The Best of Brick Lane
Brick Lane is a Bangladeshi neighbourhood slowly being overtaken by street artists and granola crunching post-grads. It is self-described as "a microcosm of London's shifting ethnic patterns" (which is a little extreme, but whatever), and is also my dream food market. I am actually a little embarrassed it took me two months to get to this grubby little street full of curry. To make up for the delay, I've done some careful research on what Brick Lane's Sunday market is all about.
BEST OF: BOILER HOUSE FOOD HALL
Located in the Old Truman Brewery, Boiler House food hall is a Brick Lane Staple. With over 30 food vendors, a secret beer garden and an overly enthusiastic DJ, I could probably live here. After doing about four laps of the space I settled on an spinach and vegan mozzarella Arancini (think deep fried risotto in spherical form) from a family-owned stall known simply as Italian Street food. They hand make Canoli and Sicilian Arancini on location and you can find them on Facebook under Arancini Itlaliani.
Health tip: make sure to get your next course super fast so the fullness doesn't hit you until after you've finished. I personally suggest Eat Chay, a new addition to the street food scene that "puts a modern twist on Vietnamese and Korean dishes by stripping away the use of animal products". Booyah. I chowed down on their noodle salad topped with Korean Barbecue, but the sushi sandwiches looked just as amazing. My favourite part might be that bffs/ founders of Eat Chay, Liz Nguyen and Joseph Tam, aren't even vegan. They're just super passionate, crazy ambitions foodies trying to make a change. You guys rock.
In case the food didn't convince you to head over to the Boiler House Food Hall, venue will. We decided to eat our treasure on the brewery's turfed, outdoor seating space (bringing me back to middle school in the best way), which was filled with string lights and hippy young families. Ideal.
BEST OF: THE LONDON ARTISAN
Maya Njie Perfumes
This stall is so incredible. It epitomises everything I want in a beauty business. Developed by Maya herself in-house, each scent is mixed fresh in small batches, filtered and then bottled individually by hand. My favourite part, though, is probably her attention to aesthetic. Trained in design and photography (ahem), Maya creates bespoke packaging for each product that is inspired by her family's vintage photography collection. Dying. Check out her gorgeous (and surprisingly affordable!) website here.
PS. I know she's awesome because I met Maya at her Brick Lane stall and she let me take sample cards of all five scents like a child. Bless you. I also stole these photos from her website, obviously,
Thamon London is so on top of it. Although the company is based in Camden, they need to be in Brick Lane asap, as their cruelty-free culture matches the vibe perfectly. They also happen to be my favourite market stall ever and I just really need to spread the obsession. Thamon London is an ethically conscious, eco-design company that creates fashion accessories from real tree leaves. Yes, you read that right. They work with UEA Norwich to develop a technology that preserves leaves into fibre sheets, which are perfect for making their super-sleek wallets and bags. Leaves not leather guys.
The Sunday Vintage Market at Brick Lane is collaborative space sprawled below the London Artisan. This massive vintage fair is basically your grandma's basement if your grandma was a housewife in the 40's, a fashion model in the 70's and a hoarder all her life. There is tons of great stuff, but terrible lighting and no chance of finding something under 20 pounds. (Except for this UC tank. It was 15. lol).
I hope my Brick Lane favourites inspire you to go check it this space out! I also feel a little guilty I didn't actually get any Indian food? Which is what the neighbourhood is originally famous for, of course. But now I have an excuse to go back.