Camden Eats

28 Aug

Bank holiday Monday’s are a beautiful, scared thing. As soon as 5 o’clock hits on Friday afternoon a Prosecco mist descends upon Primrose Hill as ties are collectively loosened and heels kicked off.  The August bank holiday in particular symbolises the colourful Notting Hill Carnival and the last dregs of British sunshine. So of course as the hangover faded and the sun came out on Monday, there was no better way to spend it than eating our way around Camden’s famous market, indulging in everything from the most flavoursome falafel I’ve ever tasted to liquid nitrogen mango and ginger ice cream dusted in cardamon and pistachio. Mention ‘Camden food stalls’ and what springs to mind are rows of interchangable greasy noodles being thrust in your face as you dodge mardy teenagers trying to find their way to Cyber Dog. However slightly lesser know is Camden Lock’s West Yard, a courtyard opening onto the canal filled with elegant, pocket size boutiques and bright, unique cafes. But the best feature of the cobbled courtyard is undoubtably the dozens of world food stalls that range from Peruvian lamb to Argentinian burgers to Polish pierogis…

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The trick here is to get as many samples as possible…some stalls are more generous than others but most places will give you a small taster if you ask. We managed to get our paws on everything from ginger fudge to jerk pork, before landing on 2 mains. The prices are very reasonable and a box of food will usually range from £4.50-£6.50, with drinks and desserts starting from £2. Here are my top 5 favourites…

5.   Mama’s Jerk Station Marinated in an authentic secret jerk sauce passed down through generations  of Jamaican women, Mama’s Jerk has some of the most succulent, mouth watering meat (no innuendos please) I’ve ever tasted, each bite soaked in flavour. The fried plantain also looked amazing although I regretfully didn’t try it.

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4. Hola Paella The sight of this giant pan of bright paella is one that transports you to a sun drenched Mediterranean terrace surrounded by jugs of chilled sangria and coolly glamorous friends. The paella itself is the perfect level of moisture and boasts aromatic seafood and that crucial hint of saffron.

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3. From the (uncertain) powers of deduction, I’ve decided that the Godlike falafel that was generously and repeatedly offered to us by some handsome gentlemen was from Pakistani stand Roti House. I use these powers as the falafel was so mind blowingly good that I momentarily forgot how to use a camera.

2. Turkish Wraps was definitely a big winner of the day. The sausage, cheese and spinach wrapped in flatbread was packed with flavour and prepared right in front of you on a hot plate. The Number 2 (heehee) is the most popular item on the menu (and with good reason), although I would definitely be tempted by the lahmacun.

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1. Finally (and perhaps rather unambitiously on my behalf), the winner is the equally unambitiously named Pulled Pork. I am a complete sucker for any succulent, shredded meat and this was no exception. The incredibly tender pork is coated in barbecue sauce and paired with a chunky coleslaw, gherkins and jalapeños all on a soft, seeded bread. The owner didn’t seem one for frivolous pleasantries, but can you blame him when the woman in front of me wanted her meat on the side of the pulled pork SANDWICH she was ordering? Ugh, people.

_MG_8215So if you’re in Camden, take a rain check on the questionable meats slathered in fluorescent sauces available in the main market, and instead get lost in the enticing maze of culinary delights that the West Yard has to offer.

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Galician Octopus

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Polish Pierogi Menu

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-Phoebe

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