This weekend saw the return of one of the most exciting food events for Lewisham Locals. It’s big (4,400 people visited this weekend), it’s varied (12 stalls, 5 bars, about 8 different cuisines) and it’s bloody delicious. Y’all KNOW what I’m talking’ about. Yup. It’s this:
Model Market describes itself as a “game changer” and to be fair, it certainly packs a punch. Using a deserted market space area hiding in the shadow of the Lewisham Shopping centre, a group of dedicated party maestros have taken a slightly scary, shabby bit of London and transformed it into simply the most fun.
The scamps at Street Feast certainly know how to throw a party. From Taco Wars to Dalston Yard, they have changed the face of the London street food scene largely by dint of giving absolutely zero fucks about pleasing people and instead pleasing themselves and their super-fun foodie and boozy pals. Which just so happens to please an awful lot of people. We’re talking high-grade, high quality and really, really good food. I first got acquainted with them simply by trying to find out where the Big Apple Hot Dog cart on Clapton Road had gone. It was like he’d come out of nowhere to bless the little market that could, and suddenly he was off being busy and amazing elsewhere. Knowing that I had to get my Huge Pole fix somewhere (it’s that good), I hastily twitter-stalked him until I saw him popping up again and again at the same events. Which led me to the events and from there it was love.
To be honest, the London Street Food scene gets me a bit confused at times. Trying to work out what’s going on with it on Twitter and you run into spats, “teablaggers” (food bloggers who try to wangle free entry and food in return for write-ups – I don’t get it, every man and his jack russell in a hipster scarf have a food blog) and an awful lot of competitors in what’s actually a pretty open market. Between Street Feast and Kerb and and the Real Food Festival markets it gets a bit confusing and frankly the fact that a lot of the traders seem to move around pretty much at will leads me to believe that this is a good thing. It seems there’s a lot of space for a good, honest cook with a vision and a preparedness to roll up their sleeves and make some damn fine grub. Which pleases the Lewishambles crew JUST FINE.
Having been to a few amazing events (Taco Wars was amazing, the Beer Contests they do are stunning), to hear they were rocking up in Lewisham in 2014 had me dying with excitement. I hastily organised a few trips with the Lovely One and I was hooked. My summer made, when autumn blew in I was sadder about the lack of frozen margaritas in my life than the shortening evenings.
This meant that when I heard it was returning I cleared the diary, dragged out the Flatmate and Lovely One and headed to the Model Market to get my fix. It was worth it:
So, what did we learn this weekend?
1. Never leave the Lovely One unattended with Street Food. I got caught in the queue for the marvellous Spit and Roast‘s poutine and found that he’d demolished 3 mini-naans topped with delicious curry from Rola Wala on his own. Reader, we survived this relationship test. But it was touch and go.
2. Share. You get to try more.
3. Don’t get FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). You CAN leave a vendor until next time. There will be plenty more opportunities to go before September ends. You will get your Yum Bun. You do not need to take out a second mortgage to eat all the foods.
4. Take lots of cash. Most vendors do take cards but then you’re the douchebag holding up the hoards and no one wants that.
5. When I say hoards, I mean it. It was RAMMED at 7pm and by the time we left at 8.30 there was a queue running all the way to Lewisham high street. I’m in two minds about this. Get there early and you’re guaranteed entry for a cheaper price (good). There will be about a bajillion kids (eh). And you’re more likely to get a seat in the SWEET upstairs astroturfed area (excellent). But go later and you get the full late night experience (FANTASTICH).
6. Be respectful. This is not your average street cart. This is high-quality food produced by passionate makers and it’s not their fault if they run out of stuff, or it’s crowded, or it’s a bit more than you thought it would be. You’re getting restaurant-quality so the prices are a bit higher. This is not KFC. So leave the ‘tude at home (you know who you are, woman with kid who complained about the price of the *mini chicken burger* and the long queue).
7. Finally, leave room for dessert. Trust me on this.
MODEL MARKET – running until 24/25 September 2015
196 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6LS
entrance on Molesworth Street behind the Shopping Centre
5pm to 1am, Fridays and Saturdays. Entry £3 (free before 7pm)