6 Nov 2008

Best Bread since Sliced Bread

“‘Give us this day our daily bread’ is probably the most perfectly constructed and useful sentence ever set down in the English language…”
[P. J. Wingate]
EVERY TIME I find myself in the stray teen gorged vicinity of Camden Market, I know I have aged. I have never been fond of hemp leaf motifed paraphanelia, drop-in piercing bars, reams of anti-epileptic battery powered club-wear and inferno of dubiously scented candles. On one occasion I was dragged around a specialist corset shop by a spicy ex. The suprisingly sage purveyor did not, alas, have my size…
When I arrive, I think about leaving, which is the same reaction I had towards Solvang, ‘Danish capital of California’. My friend, Chris, has however spent the last seven months trying to persuade me to re-visit NW1. The cause inevitably involves cutlery rather than corsets, and takes the humdrum title of ‘Market’.
The family run space is formed of wood and bare bricks, with low, zinc effect tables. It is simplified in an almost Scandanavian manner rather than the overtly cost conscious bareness of the Giaconda Dining Room. A staircase with a potentially lethal initial recessed step leads to a private dining room. Here five professional drinkers took root. The beige cube resembled something out of a deep cleaned student house, with a retro lamp and a snooker-sized table lent character by festal woodworm.
They opt for England’s classics rather than classic English. Dishes are honestly tasty rather than worthy. On reflection, most of my meal was about texture.
It appears that they draw quite heavily on expensive suppliers represented at Borough Market, although customer facing prices remain sane.
Liftingly delicious silced bloomer from the Flour Station accompanied native succulent sea petals from Helford River (Wright Bros.)
Warm Potted Shrimps came succulently butter spun in a kilner jar.
Discreetly home smoked mackerel was served softly moussed into creamy quenelles. Chicken livers were heftily spiced with the texture of raw button mushrooms.
Bone Marrow centres were sordidly good, like drippy aspic, but not quite as dramatic as St. John’s plated stonehenge. My companions raved about musky Pig Cheek and peat coloured Black Pudding.
Parsley sprinkled Whole Lemon Sole was showered with Clams and easily peeled from the bones.
I set to work on Steamed Jam Sponge upon fine beige custard as Chris administered large bowls of mineral and ore Priorat - Clos Mogador '04, to Chef, Dan. Front of house staff looked enviously on.
In my opinion the restaurateurs have fulfilled their aim to craft a cosy ‘home from home’ with moreish, meaty dishes and a slightly coarse charm. It is best not to make your customers feel too secure, however. I remember one restaurant in Buckinghamshire where my friend felt so at home, she left the loo door unbolted...
Overall, Market is a positive dot in an area more ghetto than gastronomic.
'Market' - 43 Parkway, London. NW1 7AH. T. 020 7267 9700
Nearest Tube: Camden
Market on Urbanspoon