There is no doubt that if you want to know what is happening in the burgeoning food scene in London you have to head East in much the same way that you have to head to Brooklyn in New York.

And Saturdays are a day to head to Broadway Market. It epitomises what my friend Howard Saunders, a constant source of controversial opinionated inspiration, calls a Microtown.

At the top end is the green open space of London Fields, The Cat & Mutton pub, Donlon books and the obligatory microbrewer: London Fields Brewery . At the bottom, just along from the canal which takes its waterway from the heart of London’s River Thames, is the equally trendy cycle cafe, Lock 7.

In between is the original F Cooke who are part of the history of the road, still selling pie, mash, liquor and jellied eels as they did in 1900. In addition there are all the traditional high street stalwarts that used to be prevalent before the supermarkets did their thing…

The Butcher – Hill and Szrok are a snazzy master butcher who also have their own cookshop where you can order your meat and then eat it there and then with a glass of wine. Apparently this was the 15th century inspiration for the restaurant scene, or so they say. Whatever it is, the meat is fab.

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The Baker – Pavilion Bakery. They sell artisan breads, make amazing meals from them and showcase some of London’s best: Chegworth Valley juice, De Calabria olive oil and Newton & Pott jam, who incidentally produce very near to here and also attend the Saturday market. Their simple window which serves as stock, display and temptation into the brand is simple yet incredibly effective.

CQYRfEMWoAAJKieThe fishmonger – Fin and Flounder who retain all the values of a traditional fishmonger supporting anyone wielding a recipe or helping customers with how to cook their huge range of fish.

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Alongside those, come a world of modern day retail classics and food or drink outlets, which start with the most important these days, a third wave coffee roaster and purveyor of a great cup of coffee: Climpson and Sons. I wrote about Climpsons last week after the Coffee festival so won’t bore you any more about their great coffee but believe me, the queue spoke for itself. Set in the middle of this thoroughfare it is the heart of all that Broadway Market represents.

And on a Saturday, the main street is packed full of the market itself which not only brings a snapshot of the best food and retail on offer but is also home for the day to stalls showcasing the many small food producers who are housed within this community. Alongside Newton & Pott are…

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Violet Bakery is Claire Ptak’s fabulous cakeshop/cafe. She was previously pastry chef at Chez Panisse and started her business on the market stall here, growing into her own shop in 2010. Whilst she is best known for her American style cupcakes, I remember her for the best birthday cake I ever received and know her to be absolutely finger on pulse with seasonal inspirational baking.

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Other producers in the area include the Meringue Girls, London Borough of Jam and Yeast Bakery who sell the best croissants in town (along with an impressive range of trendy Kouign Amann). Their hand crafted viennoiserie come from a team who set out to make the best croissant in London and I would argue they are there. In fact we sell them in Melrose and Morgan and it must be said our sales are stronger than ever.

There are many other shops and stalls to browse through with the extended market now in the schoolyard along with the Netil Market further up Westgate Street, just before the arches housing Yeast Bakery among others. You can have everything that you need to buy: flowers, cheese, meat, bread, fruit & veg etc. along with finding everything that is fashionable to eat: from Bao buns to pulled pork, southern fried chicken to cold pressed juices, toasted cheese sandwiches to salt beef bagels. Along the way are other local craftspeople making jewellery, clothes, accessories, and much more.

The whole area is thriving and is a great way to eat your way through a Saturday afternoon whilst getting a lesson in modern day community and retail. Forget Mary Portas and her governmental reviews, just head to Broadway Market which is estimated to be generating over £2 million annually and as such drives a thriving Microtown.  I highly recommend it for anyone who has an interest in the London food scene and wants to see the possibilities of modern day retailing.

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