Oh what a way to start the day in good old blightly…kippers! Yes, I am indeed a octagenarian man masquerading as a 28-year-old woman. I am a Kipper fan from way back so it seemed an appropriate way to ease into a strenuous day of eating. Kippers smothered in lashings of butter paired with an oh so soft poached egg. I was in pesce heaven but poor Mr T was in pesky hell. Never mind, he valiantly soldiered on.
We wound our way into the heat of the city atop a double-decker bus, it ground its way into town at a snail’s pace but at least we had a glut of time to watch the city go by. Catching up with an old friend just off Oxford street we found our way to Busaba Eathai (Bird street), a Thai eaterie which is now a small chain. Arriving at 12:05 we walked into an empty restaurant, however the sheer number of waiters on standby hinted to the deluge of customers they were soon to greet. The large room was mostly made up of large square sharing tables with a wall of seats facing the open windows and onto the street. It was dark and moody but in a warm, inviting way, my only slight qualm was the incense being burned near the doorway which drifted all the way to our seats and would occasionally waft in front of me and totally upset my nose and palate.
Being that it was only lunch we all chose a dish each, G and I both ordered the green chicken curry with coconut rice with Thai roti whilst Mr T opted for the Tom Kha chicken. The green curry was very tasty and I am forever astounded by how different they are from restaurant to restaurant. This particular incarnation was very soupy and very green, well-balanced flavours but maybe could have had a touch more sour notes. The tom kha chicken was also very pleasant, not ground breaking but light and fresh. A lemongrass and coconut soup with noodles and chicken, the only slight downer for me was that the chicken seemed to be chargrilled which clouded the Thai flavours a little. However, all in all, a pleasant lunch.
Lunch was a mere pit stop on the way to the main event. Borough market was our destination and I was champing at the bit. We caught the tube for the first time in two years and so on arrival we were much in need of a drink. We headed to Wright Brothers Oyster and Porter House, one pint of Suffolk cider and a glass of Prosecco later (not both for me) we were ready. Although the market was doing a good trade there were a lot less stalls and punters than on the saturday market. One of our first ports of call was Burnt Sugar, a fudge stall which I much admire and costs me an arm and a leg to buy in Australia. I was delighted that they had every variety on offer and it was very good value. Traditional English fudge is crumbly and the sugar should be crystal-ly and that is exactly how it was. As I write this now, I am on a pretty hardcore sugar high, the box is sitting next to me and I can’t wait to try the chilli fudge, I might just wait for this wave of nausea to pass though.
As we wandered around we took everything in and tried to resist the urge to buy the entire contents of the market. After much consideration I purchased some Lincolnshire sausages and some chipolatas from the very helpful chaps at the Ginger Pig butcher. They are soon to be turned into supper of some description, along with beautiful vine ripened tomatoes and onions. Our penultimate stop was what I consider to be a holy place; Neal’s Yard Dairy. For those Fromageophiles among us it needs no introduction but for the rest of you, it is a stonkingly good cheese shop. Walking through the door you are met with a big, sweet, sultry waft of the delights on offer and greeted by endlessly tall shelves stacked to the rafters with great wheels of cheese. I was literally the cat that got the cream! My friendly assistant let me taste any cheese I desired and I came away with Stichelton (blue from Nottinghamshire), Montgomery Cheddar (from Somerset) and Cotherstone (from Yorkshire).
And now all that is left to do is consume large quantities of fatty foods and imbibe a generous splash of wine. It’s going to be a tough night as I sit in the courtyard garden in the late afternoon sun with yet another glass of cider in hand…