A FRIEND of mine is one of those fashionistas that can just buy anything and make it look good. I would always ask her where she got that fur vest or that gorgeous scarf and her reply was always ‘oh just at Spitalfields Market’. After weeks of seeing her wear her bargains I thought it was about time that I checked it out (and ticked off #47 on my London Top 100 list).
The most popular day to go is Sunday for the Sunday Up Market, so a few friends and I caught the tube to Liverpool Street and then followed the signs for a short walk to get there. The market area used to house fruit and veggie stalls and while they still do have some food options they mostly sell other goodies. Similar to other markets there is a wide variety of things to look at from handmade jewellery to photo prints to clothing. Although unlike other markets Spitalfields definitely had a more relaxed vibe. I’m not sure if I went on a quiet day or if it was just because it was a Sunday afternoon but rather than the hustle and bustle amongst the stalls it was easy to wander through and gaze at what was on offer.
Right next door in the Old Truman Brewery is where the Up Market is held. This area hosts another bunch of stalls full of vintage clothes and other treasures. I found one of my favourite things at this area of the market — a bargain bin for £1! After about 10 minutes of trawling through and scrounging around in my wallet for change I walked away with three gorgeous scarves. All of which haven’t left my drawer since but it seemed like a fabulous idea at the time (so much for becoming a fashionista).
If you managed to resist the urge to have some of the food that is on offer and if you haven’t already been distracted by the scent of curry in the air then the best place to go to appease your shopper’s appetite is Brick Lane.
Also known as ‘ Banglatown’, Brick Lane is a street filled to the brink with curry restaurants crying out for your business. When I say crying out I mean it literally as you will find many touts standing outside their restaurant’s trying to get your business. The second we rounded the corner we were invited into the first restaurant we saw. Having heard that you can bargain for your meal we decided to carry on. We caved in after the third restaurant because none of us were the haggling type and we were quite hungry! Apparently this was a rookie mistake to give in so soon but when you get two drinks, pommadoms, starter, curry, rice and naan all for £10 it’s hard to believe we got a bad deal. I’ve heard mates bargain in bottles of wine and extra dishes — so if you are a haggler, you’ll be in curry-haggle heaven.
While ours wasn’t the best curry I’ve ever had (and a prime example of you get what you pay for), since I’m hardly a curry connoisseur I was happy with my lot. Just don’t expect impeccable service and gorgeously presented food. Brick Lane is the perfect kind of place when you want a cheap meal with friends where you can have a few drinks before heading out as well as an easy Sunday afternoon feed. And now I know I can get a better deal I can guarantee you I will be back to see how low they can go!