Friday 22 November 2019

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Bia Sasta

Camden Market offers variety and spice

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019 4:31pm

A few times a year Mr T and I travel to London to visit family. We have a bit of a love/hate relationship with London and two days are more than enough for us to long for Irish soil again. For me as a food writer, London can be a mecca and I always return with ideas for new recipes

This time around, we visited Camden Town – it has been almost 20 years since I last visited and although it has changed, it still remained the same.

We headed to Camden Market (not the cheap open air market on the street but at the lock) where local artists and producers offer their wares of handcrafted jewellery, cosmetics, candles, fashion and more.

But it’s the open-air food market that drew us – stalls over stalls offering everything from Mexican, Thai, pizza, vegan and more.

Exploring the market further got us to Chin Chin Nitro Ice Cream Parlour – ice cream made by freezing it with liquid nitrogen. At first I thought it can only be a gimmick but I tasted the smoothest ice cream ever.

The parlour only offers three flavours with a choice of different toppings and sauces. The result is utterly delicious – The Times said of Chin Chin that it’s the ‘best ice cream parlour in England!’ If it’s good enough for the Times – it’s good enough for me.

As the rain was coming down in buckets, we sought shelter in Lockside – a bar/restaurant/nightclub; it offers great views over the lock and food market. It also serves some local beers and I enjoyed a nice Hawke’s Rosé Cider with a dry note but it could have done with a bit more depth.

Lili’s Chocolates was our next stop. One of the covered stalls, it had a beautiful display of handmade chocolates (including some vegan options) but make sure to bring a heavy purse as 100g of chocolates will set you back £10. Saying that, they were delicious.

With the rain easing, we went to the street food market at the lock and enjoyed a lovely brisket bagel burger at Ghetto Grillz with a portion of sweet potato fries with different sauces. Utterly delicious slow-cooked meat, fresh pickles, sharp mustard and a bagel bun put a smile on Mr T’s face.

Vegans will be very happy in Camden with Young Vegans Pie & Mash shop being only one of many offerings for plant-based food lovers.

Camden used to be a hub of gin distilleries in Victorian times bit all of them vanished over time. Half Hitch Gin is bringing the tradition back to Camden with a small shop at the food market and is the smallest distillery I have ever seen.

The gin won several awards and I should have tasted it but the shop was busy and we needed to get going.

Camden Hells is the local lager brewed by Camden Town Brewery. Located in the archway of Kentish Town Station, it is almost 20 years old and offers brewery tours for £15. The brewery was founded in 2010 by an Australian who missed his flight home – don’t you just love the story behind the façade.

Camden town market has moved on quite a bit since I have seen it last and it has improved. Not many chains, local food and drink, artists, designer and makers offering their wares (some not so handmade) and you can while a day away without getting bored. You might get stuffed from all the food and drink offerings but you will never be never bored!

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