14 Dec

Window to the world: Broadway Market

Nothing beats a good Christmas market, but finding a good one is somewhat of a challenge; we’re so over disappointing grottos and frazzled bratwurst served on plastic plates. As an alternative, Broadway Market in Hackney isn’t exactly a traditional festive destination - but it’s certainly a great market to head to at this time of year. If you’re after unbelievably good street food, independent stalls and friendly pubs, then this is the place to go on a Saturday. Here’s our take on this vibrant cockney market, along with Jonathan’s favourite shops and stalls...

It’s hard to imagine that this bustling multi-cultural market was once teetering on the edge of existence. With a heritage that spans back to 1900 when Fred Cooke started selling jellied eels on the side of the road, Broadway was one of the most thriving markets in East London – but by the 1970’s the neglected street barely had a handful of traders. At one point, the council had planned to demolish the market to make room for a motorway feeder route – running the risk of completely dividing a community and separating fiercely loyal East End families. No-one thought it would survive, with the locals expecting to lose the heart of their community.   

Fast forward to 2018 and the market is an inspiring place to visit, with more than 150 traders selling their wares. Demands for a pitch at Broadway is so high that the waiting lists have been closed. Despite vast regeneration funding and failed attempts by the council to set up a new market place, it was the locals themselves who saved Broadway when they decided to act in 2004 and relaunch it as a non-profit making market selling artisan street food, superior handmade products, vintage clothing and fresh produce. New shops and restaurants quickly followed, bringing new life to the area.

Image credit: Becky Excell © 2018 GLUTEN FREE CUPPA TEA

Over the Christmas period you can enjoy some outstanding street food with a festive twist and pick up some unique gifts, with talented buskers and performers providing all the entertainment you might need. Although not your average mainstream Christmas market, Broadway is a foodies’ dream and caters for everyone with plenty of vegan and gluten free food.

Image credit: Becky Excell © 2018 GLUTEN FREE CUPPA TEA

The closest tube stop is Bethnal Green but you can also easily access the market from Hoxton or Haggerston on the Overground. The market is on every Saturday from 9am, and you can enjoy a pleasant walk via Regents Canal on route.

Image credit: Becky Cocker, CARV

Jonathan’s Favourites

The Oyster Boy

Enjoy locally sourced oysters that are ‘shucked with love’ by the legend – you’ll recognise Conor, The Oyster Boy and his Dad, Bruno (Oyster Boy Senior) by their quirky sense of style and their passion for bringing the best, freshest oysters to Londoners. They’re served on ice with a splash of lemon, alongside a Bloody Mary cocktail.

Image Credit: Conor Pearson, The Oyster Boy

Image credit: Conor Pearson, The Oyster Boy

Deeneys

Head to Scottish-inspired Deeneys – run by Paddy and Carol, their ‘MacBeth’ haggis toastie is more of an icon than a snack, and has been heralded as the best sandwich by the Telegraph, the London Evening Standard and the Independent.

Image credit: Deeneys

Image credit: Deeneys

Climpsons and Sons

These guys are the roasting experts, and they are big in London’s speciality coffee scene. Using their expert knowledge with a focus on flavour, quality and ethical trading, they go to great lengths to make sure they are serving unique and exciting coffees to their customers.

Image credit: Climpsons and Sons

The shop was originally a butchers, so they decided to keep the name Climpsons and Sons and their café is exactly what you need it to be after a day of exploring – friendly and easy going.

Image credit: Climpsons and Sons

Nonna’s Gelato

The inspiration behind this awesome gelato business began 85 years ago with one wonderful Italian Nonna! Londoner Sophia learnt all she could from her Nonna and now uses her Italian heritage and her love of seasonal, local produce to create something quite special. Made using the traditional Italian process with only the best of British and Italian produce, Sophia and her Nonna’s Gelato team infuse, pasteurise, age and churn all their gelato batches by hand. Enjoy flavours like Kentish Cobnut, Chocolate & Sicilian Blood Orange Marmalade and Eton Mess.

Image credit: Sophia Brothers, Nonna’s Gelato

Dookie’s Grill

This South London family duo are new to the market, with their Caribbean street food stall opening last month. Drawing on their expertise, they know exactly how to use traditional ingredients like chillies, coconuts and pineapples to create tasty dishes. Don’t leave the market without trying their authentic plantain fries.

Sweet yellow fried pineapples on grill outdoors

CARV

For durable handmade leather bags and accessories, take a look at CARV. Becky has a unique life, living on her canal boat and running her creative business after leaving her job as a town planner.

Image credit: Becky Cocker, CARV

She sources all her materials from local suppliers and makes each of her quality items from her Hackney Wick studio using age-old leather working techniques.

Image credit: Becky Cocker, CARV

The Broadway Bookshop

This is a delightful, small independent bookshop set in the very heart of Broadway Market. You’ll find some great literary fiction at The Broadway Bookshop, but you can also explore their shelves for some outstanding poetry, biography and travel books. You’ll find the most dedicated book lovers here, hunting down second-hand collectables, and the shop also runs a regular series reading and book signing events.  

The Cat & Mutton Pub

This popular 300 year old pub was named after the nearby Cat and Mutton Bridge, built over the canal. It’s an unusual name, but it perfectly ties in with the area’s heritage. The Regents Canal was vital for transporting supplies to the North, from its construction in 1812 up to the rise of the railways in the 1840’s. Coal barges on the canal were called ‘Cats’. It was also an area where livestock would pass by, and Sheep Lane and Lamb Lane are reminders of this – hence ‘Mutton’. The Cat and Mutton pub has two sections, with a traditional pub downstairs serving ales and roasts, and a cocktail lounge upstairs that offer great views of the market below.

Broadway Vintage

Wanting something completely unique to wear for your Christmas cocktails evening? Hackney is known for its creative street style, so you’re sure to be inspired. If you love discovering vintage treasures, then set some time out of your day at Broadway to explore the rails of Paul Goby’s stall – you’ll find unique and quality pieces, from fine animal prints to leather and tweed coats.

Biffs Jack Shack

Biff and Christa have dedicated themselves to indulgent vegan food. Or as they call it, ‘the world’s filthiest vegan junk food’. Biffs Jack Shack make innovative and fun food, using jack fruit to make burgers and crispy fried wings, with blue ‘cheese; and homemade ‘bacon’ jam – perfect for when vegans need something truly mouth-watering.  

Image credit: © 2018 Biff’s Jack Shack

Waffle On

If you fancy fresh waffles, then Eddie is the man to see at Broadway Market. Waffle On uses Dorset buttermilk, making their hot waffles suitable for both sweet and savoury toppings. From boozy cherries to fried chicken, you’re sure to find something that hits the spot. They also have gluten free options and fully vegan waffles, which can be served with vegan ice cream and vegan chocolate sauce. Here’s their summer fruits waffle, with fruits and berries, Greek yogurt, blueberry coulis and honey. Yum.

Image credit: Eddie Ruffett, Waffle On.

Meringue Girls

Rainbow Unicorn Meringues, anyone? At the top of the market, further away from the river, you’ll find the Meringue Girls. Aside from their plucky, cheerful ‘meringue kisses’ made with natural colours and flavours, you can try an assortment of mini pavlovas, salted caramel bites and meringue-topped gluten free brownies. Ideal Christmas stocking fillers.

Image credit: Becky Excell © 2018 GLUTEN FREE CUPPA TEA

Image credit: Becky Excell © 2018 GLUTEN FREE CUPPA TEA