The Singapore Takeout lunch on the South Bank was heavily rained upon. Thankfully, the event was taking place in a marquee, so all we had to contend with were icy, blustery winds blowing in from the Thames. (If you can't stand the heat in the kitchen...) After lunch - by which point the rain had stopped - I took a walk past the Royal Festival Hall. The rain had scattered most people, so it was a pleasant walk in the cool, slightly humid environs of the South Bank.
I must have some sort of homing device that leads me straight to food. Frangelico has remarked on my uncanny ability to be walking around, guided by some indefinable inner sense, and happen upon a high-quality food phenomenon. (Another thing I can find this way is bookshops. Drop me in some unfamiliar territory, and I'll walk in a straight line to a bookshop in less than twenty minutes.)
On this occasion, walking around the Royal Festival Hall, I realised that I'd been led straight to a food market! The Real Food Market, a recent initiate to the London market scene, runs every weekend (Friday to Sunday) in the southern courtyard of the RFH. It brings together selected food and drink producers in a bid, they say, to "offer a completely different experience to soulless supermarkets".
Arancini with mayo
I was too full to try most of what was on offer, but I did manage a couple of arancini. These risotto croquettes were light and crisp on the outside, and still felt like risotto on the inside (often arancini can get too dry). The Arancini Brothers stall was manned by Dave (from Australia) and Dave (from New Zealand). I started chatting with them about how inventive and interesting Aussie and Kiwi cooking can be, wondering if it had to do with the amazing produce the two countries were able to harvest. They said something interesting: that the best produce actually gets exported to Japan and South East Asia, leaving behind only second-tier goods. (Here's a question for our Antipodean readers - can this be true?!) Aussie Dave's take on it is that the food's so good because of the cultural diversity. He makes a good point, and I can think of Singapore, South Africa, New York and London as further examples of cultural melting pots that yield excellent food.
The Two Daves feigning nonchalance as they are photographed by Truffle
Gives a whole new meaning to 'this little piggy went to market'...
The overcast sky was threatening to erupt into rain again, so I didn't get many more photos. But the scene of this roast - outside one of the restaurants in the RFH - was just so disturbing, I had to stop and stare. I can't quite decide what to make of this. On the one hand, it fits right in with the natural, provenance-led theme of the market. But on the other hand, it feels a little like urbanite exhibitionism. What do you guys think?
I'll be back at the market in a few weeks, but this time on an empty stomach, to try the other stuff on offer. Watch this space.