Random person: “Is that the queue? I’m don’t think I want I want to queue for this.”
Everyone else around her: “Yes you do!”
Or at least, that is what happened in my head when someone anyone has a problem with queuing. Queuing, that quintessentially British thing that I don’t really see replicated and accepted in any other country. Maybe except Japan…
Anyway, I’m at Maltby Street Market, mainly because of potatoes. Specifically jersey royal potatoes. Apparently, it’s the 140th anniversary of the jersey royal. Exactly why this is an anniversary I’m not sure. It’s a potato, albeit a very nice potato. Goes well in my mum’s potato salad. Or my roast potatoes. But it’s a potato, not, say, a burger.
Anyway, the problem is I couldn’t find the place/stall. And the problem with Maltby street market is that it is the equivalent of the red light district in Amsterdam. Everywhere you turn there is food porn. Everywhere. Even now, just thinking about it I’m drooling (the food, not the…)
Now I think we can all agree I am not particularly fussy about food. Hell, my most frequented place to eat is Favourite Fried Chicken on Barking Road. Anyway, as said, not fussy about food, so I’m happy to try anything.
Yes, even vegan stuff.
However, going down Maltby Street is just food overload. It’s not like they have people screaming and hawking at you to try their wares. They just have it on display and you can’t help looking over.
And then you see the queues…
Or at least, you believe it’s the queue. With the way everything is packed into one narrow street it’s hard to distinguish where the queues begin since everything just merges into a sea of people.
But I knew at the very least I wanted the potatoes. Not something I expected to hear myself saying or writing, but there you go. Michelin Starred chef cooks potatoes. And I lose my shit.
Anyway, I digress. I couldn’t find the stall. I’ve walked up and down and it’s nowhere to be found.
What I DID find was the Gyoza Guys.
These guys were the reason I first went hunting for Maltby Street Market. And they weren’t there! The absolute cheek of it. Well, I wasn’t going to miss the chance this time, and I got in line and queued. And passed the time taking random photos, and drooling at the food.
Just look at these, they’re gorgeous! Now I should mention the Gyoza Guys also do their own brand of chilli oil. I’ll be honest, needs more chilli! And seriously, go check out their Instagram
Now the only thing I need to do is find a place to sit and enjoy this.
Which may be harder than I thought. The scant seating that is available on the street itself is reserved for the restaurants in the arches themselves. So like I last time I was here, I headed towards the carpark area that also houses Hiver Beer.
You know the saying you never know what you have until it’s gone? Yeah, actually this part of the story has nothing to do with that. I wasn’t aiming to get a drink of any sort. I had a bottle of water in my bag, which would have suited me just fine. But like I mentioned earlier, how people don’t have to hawk their wares. They just let the products do the talking for them.
I walked past this stall of craft beers by the Modern Beer Company, and nearly gave myself whiplash on how fast I turned around to backtrack and speak to the guy running the stall.
“What would you recommend to go with this?” I asked, pointing fervently to my box of gyoza in all its glory. Not for one second thinking that the guy at the stall would even have an idea of what this was.
But, like a true trader, he knew straight off that was the from the Gyoza Guys and whipped out a beer that would accompany it perfectly. He spoke about hops, being slightly maltier, West coast beers. I nod my head and go along with the conversation saying all the right things, and grunting in agreement.
What? I’m a recruiter, I can pretend to be an expert on anything as long as the conversation doesn’t go on for any length of time.
Or, I’m just a sucker, and he just sold me a beer he’s been trying to offload for ages. Either way, I walk off with gyoza in one hand and beer in the other. I’ve found a place to sit down, and enjoy, nay, revel in the food I am about to receive.
Gyoza, beer, udon noodles, nice weather (it’s like 17C/62F). I could shut my eyes and pretend I am in Japan.
“OI MATE, WAS IT A 99 YOU WANTED?”
Well, there’s that illusion shattered!
Now any normal person would be happy with what I’ve just eaten. But I still want those potatoes. Look, it’s hosted by chef Chris Gillard (of St Johns if that means anything to you, dear reader), meaning regardless of how simple you may think the product is, it’s still going to be absolutely gorgeous. Plus I have now seen at least 10 posts on Instagram and I’m totally getting FOMO now. Grrrrr
Thankfully, there was one person who came to my aid. She didn’t know she would at the time, but I spotted her walking around with a cone of those potatoes in hand. So I politely asked her where she got them from.
I’m pretty sure it was politely. Not: “POTATOES WHERE?” HULK SMASH”
She smiled, told me that they were based at the end. Just outside the gate. “Outside the gate”. The one place I decided they could not be… Shows what I know. You’d have thought that decades of playing RPGs would have taught me to explore every nook and cranny.
I had straight over there and am greeted by a lovely stall that would not look out of place at a farmers’ market. I take the opportunity to chat with the people on the stall, all of whom are very passionate about British food, and seasonal produce. And the jersey royal potato.
I finally get a portion of freshly cooked potatoes, served in butter, with mint, and sea salt. Nothing more is added, and to be honest, nothing more is needed.
I walk off happily thinking of nothing else…
Then I got whiplash upon looking at these. Peanut butter milkshake? Hell yeah.
*sigh* Maybe one day I’ll be able to go to a street food market and just order one thing.
“maybe”, more like “bloody unlikely”
Opening Times: Saturday 10am – 5pm Sunday 11am – 4pm