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14 August 2017


i've lived in the london borough of lewisham for six of my seven years in london; it's my hood. it's south of the river and so (hardly) none of my friends come to visit me. they never want to come for dinner in my ends, or even consider meeting up down my way because "it's too far", and "who lives in south london?" well, loads of people do, but usually that whole mentality means we don't get those typical restaurant chains and high street stores, choosing instead to shop and eat locally, which i think gives the south more of a community vibe than what those city folk have. 

it is a bit of a bummer sometimes, like when you really need to get to asda to pick up a george order of more sheets that you don't need, and the only one around here is in clapham which is actually not near me at all, or when you just want a chocolate milkshake delivered from the diner and your deliveroo app simply laughs at you like a dick. like, only when i crave excellent food that's not in clapham or wandsworth or balham, do i think lewisham is a bit behind the times.

enter street feast's newest-comer: model market. open from 5pm every friday and saturday night, it's the answer to the south's "we need great food available to us at very short notice, in a really central part of south london, please" problem; because:

the lewisham highline

the view from lewisham's answer to the new york highline is pretty great. walled with tropical prints on one side and pretty potted plants on the other - plus the token fairy lights keeping the strip well-lit, the whole vibe of the upper level is very "chill". the tequila bar at the end and the ska remixes of 80s classics might have something to do with that, but whatever the case, it's a literal tropical haven in what is essentially the lewisham shopping centre's car park in the colder months. we definitely had to much fun posing in front of the prints, pretending we were on our hollies, and that was before we even found the booze...

boozy bars

speaking of which, there's bloody lots to choose from. we started with cocktails (from £7) from the main bar (both rummy specials, because tropical theme is tropical) which were a fantastic precursor to the rest of the drinks we consumed in the few hours we were there. there's something there for everyone - from cocktails in actual hollowed-out fruit to a stall featuring south london's finest breweries, and then the classiest wine bar you could imagine to see in a car park (plus a milkshake bar!), we had to much fun doing the rounds and tasting what was on offer.

japanese soul food

seeing as i'm off to japan in less than two months, i now opt for the japanese option every time i see one, and nanban certainly did not disappoint. the japanese soul foodies are the new kids on the block this summer, and their menu is packed with an angry, fiery punch. we went for a serve of the chicken karaage - japanese-style marinated deep-fried chicken thighs with a honey-miso dip(£6) with some triple-cooked chips (£3) with - wait for it - seaweed butter seasoning. thankfully the bite-sized chunks of chicken were not as spicy as we were expecting and the honey miso was a reeeeally tasty sauce for dipping, so one course down and we were pretty happy with ourselves.

the gyoza guys

and then we found the gyoza guys. with four choices of delicious dumplings on offer, we went for two of each (from £5 for three); prawn, shrimp and crab, chicken and corn, porrrrrrrk and chive, and shiitake mushroom and water chestnut, each served with a creamy, spicy mayo and a soy sauce for dipping. it was hard to tell them apart on the plate, because they obviously all look the bloody same, but maaaaan alive: one bite and you knew instantly which you were eating. each mouthful was an explosion of perfectly-seasoned flavour, and lip-smacking goodness. these were my absolute faves of the night (the seafood and the pork were my faves).

perfectly cooked steak

argentinian street foodies up in my grill were a tasty surprise too, mainly because you don't really expect to find steak at a food market, do you? there were only two menu options when we visited, and only one was still available. on a friday night. at 6:30pm. so i suppose that's a hint as to what to expect from them. we managed to get a plate of their perfectly pink steak (£12) with sharp and herby chimichuri, pickled onions, and spicy chilli sides, and a giant portion of shoestring fries - and we couldn't finish the plate of meat. the value for money in this stall was insane, and definitely filled us right up.

delicious desserts

if you read this blog ever at all, you will know i am a sucker for eating dessert on a full stomach. if it's there, you have to try it, right? and we were not about to leave before finishing the night at se cakery. from their fresh salted caramel brownies to red velvet cake stacks sat in plain view, we were drooling over the menu when we walked in. but, we were really only there for one thing: the bruvnuts (once called 'bronuts' but renamed for the south, ha!). think fresh donut balls stuffed with chewy borwnies and topped with hot chocolate sauce and honeycomb chunks, and you're still only imagining while i actually ate it with my actual mouth. omg, the actual dream dessert - especially when we were offered some vanilla bean ice cream on top, which we absolutely did not turn down.

it's pretty coooool

mainly, my favourite part about the whole place was how great it all looked. south london gets a bad rep for being a bit rubbish and run down and rough, but places like model market really show how cooool it's become over the last few years. the street art and decoration and design of the whole venue was really up there with the city-based food markets, and the whole community spirit of traders mucking in and helping each other out, tidying up the tables so more people can sit down, posing for photos, handing out business cards.. just shows how important these things are for the south. it was a lot more family friendly than the city-based food markets, and i would hand on heart go back there every week until it packs up for the year. in fact, it's only half an hour on the bus.. maybe i just might.

*we were guests of lewisham shopping centre, but all words (and eating memories) are mine