OK I am about to get all political on you here (sort of). One thing London really has going for it, is all the small businesses occupying tiny commercial corners of the city. For anyone that doesn't know, starting a business (in particular a food or alcohol-related business) in California is a shit-show: triple sinks, commercial ovens, city building and health permits, public hearings (where every NIMBY douche and their mother shows up to complain about the potential parking and noise impacts - barf), ABC paperwork and expense, agggghhhhh.
You cannot even start a sandwich joint without a half-million dollar layout upfront.
It's not like that in London. It generally seems a bit more, "if you eat that and die then it is your fault - and besides we have healthcare so it doesn't really matter anyway." Start up costs way are lower for small businesses. In general, the city planning bureaucracy is more supportive of adaptive reuse of abandoned manufacturing or industrial space (as compared to the U.S. - in my humble opinion).
Case in Point: Maltby Market, which is a collection of small independent shops, restaurants, cheese producers, bars, breweries, farmers, butchers, bakers, and candlestick-makers (not really) attracted to the area by cheap rents and an excellent location. This "market" is just a bunch of formerly blighted railway arches and unused industrial space that has been converted into a great place to spend a Saturday morning. It is all really just so hodge-podge and creative. I effing love it.
|Norwegian guy that smokes his own salmon, divine.|
|This is just a shitty alley, but add pork and booze and it is a lovely place.|
Because the alcohol-related rules are less draconian here in London than they are in the U.S., you also get pop-up bars like this one serving Little Bird London Dry Gin (Finny - you would never leave this place). They use mismatched 1950's drinking glasses to serve creative cocktails, and they were PACKED at 11:30am on a Saturday.
|Little Bird London Dry Gin - put a bird on it!|
Kernel Brewery. The brewery is also in the Maltby Market area, in yet another abandoned railway arch.
Talk about a no-frills brewery. You sit on the floor or at picnic tables, order ham from the Spanish guy next door, and viola - Cloud Nine. They even have a sandbox for the kiddos, smart move Kernel. Their hoppy IPAs taste especially good after all the flat, warm cask ales you drink around here.
|Hanging hams, I want one.|
|Salami and beer, perfection as god intended.|
|This is it, the railway arch. Such a great example of adaptive reuse!|
|Inside the brewery. These dues were annoyed I took a picture, sorry guys.|
We had lunch at 40 Maltby Street, since it was a bit cold to eat outside at the market - which is the tragic downfall of pop-up-anything in London. 40 Maltby has the most creative (and sometimes scary) food menu and serve wines from tiny vineyards throughout Europe. We had game pie, beet salad, mussels, and an unfiltered red wine from France.
|The 40 Maltby kitchen, tiny and everything made fresh.|
|Yup, pork cooked in milk. So good it should be illegal.|
Feeling inspired by everything at the market, we came home and cooked up chicken potpies - homemade crust and all. Oh the buttery goodness. We used this recipe from Simply Recipes (love) and it was all surprisingly waaaayyyyyy easier than I thought it would be.
Note: we amended the recipe a little by adding leeks, fresh off the cob corn, purple carrots, and extra celery.
|H.S. and Momma Tina - yes, we have doggie salt and peppers here too.|
|Never come between a man and his pie.|
|Th berry pie was a bit overdone, but hell it was my first try.|