I was up in London a few weeks ago to visit Emma. Rather than make lots of plans, including multiple restaurant reservations, I decided to let Emma take charge. She’s very easy going (unlike control freak, plan ahead Sophie who takes after me) and I figured it would be relaxing to just go with the flow.
It turned out to be not only relaxing, but delicious too.
On Sunday we slept late, and then had a long walk on a brilliantly sunny day through Victoria Park to end up at the flower market. Located on Columbia Road, this weekly market takes place every Sunday, from about 8am to 3pm. It was a bit chaotic, but immense fun. Flower stalls lined each side of the small road, hawking everything from miniature cacti to huge banana trees. Bunches of colorful flowers predominate, of course, and just about every bunch seemed to cost ‘a fiver.’ We filled our arms with enough tulips and irises to brighten up Emma’s flat, and headed off to lunch.
Of course, this being my ‘relaxed’ daughter, we hadn’t made any reservations. But Emma knew right where we were headed: The Marksman. Or course, when we walked in, although all the tables were empty (it was only noon) we were told they were all booked. But we must have looked so sad, that they took pity on us and told us that since we were so early, we could stay as long as we were finished by 1:30. No problem! Emma was right. You just don’t have to worry about these things. They work out somehow.
The Marksman is a traditional corner pub, where people stop by for a pint or a meal. But since it’s in Hackney, it also means that the owners are hip and young and interested in providing great food.
There was no question about what I was going to order: Sunday Roast. It’s an English tradition that I love, the idea of having some sort of roast on Sunday. But it isn’t just the roast meat (which can be beef, lamb or chicken) that I love, but everything that goes with it.
I chose lamb, but the juicy, medium rare slices were just the start. Balanced on top was a golden puffy yorkshire pudding. And the ‘three veg’ were a delicious trio of buttery mashed cauliflower, wilted kale and steamed carrots. Crispy, oven roasted potatoes were almost too much, but not quite.
But what I really love? Those English sauces. Displayed on a side board there were of course vinegar, ketchup and HP Sauce. But also big jars of mustard, mayonaise and – my favorite – mint sauce.
Emma was a bit more American in her choice, and went for a the fat, juicy burger.
254 Hackney Road
Columbia Road Flower Market
Sunday, 8-3pm. Flowers yes, but also a bunch of cute shops and a couple of restaurants.
A really lovely park, since it’s over in East London I’d never gotten a chance to visit before. If it’s a nice day, and you feel like exploring, it’s well worth it. It’s huge.