Lunchtime at The Kitchen, Old Spitalfields Market
We Londoners are lucky that we have some of the best street food in the world tube stop away. We’re also very lucky that some of our cities best street food vendors have morphed into some of the worlds best restaurants (here is looking at you Bao!) So, when I heard that some sort of hybrid; small, professional kitchens out in the open, surrounded by more street food stalls had opened up in Old Spitalfields Market, I put a note in my diary that I must stop by for lunch with some old favourites, and new discoveries.
After following them on Instagram for what seems like forever, my main reason for wanting to visit The Kitchen in the first place was it was somewhere I could find Dumpling Shack all day every day without having to drag myself to the wrong part of London to visit Broadway Market. I challenge you to look at their feed and not want a bowl of their beefy, dan dan noodles, or more importantly, a crisp serving of their famous soup dumplings. Along with Yum Bun, they have the biggest queue there, so be prepared for a wait and grab some complimentary jasmine tea. They do some great lunch sets, so it is worth ordering for everyone, while other people go off and get bubble tea/ ice cream sandwiches (see below!) Divide and conquer!
Right, so can someone in the comments section please explain to me how you eat these delicious, pork and leek soup stuffed dumplings without burning your mouth on hot soup/ pouring hot soup down your front? I was so glad that I was lunching solo! The flavours are fantastic and I can see why they are so popular, but I was so happy to be dining solo I made such a mess of myself! Assistance please?
An old favourite of mine from street food festivals and their fantastic restaurant in Clerkenwell (they’ve also recently opened a Soho branch, too) is Breddos Tacos. I had their chicken and fish tacos, and they were excellent. Okay, they were not as utterly incredible as the last time I had them (so do book into one of their restaurants at some point) but they are still some of the best tacos in London. Also, they have a few seats you can perch on while you eat, and inexplicably no queue when you want your taco fix.
For dessert I headed to another vendor I’d never tried but had bookmarked, purveyors of all things frozen and dessert like, Happy Endings. I had hoped to sit at the tiny counter that had been temptingly empty all lunchtime to order a plated dessert (they looked incredible) and perhaps treat myself to a lunchtime glass of something that would pair well with it, but a large group had squished themselves in when I arrived, so I turned to their ice cream sandwich menu instead. They all looked delicious, and curiously different, and in the end I went for this miso salted caramel number, sandwiched between two deliciously firm but still moist and springy slices of Guinness chocolate cake. It was a wonderful ice cream sandwich; creamy, with the right balance of sweet and savoury, the miso making it just that little bit more interesting than some of its rivals. Do treat yourself to one if you’re passing.
If you work in the area you’re super, super lucky. If not, take a weekend to make the trek over to try some of the vendors Old Spitalfields Market has brought together. Also with Dumpling Shack, Breddos Tacos and Happy Endings, also housed there that I really want to try are Berber and Q, Thousand Knives and Yi Fang. Oh, and did I mention that an Ahi Poke has just opened?