked in pubs for years whilst studying and I never knew!
The Polish Deli counter looked really interesting, I love finding new foods (new to me anyway) and these Pierogi pasties definitely caught my eye, I especially love the sound of the sauercraut, mushroom and onion filling!! We have a lot of Polish Deli’s near us and I’m always browsing the windows at the amazing looking cakes and pastries. Of course they also sell a wide abundance of polish smoked sausages and Polish meats. Scott’s a big fan of these as they are nice just as a snack as well as sandwich meats etc.
The skatepark in Southbank has been an iconic feature in London for many many years and it attracts skaters of all ages and abilities. There is always a crowd of people checking out the skills being exhibited and it has been used in many pro skater videos/ music videos and fashion shoots!
It is being closed down but there is currently a petition to save it, the majority feel that closing this skatepark will destroy the culture of London. It would be a big loss for the area and of course for the many that enjoy showing off their much practised tricks to an enthusiastic audience. I love it there but I am biased as I am a huge fan of the skater culture 🙂
The surprise gem of the day is the garden bar hidden away from the main market. This is where they have the Udderbelly comedy and music. There are park benches dotted around sheltered by the trees with bright paper lanterns hanging from all around and fairy lights strung from branches to add atmosphere. There is a large open seating area next to the bar and then around the corner is a fun fair themed outside bar where all the seats are bumper cars and the bar is done up like an old style saloon!
We enjoyed a few bottles of Corona with lime (The sun was shining so a light beer like this was perfect) but they have a fully stocked bar with wine, spirits, bubbly, ale and lager on tap.
Over all as you can see it was a really fun day full of foodie delights! Everyone is really friendly and happy to talk about their products or just have a chat in general 🙂 I’d recommend getting there early around midday as it gets very busy from 1.30pm onwards. I’d also recommend saving room for pudding!
Have you been to Southbank? Do you have something similar near you? Whats your favourite kind of Street food?