Following a bout of highly inconsistent weather, Londoners were gifted a balmy, sun-soaked afternoon on Saturday 10 June. It was on that date that I descended on the much-advertised London Night Market, a small food festival in Perks Field, Kensington.
Security was, perhaps understandably, very tight. Despite looking about as threatening as Paul O’Grady holding a puppy, I was patted, prodded, beeped and shepherded for several minutes before being allowed to cross the threshold.
The Night Market blends big names – like Cobra beer and Bulleit Bourbon – with fledgling and mid-sized movers and shakers. The Smokestak stand garners lots of attention owing to the successful Shoreditch restaurant, with its famous slow-cooked meats of all kinds. Angela Harnett’s presence is marked with a big stand at the east end of the festival. For those wanting a Gallic experience (and possibly a tube carriage all to themselves on their journey home), the Raclette outlet serves garlic potatoes heaped in translucent onions and ripe, gooey cheese. Just up from Raclette is a gyoza dumpling stall, facing which is a static van providing fayre from the insurgent Patty and Bun brand – a pseudo-American burger shack riding London’s upmarket fast food wave.
Anyone heading for the Night Market (running until 18 June) needs to have the stomach for long queues. After 7pm, the place is heaving. The queue for Smokestak on the night I attended must have been 150 people long – winding around several other stalls and creating plenty of commotion and over-crowdedness as a result. Those initiated in Glastonbury, Wireless and the like can probably muddle through it, smiling as they romp along with beer in hand. For me, it was quite a lot of effort to get the things I wanted (and which everyone else seemingly wanted), and I ended up doing a lot of walking and not much eating.
So, there’s plenty of fab food – if you can actually get it.
by Cristian Ley