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October 30 event: Make new friends at the streetfood market

The weeknight street food market has been a roaring success, so we thought what better way to ward off the spirits around Halloween than by gathering together and sharing some delicious street food and hot spiced punch… with discounts!

Streetfood market2

On the evening of October 30th, starting at 7.30pm and running until about 9pm, come join us around the candle-lit pumpkins. Afterwards we’ll be retiring to Frida’s bar at Mamacita for those who might want a drink with a bit more kick!

The stallholders are offering 20% off all food and Frida’s is ALSO giving us a 20% discount on drinks – but to take advantage of the discount you’ll need to register.

Mail moc.e1566045495filda1566045495etspm1566045495ahtse1566045495w@nah1566045495tanoj1566045495 with the word WHalloween (typed exactly like this – any variants and it won’t work!) in the subject line and you’ll get a reply with the invite flyer. Please check your spam/junk mail if you don’t receive it.

You can print out the flyer or show it on your phone on the night when you pay for the food. This registration is to give us a rough idea of numbers, which should mean we don’t run out of food!

The stalls will be serving burgers, crêpes, falafel, Caribbean, Indian and Venezuelan food, mac & cheese, and the BBQ Collective.

Should the weather takes a turn for the worse, the event will be postponed, but at the moment, the forecast is fine.

Streetfood market opens to praise

Yesterday was the first day of a new West Hampstead venture. A daily streetfood market by the Thameslink station, aimed at the evening commuter crowd.

Up to eight stalls will be on site, and the selection will change slightly each week. This week, commuters can choose from Jamaican specialities, gourmet burgers, Indian curries, falafel wraps, sweet and savoury crepes, and roast meat sandwiches. Fresh bread from Tomi Bakery is also on sale.

Feedback yesterday was positive, and the Mumbai Mix stall tweeted proudly that they’d sold out of chicken curry before 8pm when the market closes.

Amelias crepes

Alison and Max at their crepe stall (Amelia not pictured)

Falafel

Falafel fresh from the fryer

Mumbai Mix

The chicken curry was a hit at Mumbai Mix

Sticky Beaks

Sticky Beaks setting up

Streetfood market

Some early customers to the market

The market is on every weekday from 4pm-8pm. It will be interesting to see if it can sustain momentum after the novelty wears off, especially earlier in the week – but with a good selection of stalls and customers willing to support an innovative idea, it could become a West Hampstead institution.

Weeknight street food market targets commuters tired of Tesco

West Hampstead is getting a new street food market on weekday evenings, starting tomorrow September 1st. The market will be on the Thameslink forecourt (where the farmers market is) Monday to Friday evenings, timed to meet the home-time rush-hour crowd between 4pm and 8pm.

Alexandra Gee, who runs the West Hampstead Food & Flea market on Sundays, is also the driving force behind this new street food venture. Having been a West Hampstead commuter herself, she noticed that “I’m always tired and hungry after a long day at work, and end up going to Tesco for the same old pasta. I thought it would be great to be able to pick up something different and tasty on the way home.”

The plan is that each evening, between six and eight street food traders will pitch their stalls along the forecourt. According to Alexandra, a number of diverse traders have already signed up, serving food including wood-fired pizza, Indian street food, Malaysian, and West Indian barbecue. Market traders have been briefed to serve their wares in easily-portable containers for those planning to take food home to eat.

If you’re passing the market tomorrow, why not drop in to check out the selection of dinner options available – and let us know about your visit using the comments form below.

Restaurant round-up: Toomai, Rossopomodoro, One Sixty and the market

West Hampstead Life has had a gruelling couple of weeks. In a tireless quest to keep you informed about gastronomic developments in the area, we’ve been out investigating the newest restaurants and menus, sampling a few (ok, many) dishes along the way. Here are some tasty tidbits to whet your appetite while we go off to type “juice diet” into Google…

First up, we went to try One Sixty’s new brunch menu. The menu itself is still a work in progress, but we tried a selection of the kinds of dishes that will be on offer. As you’d expect from a smokehouse restaurant, smoky flavours wrapped themselves around some delicious mackerel and salmon, and there was house-smoked bacon available in a roll.

One Sixty has been criticised in the past for its lack of any provision for vegetarians, but on this visit we sampled a rather good avocado, asparagus and egg dish – hopefully they’ll continue to offer at least one veggie option. Add in the Sunday papers and a chilled vibe, and we can see this being serious competition in the weekend brunch market.

OneSixty_brunch

Secondly, you may have heard whispers about another pan-Asian restaurant opening on West End Lane. Called Toomai, this is another venture from the owners of Guglee just up the road. They invited West Hampstead Life to tour the new premises (where the short-lived ‘Grilled O Fried’ used to be) and more importantly to a tasting session of their menu.

photoweek188

The Toomai team are still refining the menu, but it will focus on street food – predominantly influenced by South East Asia – as well as more substantial curry and noodle dishes. We tried a range of dishes, from Chinese-style dumplings, to chili paneer, to some quite outstanding chicken satay skewers. It will be interesting to see how Toomai fares against nearby competitors Banana Tree and Mamako. It opens tonight (Thursday), though expect Friday to be more up to speed.

Staying on a street-food theme, the Sunday Food & Flea Market on the Thameslink forecourt has been open for four weeks now, with a variety of food stalls. Bad weather on a couple of Sundays has meant the market has been less than bustling at times, but we’d recommend going there to grab some very reasonably-priced lunch while browsing the vintage clothes stalls. So far we’ve tried the Iranian lamb chops (delicious, but somewhat hard to eat with your hands) and the Sri Lankan ‘kothu’, an appetising dish of chopped roti with vegetables and (optional) meat.

LambChops

The final course on this epicurean roundup takes place in Finchley Road, where Italian chain Rossopomodoro has just opened its eighth UK branch in the O2 Centre. Unlike other high street Italians, Rossopomodoro can proudly claim to have originated in Naples and promises “the same fresh ingredients from the same suppliers in Italy” it serves back home. Can it live up to the hype?

Photo via Rossopomodoro

Photo via Rossopomodoro

On our visit (a completely packed VIP launch night – there are clearly a lot of Very Important pizza fans in the area) we did find the dishes tasted fresh and the flavours were zingy; a cut above the average chain, and with its buzzy atmosphere a great new pre-cinema destination. We can imagine taking a seat on the outdoor terrace with a selection of antipasti and an Aperol Spritz, and feeling ourselves transported straight to Campania. Let’s ignore the small issue of the Finchley Road traffic.

Farmers’ market in West Hampstead?

You’ll remember back in April that I asked you all to say what sort of market you’d like to see set up by the new Thameslink station. I passed your comments on to our local councillors who were taking them into account.

I never aggregated the results for you on here. So here they are:
Food – 33 votes
Crafts/gifts – 6 votes
Antiques – 5 votes
A mix of all the above 3 votes
Food with flea market once a month – 2 votes
Books – 1 vote

It was clear that food was the most popular and there was a strong sense that people wanted good quality “normal” food rather than it all being cakes and “treats” (apart from people who run cake companies who said they wanted cakes).

You’ll also remember that I banged on about the fact that, as much as we might want it, it wouldn’t be a farmers market. This was what I’d been told – and was consistent with previous discussions about the lack of space.

So, imagine my surprise when I found out that it now looks like it’s going to be a proper farmers market. Apparently, London Farmers’ Markets (who organise most of the main farmers’ markets in London, including Queens Park) is in discussion with Network Rail (who own the land) about a Saturday market with around 18 stalls.

This is very much still in the negotiation stage and is not confirmed. It wouldn’t start until September. Of course being an official farmers’ market would mean that local would-be stallholders would be squeezed out if they were not accredited. Is it better to have a a high-grade market that attracts people to the area, or a mixed market with local businesses taking more of the direct revenue? I would argue the former model is more sustainable. It’s also possible – as has happened at Swiss Cottage – that a successful farmers’ market could spill over into other market trading days in the same space.

A market for West Hampstead

I got a very exciting e-mail yesterday from Cllr Gillian Risso-Gill announcing that an agreement has been reached with First Capital Connect for the West Hampstead Business Forum to hold a Saturday market on the widenened pavement area by the new Thameslink station on Iverson Road.

The site is not big enough for a full, accredited, commercial farmers market, which I know a lot of you are keen on. However, in order to try and maximise trade, the organisers are keen to know what locals would actually want. This will help them determine whether the focus will be on food, or antiques, or crafts, or something else.

An early poll on Twitter yesterday suggested food was by far the most popular, although there was a significant vote for crafts/antiques/flea market. Perhaps different weeks could be different markets?

The hope is that a pilot market could be arranged in the next 5-6 weeks.

If you are interested in having a stall, I suggest you contact Gillian at ku.vo1566045495g.ned1566045495mac@l1566045495liG-o1566045495ssiR.1566045495naill1566045495iG1566045495 in the first instance. If you’d like to have your say on the type of market you’d like to see, then please leave a comment below. I’ve already noted comments via Twitter so please don’t vote again!

Get involved in the 2011 Christmas market

You may remember that last year there was a very successful Christmas market on West End Green. Well, good news whampers – plans are afoot for a second one. However, to make it happen the organisers need a little bit of help from some of you.

Cllr Gillian Risso-Gill who is coordinating the event, is looking for some specific expertise and support.

  • People with experience in marketing/PR/promotion, including social networks (ok – there’s got to be SOMEONE reading this who fufills that criteria).
  • Stall holders, particularly local craftspeople or traders
  • Additional business sponsors.

If you’re interestedin helping, having a stall, or sponsoring the event, then please register your interest at moc.l1566045495iamg@15660454952tekr1566045495amsam1566045495xdaet1566045495spmah1566045495tsew1566045495 or call Gillian on 07798 845919.

Christmas market success

There was a pleasingly busy flow of browsers and shoppers around West End Green on Saturday for the first ever West Hampstead Christmas market. In mercifully mild and dry weather, local businesses and craftspeople had a good selection of stalls. Feedback from both stallholders and residents was generally positive and fingers crossed that this will become an annual event. It would be nice if next year we could have a bigger tree and maybe more seasonal entertainment in the space in the middle.

West Hampstead’s X(mas) Factor

I know it’s only October, but there’s a reason why I’m bringing up the “C” word so early. And that reason is: volunteers!

New West Hampstead councillor Gillian Risso-Gill is looking to get a Christmas Fair off the ground. The idea is to support the local shops (which we’re all generally in favour of, right?) and it has been well received by traders, the council and a few community-minded folk already. It is likely to take place on the weekend of 11/12 December on West End Green.

But it won’t take place at all without your help.

Putting such a thing together does require support from within the community, so Gillian has asked me to put the word out to see whether anyone who would like to get some experience of event organising (or of course who already has it) would like to get involved.

Naturally, the traders themselves will be involved and there are talks with possible sponsors as well. But between now and the end of the month there’s plenty to do in terms of consultations, paperwork and other duties. If there are enough volunteers then the time commitment shouldn’t be more than a few hours a week.

If you’re interested, and would like to see West End Green host a Christmas fair to give a seasonal boost to the community please contact Gillian at ku.vo1566045495g.ned1566045495mac@l1566045495lig-o1566045495ssir.1566045495naill1566045495ig1566045495.