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Hoxton Street Market – street food and old shops in East London

London seems to have gone crazy about street markets, and this is no news. If Borough market is now seen as “passe’” by the food blogging crowds who consider it a thing for tourists, other spaces are emerging to fame and hopefully commercial success- cue Brixton Market and Brockley Market in the South, Broadway Market and Chatsworth Road market in the East. But had you heard of Hoxton Street Market before? I confess I had not until recently, although I live literally two minutes on foot from Hoxton Street and had been there many time to eat at the Ginger Pig Café.  A mention of the Saturday weekly Hoxton Street Market caught my eye on Twitter on a weekend where everyone else seemed to be heading to Soho Food Fest and I couldn’t. I decided to pay a visit to my local market just to avoid feeling like the only foodie in London to be kept away from new grub by mundane things like “I have to get work done”, and I did not regret it.

hoxton street market london

How is it? Well, Hoxton is not Soho, and with all my love for the area I can’t honestly say that the market is threatening to overshadow Broadway Market anytime soon, but it is worth discovering if you are interested in a glimpse in the area’s past- and its future.

Hoxton Street Market: history and future

A market trading in clothing, fresh food and mixed goods has been going on in Hoxton Street since 1687, and is now ready for a new lease of life, courtesy of the London’s street food nouvelle vague.

In Hoxton Street Market as it is today, the “old” (the fairly scruffy shops and watering holes of Hoxton Street, an area which was part of a giant asylum estate in the XIX century according to Hoxton historians) and the “new” (a handful of new and cool fod and fashion stalls) live side to side, but haven’t quite jelled yet in a cutesy Columbia-Road-style mix. To me, Hoxton Street Market gets bonus points for “authenticity”.

hoxton street market hackney

“We would love to see Hoxton and its market flourish as a real shopping destination – a market that represents London at its best. Hackney is a place of true diversity and Hoxton Street Market has the spirit to reflect this. We want it to become a market that rivals the good general markets you find in countries such as France and Italy.”
(Matt Jones, Hoxton Bakery – source Made In Shoreditch)

Apparently, the Hackney Council and local businesses are investing to improve services and encourage new traders to set up their kerbs alongside the street’s shops and eateries and regular stalls. This involves both food and crafts businesses, although of course I am more interested in the former.

Hoxton Street Market traders: who’s there?

Food-wise, on the day I visited, I spotted, in no particular order:

hoxton street market traders 1

• An Italian-American food stall under the brilliant name of Capish?
• A Korean bbq stand
Quinto Quarto, a “nose to tail” concept offering Italian meat recipes like trippa (stewed tripes)
• Cupcakes stands (sorry, I don’t do cupcakes so I didn’t really pay attention but trust me there was frosting and food colouring aplenty)
Hoxton Bakery, looking pretty good with a variety of sweet and savoury baked goods – with no preservatives, no animal fats and “no inflated prices” which is a good thing indeed.
• A stand called Rare Str’eats – selling meat in various fashions including the ever-popular burrito
A stall selling farm- fresh eggs (hen, duck, goose and quail), which is going to sort me out from now on as I ADORE eggs, especially fresh, free-range ones; here, they also sell them for honest prices and with a smile so bonus points

hoxton street market capish
Hoxton Kitchen- a place where two guys looking “too cool for you anyway” sell relishes and jams and serve freshly made toasties. We tried this one as an appetizer on our way to lunch and it was pretty good – a properly made toastie, with gooey cheese, tasty chorizo and good sourdough bread crisped by grilling. Pet peeve: since it doesn’t really come cheap at £4.5 for a toastie, please use a decent oil instead of the cheapo Filippo Berio Olive Oil.

Hoxton Street Market and the locals

Another great feature of Hoxton Street that I really like is its array of colourful and sometimes eccentric shops, all of them beating the current retro and taxidermy trends. For instance, a proper “pie shop” serving (ewww) jellied eels like F. Cooke’s Pie & Mash restaurant; or Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – a purveyor of fine goods for the living and dead (!) which is more than 200 years old. There is also a “mortuary services” company boasting a very tasteful, sparse window decoration ; and the inevitable “vintage and antique” fashion shop has opened at one end of the street. Overall, the look of Hoxton Street still has something unique about it, setting it apart from the nearby Shoreditch.

hoxton street shop signs

“We are pleased to have new traders joining us at Hoxton Street. The inner London markets have changed over the years. Where they have previously served the local community and there was no need to go elsewhere, they now don’t play such a central part but are still important. New stalls are just the start and with dedication from those in it for the long-haul, the spin off from a busier market and more customers will benefit all traders and businesses”  (Joe Cooke of F. Cooke’s Pie & Mash- source Made In Shoreditch).

And of course, there’s plenty of local “characters”; whilst it is very non politically correct to admit that we’re here to spy on rastafarians, slightly crazy-looking cat ladies and haughty gentlemen in drags, I am sure they look the same inquisitive way at us. Young, hip or wannabe hip, going around with our huge cameras and large(ish) wallets, ready to dish out for organic posh burgers and vegan cupcakes. They seem to be doing just fine with the local Poundland.

hoxton street market locals community

The face of this old guy sumps up how the locals must feel about Hoxton Street Market’s recent hip turn ;)

More info about Hoxton Street Market

The market does not seem to have a website at the moment- but they have a Facebook page where hopefully they are going to give info about new traders, events etc.

If  you are a trader at Hoxton Street Market and I have missed you in the list, please get in touch, I’d be happy to add you :)

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One Comment

  1. Although this is a lovely market to visit (when London is not cold), it would be lovely to see something with a Caribbean flare and Indian to reflect what London caters for.

    Jane

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