Greek olives at Old Spitalfields Market
Our final full day in London started and finished at Old Spitalfields Market. We had plans to meet Julie & Steve for lunch at Quality Chop House, but as it was such a lovely day we wanted to get out early and get a walk in before meeting them. Which actually turned into quite a long walk through not very picturesque streets, but we enjoyed the market and I also got to see the Smithfield meat market, which is housed in a surprisingly beautiful building. Along the way I got a message from Julie saying that they were on the train and, if they got in early, they were going to stop for a “quick one” at The Eagle (London’s first gastrobar), across the street from Quality Chop. As it turned out we all arrived there about the same time, and half an hour early for our lunch reservastion, so The Eagle it was.
Then lunch at Quality Chop. I was introduced to QC by the FoodieHub people, when I was invited to the FH Awards back in 2015, and this was my third visit. It is one of my favourite places to eat in London – always amazing food and terrific service. You may even recall that when Julie & Steve came to Sevilla last Christmas I made – or attempted to make – chef Sean Searley’s iconic confit potatoes. And Sean even gave me some advice on Twitter, which I thought was very sweet of him.
Anyhow, this was a chance for Julie & Steve to try the real deal potatoes, along with THAT hereford mince and various other wonderful QC dishes. It was an outstanding lunch and by far the best meal of the trip (you can see details below). Many thanks to Sean and the QC team.
After lunch there was another treat in store for us as Julie & Steve decided we should have a penúltima at a hidden gem of a pub called Ye Olde Mitre. En route Julie told us stories of her time working in the area, and we passed the shop where Steven bought her engagement ring. Although they no longer live in the city, they spent many happy years there and are full of insider knowledge. We were joined at Ye Olde Mitre by my pal @CityJohn. Whenever people dis social media (and in particular Twitter) all I can say is that many of the people I hold dear in my life are people I met on Twitter. And John is one of the most special ones.
Finally it was time to say goodbye, and Peter and I decided to walk over to the Sky Garden bar atop the hideous “walkie talkie” building, to try and catch a glimpse of MY SHARD at sunset. It had suddenly occureed to me that I hardly had any photos of the Shard from this visit. And so over we walked, and up we went, only to find that we were too late to walk outside on the viewing platforms (which close at 6 pm). So close and yet so far! And so I had to make do with taking a shot of my beloved Shard from inside. I’ll know better next time.
By this time a few hours had past since lunch and we were thinking that a snack before going home would probably be a good idea, and so that’s how we ended up back at Old Spitalfields Market. But not before passing through Leadenhall Market, which kind of popped up out of nowhere. So by the time we got to Taberna do Mercado (almost 20,000 fitbit steps since leaving home in the morning) we were ready for a drink and a snack. We shared chef Nuno Mendez’s fabulous tempura green beans, and a couple of the Portuguese butties. And then it was time to find an Uber back to the apartment and start packing for home.
Smithfield Meat Market
chef Shaun Searley and his famous confit potatoes
Quality Chop House
- Smoked cod’s roe, cured egg yolk
- THOSE confit potatoes
- THAT Hereford mince, dripping toast, watercress
- Nettle gnocchi, walnut, Cornish Yarg cheese
- Middle White pork, beetroot, seabeet
- Chicken livers, prune, mustard, pear, hazelnut
Ye Olde Mitre
Peter, Steven, Julie and John at Ye Olde Mitre
obstructed view from the Sky Garden
the Spitalfields goat
Taberna do Mercado:
prawn rissoís, presa pork bifana, rump steak prego
and THOSE tempura green beans