Originally uploaded by Geordie Munkey.
I set off very early this morning, taking the train to London Bridge Station bound for Borough Market. If you haven't been to London but you've been to the cinema, you might recognise the Market as the place Bridget Jones walks through when she catches love rat Daniel Cleaver with the stick insect from the New York Office. And given that Bridget's apartment is above The Globe Pub that literally overlooks this place, I suspect Borough Market was the very place that Bridget bought the ingredients for her birthday dinner of blue soup, orange marmalade and caper berry gravy. Could be....
Borough Market (pronounced 'Burra', for those Americans playing along at home) is a literal feast for the senses. I got there just before 9am, almost an hour after the market opened. Sellers were still setting up their stores, laying out their wares carefully, just-so. Coffee shops and bakeries were already doing a roaring trade and it was very hard to decide where I should go for my morning cuppa. I ended up choosing a fairly la-di-da place called Monmouth. It's one of those 100% ethical, fair trade places but the real attraction for me was that the line of customers extended right out the door. Whatever they were selling, I had to be part of it. The coffee was good - it started my heart, but I can't say it changed my life.
Feeling energised by 100% ethical caffeine, I proceeded to get completely lost amidst the sights and smells in this place, and this time I didn't mind a bit. I did a couple of laps of the Market for reconnaissance purposes, and quickly realised that my shopping bags would simply not accommodate all the goodies I wanted to buy. So I used today's shopping trip as a chance to replenish my stocks of hummus, carrot sticks and fruits - with a delicious French baguette, some figs and gorgonzola cheese thrown in for kicks. The flirty cheesemaker did wonders for my self-confidence, I can assure you.
The highlight of my visit this morning was finding Maria's Market Cafe in the Jubilee section of the Market. On his TV show, Jamie Oliver commented on Maria and how her little cafe serves, in his opinion, the best bubble and squeak in London. Known locally as "bubble", Maria's version is not at all pretty to look at, but he raved about it's crunchy texture and delicious taste. I simply had to try it for myself. I found Maria's place without a problem - it was like I had inbuilt GPS for food or something! I ordered an "egg, bacon and bubble bap" (a bap is just a bread roll). Squirting brown (HP) sauce on top, I stuffed the breakfast in and it was well worth it. Sure it was like eating 100% grease - I think the napkin was the healthiest part - but I am so glad I tried it. I can now say I've tried an authentic - dare I suggest famous - London dish! Yummo!