A few years ago, I headed east to Hackney in search of the Designers/Makers Market, an ill-fated journey as it turned out that they weren't holding it that Saturday (it now seems to have found a pop-up spot at Spitalfields). I did come across a small food and vintage market nearby, however, which could well have been on the same site that now hosts Netil Market.
I love to have a wander around a new (or new-to-me) market on a Saturday afternoon, so I hopped on the bus to Shoreditch and then walked along the canal to Hackney. Netil Market is located in a small yard near the railway arches on Westgate Street, near the south side of London Fields and just around the corner from the lovely, bustling Broadway Market. I had heard on the social media grapevine that Netil Market combines food and drink, with vintage and design-oriented shopping. My kind of market, in other words.
It was smaller than I was expecting: just a handful of wooden shacks serving the food and drink, and a few more and some market stalls for the shopping. It was early afternoon by the time I arrived — way past brunch o'clock — so I headed straight for the food. I had a quick scan of the options and then made a beeline for Bao. I've been wanting to try Bao's Taiwanese buns (the eponymous baos) for some time, and although I was tempted to have one of each of the fried chicken and the classic pork baos, I just went for the latter to save room for other comestibles. With hindsight, I should have done the double because the pork bao (generously stuffed with braised pork, pickles, peanuts and coriander) was bloomin' marvellous, and only £3.50. The pork was juicy and the flavour combinations were most excellent. No wonder there was a big queue!
Other food choices included Pizzas Don't Cry, which stakes a possible claim as the world's smallest pizzeria (the sourdough pizzas looked ace, but one bao in didn't leave me with enough room to try one); Morty & Bob's, which serves grilled cheese sarnies and bloody marys; and the Gamby Shack, which offers Afro-Caribbean soul food. All of this had to be savoured for another visit, but I did finally get to sample a macchiato from Terrone, an Italian coffee producer and Netil Market resident. It's been way too long since I had a coffee roasted in Italy and produced, made and served by Italians, but my macchiato was worth the wait. If the sun is already over the yardarm (or even if it isn't), Terrone also serves cocktails.
Then it was time for some shopping. Actually, I ended up window-shopping as I'm on a bit of budget prior to my next overseas excursion, but when all of the goods are so beautiful and lovingly curated, it was a pleasure just to look. My favourite stall was Hopscotch, where every object was beautiful — and most were useful too. They sell candles, stationery, vintage cards, ceramics and much more. Rebecca Gladstone's delicate silver and golden jewellery is also lovely and exactly my style.
There are also lovely cards from Barney and Claude, teeny terraria from Arma Glass, and some really fab vintage pieces.
Despite being full, I found myself ordering a slice of orange and lavender cake from Victoria Yum, which was very good. On a warm but not especially sunny Saturday afternoon, there was a lovely atmosphere at Netil Market. The vendors were all very friendly and happy to talk about their wares, and although there isn't a huge amount of seating areas, there is just enough space to sit and enjoy your food and drink. If you haven't been yet, check them out on Saturdays from 11–6 pm.
Netil Market. 13–23 Westgate Street, London, E8 3RL (Cambridge Heath rail). Website. Twitter.