Monday, 3 September 2012

The Real Food Market

The South Bank is not a part of London which is short on places to eat; wander along the river in front of the Royal Festival Hall and you'll find plenty of decent enough options. However it's the Belvedere Road/Waterloo station side of the Hall where the serious foodies head for lunch or take-away treasures; the wonderful Real Food Market at the Southbank Centre has increased its usual Friday-Sunday slot this week and is now running every day until 9th September to coincide with the Paralympics and the Unlimited festival.
The concept behind the market is simple; most of us would prefer to eat fresh, ethically-sourced, high-quality food but end up trudging round a supermarket because we don't have the time to find or visit specialist shops - or the spare cash to pay inflated prices. Real Food Markets bring a wide range of carefully-chosen traders together on a site that huge numbers of Londoners and visitors walk past already on a regular basis.

It's a great idea; good for the suppliers as they have a steady stream of potential customers and good for us consumers as we have convenient access to a variety of affordable, top-quality produce.
There's also nothing like the experience of shopping in a market, especially if you love food. Ambling between the stalls, tantalising wafts of dishes being freshly-cooked, tempting displays of exotic pastries, delicate pastel macaroons or glossy seasonal fruit, and the opportunity to talk to the producers themselves. It's fascinating to chat to the stall-holders; knowledgeable and passionate about what they do, they are usually more than happy to explain the difference between their food and its supermarket poor relation and offer samples and tastes so you can experience it for yourself.

The market sells superior versions of the staples of your weekly shop such as artisan breads, cheese, cured meats, vegetables etc. alongside prepared dishes from diverse cultures; paella, curries, hog roast, burgers, pierogi, arancini. . . you're bound to find something that hits the spot.
Those with a sweet tooth will also be spoiled for choice. Brownies or biscuits? Crepes or churros? Artisan chocolate or freshly-made ice cream? Try a bit of everything and wash it down with a hand-pulled espresso or a hot chocolate.

Or how about this for taking pop-up restaurants to another level? Consultant, presenter, writer, chef, restaurateur, music fan and all-round foodie genius John Quilter has a Food Busking pitch at the market; much like the musical version there is no set price, you pay what you think the dish was worth. Usually found coaxing musicians into surprisingly natural and open conversations at festivals via the medium of food, on my visit he was shucking oysters and knocking up a seafood pasta for an appreciative crowd.

Come along, support the concept and producers of Real Food, and grab yourself something seriously good to eat.

Yours, newly addicted to Food Busking,
Girl About Town xx


  1. Wow very nice The Real Food Market shown in this blog.
    Thanks for sharing......
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    1. You're most welcome - hope you enjoy it! :)