Saturday, 2 February 2013


It has been a busy and enjoyable week.  On Thursday, we took time out to visit Old Spitalfields Market in the East End of London, and have lunch with our youngest son who is living and studying in this regenerated and vibrant part of town.  Shoreditch, Hoxton, Brick Lane and the surrounding areas have been transformed in to a mecca for tourists and artistic residents alike and is now home to a wealth of talent within the fashion, music and arts scene.  He himself is 'living his dream' of studying film making, alongside performing in the fashionable array of bars and clubs here, persuing his singer/songwriting career.  


There has been a market at Spitalfields since 1638 when Charles I gave a licence for 'flesh, fowl, and roots' to be sold on 'Spittle Fields', which was then a rural area on the eastern outskirts of London.  After the rights to the market then lapsed during the Commonwealth, the market was refounded in 1682 by Charles II in order to feed the burgeoning population of a new suburb of London.  The market evolved over the centuries, and between 1885 and 1893 market buildings designed by George Sherrin were built for the last private owner of the fruit and vegetable market, Robert Horner.  These buildings, now grade II listed, have been restored beautifully and are at the centre to the revival of this area.  The original trade in wholesale fruit and vegetables is now located in New Spitalfields Market nearby and Old Spitalfields Market is now a fashionable and colourful destination in our Capital.

Now an all weather covered area, surrounded by the fusion of the restored Victorian splendour along with new contemporary architecture. It is open seven days a week and houses a fabulous selection of top restaurants and street food stalls, and a stylish choice of interior and clothes shops, along with themed stall market days.  Thursday was an Antique and Collector's market, with a vast array of stallholders selling a treasure trove of antiques and 'brocante'. Apart from furniture, decorative items, silver and jewellery, it is a must for anyone who loves vintage clothes, fur coats and accessories.

Antique and Collectable stalls.

Cheese shop and restaurant 'Androuet'

This was a gorgeous little cheese shop, with a tempting array of artisan cheeses and wine for sale, alongside its charming restaurant......shall remember this for my next visit.

A popular gallery 'Traffic People'

After an enjoyable hour browsing the market, we made our way up to Rivington Street in the heart of Shoreditch, where we had planned to have lunch with our son at Chef Mark Hix's more recent restaurant venture 'Tramshed' Housed in a grade-2 listed tramshed building which was built in 1905 as an electricity generating facility for the Tramway System, - as you can imagine, it lends itself well to an innovative lofty eatery space.

Mark Hix is known for his love of art and has installed a gallery called Cock n Bull in the basement, with exhibitions changing every 6 weeks.  In the main restaurant, a specially commissioned artwork by Damien Hirst featuring a cow and cockerel and dominates high up in the middle of the vast space.

Damien Hirst installation - Cock and Bull.

Keeping with the Cock and Bull theme, the menu is simply made up of chicken and beef - all top quality free range and well hung.  Brought as a whole chicken or large slab of beef for groups to share.  Simple but the very best quality.  For serious foodies, Mark Hix's Library Kitchen (which as the name suggests, houses his extensive cookery book collection, surrounding the walls of the demonstration kitchen) can be booked.  This is where Mark hosts a popular monthly cookery demonstrations for up to 12 people - could well be on my wish list......?

After a mouth watering lunch of the best steak and salad,  the very naughty but delicious chocolate fondue with home-made marshmallows to accompany a really good coffee, seemed a shame to pass up....!

I do hope you are having a great weekend?

Sophia xx

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