If your diary is anything like mine, it has become a bit like Chiltern Firehouse – no weekend availability for the next three months. It seems that we Londoners have all become so obsessed with diarising every spare moment we have, for fear of not having anything to do, that we have lost our ability to be spontaneous and curious.
So this weekend, after a long week at work, my partner Paul and I – in an attempt to embody who we were five years ago when we both moved to this amazing city – jumped on a bike without a plan and rode into Shoreditch.
After docking our bikes near by Spitalfield market we joined all the seriously trendy and good looking hipsters for a casual stroll, in search of a cool new place to eat brunch (our most favourite meal of the day). In our travels we stopped for a coffee at Dark Sugar cocoa house – which seemed random to me at first, given it was a chocolate shop. But my soya mocha, which arrived with a mountain of freshly shaved chocolate on top, was surprisingly delicious – stirring up an instant urge to Instagram it.
Coffee in hand, we then stumbled across a cool Peruvian tapas placed called Andina – we had heard seemingly good reviews, so being curious we finished our chocolately coffees and headed in. Seated upstairs the atmosphere was charming with authentic decor, south american tunes and a direct view into the kitchen revealing a seriously attractive chef.
I had the Huevos Q’apachana or “spicy eggs”, which was an artistically arranged stack of spicy potato puree, sauteed mushrooms, wilted spinach and poached eggs. My partner had the Pudin de Maiz – a corn fritter with bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce and we both shared a confit pork belly roll with corn puree coriander and chilli sauce.
Albeit smaller than I would expect for the £9 price tag, both main meals were very pleasing – especially my spicy potato puree; I have never tasted anything like it. And the pork belly roll off the street food menu was, as expected, “melt in your mouth” bliss.
Brunch was then followed by some random clothes shopping in a vintage store off Brick Lane where I picked up a cool “old school” Hawaiian shirt for a Secret Cinema event I am going along to in a couple of weeks – the theme is Dirty Dancing. Although I was obviously happy about my purchase, I am still perplexed at how there is such a market for vintage clothes – especially given their smell. But hey – different strokes for different folks!
Just as we thought the rain clouds were about to roll in and we were about to retire from walking, we stumbled across a raging food market on Brick Lane called City Summer House. Instantly we were excited – racing off to get some cash out of the machine so we could buy “stuff”. If the makeshift bar, astro turf and pumping dance tracks weren’t enough to entice, the collective aroma and free sampling of the heaving food stalls, I’m sure would be enough to tip any foodie off the edge.
After much deliberation we sat down to enjoy the truly global selection of Sicilian arancini balls, ricotta cannoli, pork dumplings and chicken rendang curry we had managed to hustle – with a freshly squeezed apple and cranberry juice to wash it all down. You might be thinking “what a mishmash of flavours”, but hey its a food market! That’s considered standard play in these parts.
Only one more thing left do; swing past Beigel Shop for some rainbow bagels on the way home – that’s breakfast tomorrow sorted.
I guess it seems we don’t really need our google calendar in order to uncover some of the best simple eats that London has to offer – just get out there and explore people!