I was thinking these same thoughts after I bought Sarah from finger and toes lunch from Whitecross Street market a couple of weeks ago for WMPC. But first some background. As the market has become quite a bustling centre for the local lunchtime crowd, I thought it would be nice to take Sarah down there and sample some of the finest street food that this city has to offer. Funny concept that though, street food, in London or the UK for that matter. Even funnier is the fact that there has been a lot of song and dance recently about the burgeoning pavement catering scene that seems to be developing across the land. Some mad hatter has even come up with the British Street Food Awards which was launched at Whitecross Street a few weeks ago, fully endorsed by Messrs Pierre-White and Worrell-Thompson. Brilliant. Except if you take a walk down this otherwise unassuming street in EC1 on market day, the food varies from Thai to Indian, Italian to Greek, Mexican to Brazilian and is hardly British at all. Let alone street. And what is British street food anyway? Hot chestnuts are all I can think of.
Of course, I am ranting here. Excuse me but I am finding all this hoohah slightly confusing. Nevertheless, Whitecross Street is still a great place to get grub and I left it to Sarah to decide where we should go for lunch. She settled for one of the Thai stalls going for ginger tofu and rice and I took a plastic tray of chicken massaman curry. There is quite a nice pub called The Two Brewers, the proprietors of which let you bring in your food from the market as long as you buy a pint but alas it was rather busy so we had to make do with the adjacent park. No matter, we soon found a bench with table and settled down, having a good chat as we ate. We were then joined by another luncher however, who asked if he could sit with us. Sure no problem. But shortly after getting his tupperware box out which seemed to contain nothing but dark cabbage leaves, he proceeded to start pad out a rhythm with his hands on the table surface. The alarm bells started ringing when he picked up a stick from the floor and asked "is this your stick?" and began to drum with it whilst throwing chunks of green matter into his mouth. His mobile then rang which he answered and had a conversation that went along the lines of "yeah I feel so much calmer today, the sun is shining, I don't feel angry at all". At this point, becoming slightly paranoid that I was sat opposite Jeffrey Dahmer, I started to wolf my massaman down with brute force. I don't know if Sarah was really aware of the guy sitting with us and what he was doing but I had a bad feeling about the situation so I ate my food quickly and wanted to get the hell out of there. To cover things up, I explained that the speed eating was a family thing which she accepted with good grace. Call me shallow, call me a coward, call me idiotic. I don't care, I have had my fair share of nutters on the bus so sorry Sarah if you felt that lunch was rushed somewhat, I did what I had to do. Still I bet I got your blood boiling at the start of the second paragraph though eh! ; )
Thankfully come dinner time, the office was devoid of madmen as my boss was off for the day so I was able to enjoy my meal in peace and quiet. Sarah's contribution of leek quiche with lentils went down a treat. Although Sarah had misgivings about the pastry, I felt that it looked and tasted fine. The leeks were lovely and sweet which were surrounded by a luxuriant cheesy cardigan but I must admit that the pink facon (fake bacon) didn't fool me. Not a bad substitute but not quite the same for this carnivore I'm afraid. The lentils were also very good, with creamy goats cheese, sweet roasted peppers and parsley to give them extra lift. And the balsamic vinegar still hit the spot! A really good combination.
Leek Quiche and Lentils with Goats Cheese, Peppers and Parsley