London Pop-ups is a website offering a comprehensive listing of the capital’s pop-up events – restaurants, bars, galleries, gigs and shops. Started by Dan Calladine two years ago, he shares his thoughts on London’s food scene, the role played by social media, and what makes for a great pop-up experience.
London’s reputation for exciting food is on a high with the city earning its place among the world’s most dynamic food cities. Founder of the website London Pop-ups, Dan Calladine believes that London has never been more exciting. “Pop-ups have made the city feel more adventurous, but the diversity of what is on offer also says a lot about the city’s new food entrepreneurs, British produce, and our food culture. “
He has seen real changes in London’s food scene since establishing his site two years ago. When he began, the focus was on street food. “You just needed to have a good idea, get a spot somewhere and start selling. It was the same with supper clubs. Now, people are doing more established things. So in London, pubs have opened their doors and street food people are running their catering. The more successful supper clubs have morphed into more permanent ventures.”
Urban gentrification and social media have also helped, making this as much a cultural phenomenon as a food one. “If you look where a lot of pop-ups happen, it’s often in places like Hackney and Peckham, where traditionally there hasn’t been a lot of great places to eat. Pop-ups are filling the gap, and so what you’re seeing is a momentum of activity and then an evolution in what people are doing.” Add Twitter and Facebook to this mix and you get a very dynamic food culture. “If you had tried to do this in the 80s, you would have had press nights, print advertising, with much longer lead times. Now, it’s possible to publicise and share an event really quickly. The most active supper clubs and street food people have thousands of Twitter followers and they can get the word out really quickly.”
It’s the store you want to go home to. On a Sunday morning in August, the doors opened to the smell of freshly ground coffee, weekend pastries, and fresh produce - red currants from Peckham, giant fennel and tiger courgettes, plump tomatoes and fragrant and sweet apricots. The larder was brimming with the best of British, lovingly chosen and displayed,
It was only in March this year that Merlin and Genevieve opened the General Store, reinventing the concept of the local grocer with their enthusiasm and passion. Champions of local food artisans, they stock London favourites like England Preserves, Clerkenwell’s Workshop Coffee Company (ground to order), British Summer Honey from the London Honey Company, Moxon’s smoked mackerel and local Hackney girl, Lillie O’Brien’s jams (London Borough of Jam). Other take home provisions include organic olive oil sold by the litre, pork and fennel salami from Gloucestershire, and the General Store’s own granola made with oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, and maple syrup.
In all a perfect neighbour, General Store is what every good grocer should be - the heart of its community.
Address: 174 Bellenden Road, SE15 4BW.
Tel. 0207 642 2129
Opening times: Wednesday – Sunday. Closed Monday – Tuesday.
Broadway Market has more than earnt its reputation as the one of the best food destinations in London. Home to a lively community of traders, food producers and artisans, each Saturday this East London market attracts thousands with its street fare atmosphere, promise of unusual vintage finds, and cornucopia of food and produce.
Host to a street market since the 1890s, Broadway Market's current incarnation is the result of a regeneration project began in 2004 to revitalise ailing trade and a flagging street culture. Located between Regent’s Canal and London Fields, its Saturday market now extends across three locations – Broadway market, the local London Fields primary school and Netlife market, on Westgate (both of which are known as “off-Broadway”.)
Start your food walk at the London Fields entrance, beginning early to avoid the boisterous crowds that appear after 10.30. Explore the stores that line the market first for a true feel of this London neighbourhood. Climpson & Sons (no. 67) offers the perfect meeting spot for an early morning coffee. With its roastery in nearby Helmsley Place (the railway arches), it is a true East London local. Further along you'll find Fin & Founder (no. 71) – the celebrated fish monger known for its exemplary and gastronomic approach to the catch of the day, offering a selection of wines to complement your fish.
Other residents include L’eau du Bouche (no. 49). This French version of the British grocery store keeps a well-stocked larder of Spanish, French and British foods. You’ll find olive oil from Italy at £6.00 a litre as well as a tri-colour of French wine (red, wine, rose) as well as an enticing all-day menu. Stop by F.Cooke (no.9) for some jelled eels – it has been home to this great Cockney delicacy since 1900 and is now run by Fred’s grandson.
From its corner-store location, Beamish& McGlue has all the makings of a great British grocer – quality produce, a passion for food, knowledgeable staff, and a sense of place, of community. In an area of London better known for its fried chicken shops, this family business run by partners, Antonia Beamish and Casey McGlue, has long championed delicious food. Inside you’ll find all the essentials for a well-stocked larder - fresh produce, organic teas and coffees, pastas and deli produce. It's small café offers a limited but homely menu, making it a natural focal point for Norwood locals. But it is Beamish & McGlue’s commitment to fostering a local food culture that makes it a true neighbour. In 2012, it helped coordinate the first slow food festival in Norwood. This two-day event with its programme of cook-offs, tastings and workshops not only brought together local producers from across south-east London but it celebrated the idea of community, quality living and eating. With such passion and dedication, they can't go wrong.
Address: 461 Norwood Road, SE27 9DQ
Tel. 0208 761 8099
Opening times: Monday – Saturday, 9.00am-6pm
Home delivery: If you live in West Norwood, Streatham, Dulwich, Crystal Palace, Herne Hill, Loughborough Junction or Brixton, they home deliver when you order online.