Yesterday we again took advantage of being up early (there is a definite theme going on here!), to head up to Shoreditch to support our friend Keith with his new business venture/food stall, ‘Stick Em Up’. I had been up since 5am to head to a local fair to source stock for my business (WHY they start so early on a Sunday is beyond me, but needs must…), and back home by 7.30, so we were ready and raring by 9am.
I love Shoreditch on a weekend morning. It’s lovely and quiet after all the revelry that’s gone on the night before, and I actually love how the architecture is so bleak and urban, with only a sprinkling of cafes open, and later, all the fabulous design and vintage stores. Our first stop was ‘The Old Shoreditch Station’ for coffee and quite possibly some of the best carrot cake I’ve tasted. What’s great about going with small children early, is that there is always more room for them to roam around and not annoy everyone, although F & S were pretty well-behaved, especially with the proverbial dangling carrot (cake) to keep them occupied. I love my children but I confess to missing lazy weekend time in a cafe like this, with a book or the weekend papers for company. It does happen occasionally, but not nearly as often as i’d like!
Post-coffee hit (Essential when you’ve already been up for nearly 6 hours), we strolled down Columbia Road to seek out the famous flower market, not before a pit-stop at the park there, SUCH a blessing when you’re in a largely concrete jungle with two toddlers. It must be a GODSEND for the local residents. This was our deal with Freddie and Sasha- Cake and park in exchange for flower browsing and friend supporting!
Columbia Road flower market really is something else. Open from 8am on a Sunday, it had the most beautiful array of flowers and plants imaginable- I could have gone totally bonkers here, but restrained myself and came away with a couple of bunches of Dutch Iris’ and a huge bunch of sunflowers for my Mum (to say thanks for all the gardening help!). The stall holder would only let me take a picture of the sunflowers if he could be in it, haha!
After negotiating the market crowds, we ventured over to Cotton’s Gardens, where Keith and his Friend Gaz’s stall was. Located in a secluded courtyard, ‘Stick Em Up’ was already beginning to buzz. It sells fantastic street food in the form of meat on sticks (what’s not to love?), with an Asian twist. Keith, and his ladyfriend, Olwyn (one of my BFFs) lived in Thailand and South Korea for several years, and having visited them in Korea, I know from first hand experience that Keith is an AMAZING cook when it comes to cuisine from this part of the world.
Adam and I plunged in head first and tried both their dishes of the day: Coconut chicken with a satay sauce, and pulled pork on a bed of noodles. Genuinely delicious and mouthwateringly tender, and even had a thumbs up from both children, who can both be a bit funny when it comes to meat (I think it can be the texture sometimes that puts them off).
Pudding was DIVINE- Coconut rice pudding with baked cinnamon pineapple, topped with almond and coconut brittle. Again, huge thumbs up from all family members here!
Post-food we mooched around the vintage clothing and cake stalls in the Market, before heading home with two tired small people for a well-deserved post-food Sunday slump.
All I can say is a big WELL DONE and round of applause to Keith and Gaz- ‘Stick Em Up’ is ace, and the food was well worth the journey across the river (which is a compliment in itself, as I’m extremely lazy venturing north of it these days!).
I do heart Shoreditch, despite its rep for being a bit too hipstery and pretentious for it’s own good. If you look beyond this, there is so much good stuff going on and I love the creative vibe. Plus it’s a photographer’s dream when it comes to photographing the buildings and people inhabiting it. I’m looking forward to treating myself to a date with my camera soon sans children, and snapping away. Oh, and TOTALLY going to book myself on one of the graffiti tours that are held regularly in Shoreditch, some of the artwork is unreal!
Hope you had a good weekend!
‘Stick Em Up’, every Sunday Noon til 5pm, Cotton’s Gardens Market, 48 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8AA
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