1 April 2014

Saturday on the South Bank

I love the South Bank. Yes, it's a haven for tourists and crowds but come the sunny weather, there's little else better than being down by the river and being able to dip in and out of the bars, restaurants and food stalls dotted along the promenade.

My Saturday started off with brunch - avocado, bacon, poached egg and ricotta on sourdough toast with mustard greens - and lots of freshly sliced blood orange straight from the fridge. A couple of expertly brewed coffees later (and I don't even drink coffee), my pal Alex and I were ready to shake off the hangover and face the day.




















We caught the bus (something that I rarely do in London) down to Monument, walking across the bridge into the blustery but beautiful sunshine. Practically everyone says it when they're faced with some decent weather in town but London really is something special. We popped into Borough Market, skilfully avoiding the huge queues tailing from every stall and shop, nipped into Neal's Yard to covet the stichelton, and pressed on along the river towards Waterloo.

Time - and people - moves slowly down there so this is one place you have to fight off your London speed of walking and remind yourself that the glacial pace you've moving at gives you the opportunity to see things you might otherwise miss. Like the chef at The Real Greek who's rustling up some tasty kebabs and singing loudly while he does so. Or The Rose Theatre, one of the original Shakespearean theatres that was only discovered in 1989, but is finally being given the love it deserves. Or the two buskers playing the smoothest reggae down by the Tate Modern, and stealing all the thunder from the guy dressed as a Transformer.

Our destination was the daily book stall under Hungerford Bridge and the street food market behind the National Theatre. A bustling beauty of traders rustling up some tasty treats for any tastebuds - from confit duck and stilton burgers to falafel wraps, Malaysian chicken curry to chicken and tarragon sausages, lime and mint sorbet to chocolate brownies - take your pick. We bought some beer from our pal at the Meantime Brewery stall, a pint of very dry Somerset cider for Al, some prosecco for me (naturally) and the tastiest curry I've had in a while. 

We devoured our food and watched hordes of fashionistas (and Karlie Kloss) descend on the Vogue Festival, keeping their keen eyes out for street style snappers. No sartorial Saturday for us though, we much preferred the National Theatre Bookshop, where Alex picked up the Kinfolk Table cookbook, and we cooed over the pictures on the bus back East. The perfect way to spend a sunny, fragile Saturday.
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