Six years ago Pete and I left our west London life behind and took the plunge to settle in south-east London, renting a little Victorian terrace in Forest Hill before moving slightly further across to buy our home in Grove Park. We barely knew the area at all but very quickly became its no 1 fans and we’d never return north of the river now. It’s true that transport links across the south aren’t fantastic but there is just so much space and so many parks, beautiful tree-lined streets (including ours!) and a wonderful feeling of community and creativity.
We still have so much exploring to do and on Saturday morning decided to take a short drive to the Crystal Palace Food Market which runs every Saturday in a pretty one way street just off the main shopping area and tucked behind Haynes Lane market, a wonderful labyrinth of vintage wares.
Unfortunately the planned journey turned into a bit of an epic drive as we forgot the Satnav and Pete used his phone instead which sent us to the wrong place, all the while listening to the dreaded beep of the petrol indicator at its lowest. By the time we got there, combined with the freezing morning and my total inability to function when it drops below about 8 degrees, I’d lost a little of my previous motivation and didn’t take any pictures but how I wish I had.
The market wasn’t huge – not a surprise given the time of the year as some stallholders aren’t yet trading again – but it had a fantastic range of groceries including fresh vegetables, fish and meat as well as ready to eat delicacies. My eye will always be drawn to cakes even though I know I can’t eat them but thankfully my first visit to gluten-free specialists Elvira’s Secret Pantry didn’t disappoint and I chose a slice of lemon and polenta cake, an olive bread roll, a slice of spinach and leek tart and one of mushroom.
Image : Elviras Secret Pantry
Spotting Comfort & Joy, a tub of the freshest coleslaw and two sweet potato falafels also found their way into my shopping bag so despite the fractious journey it was absolutely more than worth it and now we know how to get there, we’ll definitely be back.
Image : Comfort & Joy
Crystal Palace itself is a vibrant little centre with plenty of great independent cafes and restaurants as well as boutique shops so I think another explore once payday has arrived is very justified.
Images courtesy of Crystal Palace Food Market unless otherwise stated