Tuesday, 31 May 2011

An Endless Afternoon in Camden Town

Camden Lock Market

I love London in the summer and I think there are few places more beautiful than England when the sun is shining.   I used to save all of my money so that I could spend holidays in England and I have fond memories of long afternoons spent catching up with friends in places like Soho and Camden.

Horses at the Stables Market in Camden

Last week I visited Camden for the first time since I returned to England in 2007.  It is crazy that I hadn’t visited sooner; I spent masses of time in Camden as a child in the 70s and I lived around the corner in the 90s.  I guess I took it for granted but I was also worried about two things: what remained after the fire in 2008 and had it become tacky and dated over time?

Browsing at Camden Lock

We spent some time browsing around all of the stalls in the Camden Lock Market and the Stables Market.  I was really impressed by the vibrant colours, the creative and imaginative wares, and most of all, the reasonable prices!  I will definitely be making more frequent trips to Camden in future, just not on Sundays when it is so full that the Underground station becomes exit-only.

Lebanese Mezze Stables Market Camden

We decided to eat lunch at the Lebanese Mezze restaurant in the Stables Market.  This was a cool, relaxing and comfortable place and they were surprisingly baby friendly!  The staff were warm and inviting too and we didn’t feel rushed at all.

Colours of Lebanese Mezze Stables Market Camden

It was inside the Lebanese Mezze that the afternoon became positively magical and endless.  We reclined and chatted for what seemed like ages in this lovely place.  We had some Lebanese cardamom coffee which has a lovely spicy taste.  Of course, being more used to Greek and Turkish fare, you’ll be glad to know I just managed to refrain from crying out “oh, you mean like Turkish coffee!” when the patron was explaining what cardamom coffee was.

Mezze Platter Lebanese Mezze Stables Market Camden

The food was simply divine.  I opted for the mezze platter with meat and Gyda had the vegetarian mezze platter.  The servings were quite generous at £7/£6 and the food was delicious.  My only complaint is that I prefer hand rolled falafel to the pre-formed ones but I have noticed most places in London serve them like that.

Food Lebanese Mezze Stables Market Camden

I’ve never been a ‘foodie’ as such.  I’m certainly not a connoisseur like some of my bloggy friends (JaPRA and Melizza, I’m looking at you!) but the food on offer at Camden Lock looks so enticing, yummy (we sampled many stalls) and inexpensive.  Perhaps that is why I seemed to enjoy the food aspect of the market so much more here compared to Borough Market?  In any event, I will be going back to Camden at least twice in the near future – once to visit Lebanese Mezze again and once to go to the Mexican restaurant next door!

Stables Market Camden

I can remember visiting Camden Lock Market in the late 70s and early 80s at the height of the New Romantic craze.  All I can remember was visiting stall after stall selling either Victorian trinkets and antiques or vintage lace dresses.  Camden has come a long way since then and a long way since being the centre of the Gothic explosion in the late 80s and 90s.  (Did I mention I bought two pairs of Dr. Martens boots in Camden?)  I’m so glad to see it going strong and think that the redevelopment of the Stable Market has been a good thing (even if the massive horse statues freaked me out).

After we ate our lunch, we went for a long stroll down Regent’s Canal.  Those photos will have to wait until next time – I was really lucky to finish my class early (hence the post), but cost accounting homework calls to me now!

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20 comments

  1. Woo! We were just there TODAY and had lunch from one of the stalls--almost said ate in one of the stalls in the stable, LOL. But next time I go I want to try Lebanese Mezze. It looks so yummy and the prices seem very reasonable.

    Glad you weren't disappointed. Roxi and I try to get down there about once a month just to browse. There are so many interesting things to see (and buy!). :D

    I am curious about the fire...

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  2. Camden seems like an interesting place especially with food you described. I can see why you like to visit.

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  3. I also went there during my recent visit to London and liked it a lot.
    The vibe of this place is definitely special. Even more so during the weekends with all the crowds. I will definitely visit Camden town again.

    We tried food from at least 4 different stalls. It was interesting to try out some new things and almost everything was fresh and very tasty.

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  4. I had been to Camden market awhile before the fire. Loved it. But I loved borough market too. Hmm you enjoyed food in Camden better? I don't know...never tried out too many things there. But I very much wanted to get a tatoo! :-)

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  5. looks like you had a great time!

    ...and that dish looks soo tempting, too.

    london is really beautiful in the summer and camden seems like an interesting place to visit.

    betty xx

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  6. I lived in London for a few years. You can find everything in this big city and it's hard to get bored but it's grim there if you don't have money and there are some places you want to avoid at all cost. They are the 'forgotten' part of this big city where people just try to survive.

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  7. I used to work down the road from Camden but haven't been back for ages (about 5 years)! I really need to visit again.

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  8. Lets go some time. I'd love to try out Lebanese food. And for some reason I can't place where in Camden you went. But then again I haven't been back there since the sun started shining again.

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  9. Interesting,
    London seems to be a very cosmopolit town...

    Pierre

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  10. Always a fun and interesting time in Camden

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  11. Camden Town looks and sounds wonderful. I've never had cardamommmmm coffee, but it sounds delicious. I'm not a foodie either, but like good solid food and those platters looked very good.

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  12. There's nothing you can't find in Camden town, now I can't get the Madness song of the same name out of my head...

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  13. Yay Emm..I loved this post..and it sounds like it would have been the most perfect place for this gothic girl from long ago ha ha! And yay..I am envious of your new Dr. Martens..my FAVE style of all time..i have gone through quite a few pair of tall-boots and shoes..and cutoffs..and would love some new ones!what colors did you get!?

    and YUM..Turkish coffee..isnt it FAB? and mine was thick and grainy/sooty as well at the bottom (where i have had them anways!!)..deliscious!

    Gorgeous shots..my fave is of the closeup of the horse head statue..beautiful!
    Happy wkd my friend!
    Victoria

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  14. Camden is always fun, even though there seems to be too many stalls and shops selling the same overpriced junk and tack...it is a bit of a tourist trap. There are thankfully a few reasonable good bars and places to eat.

    I will have to drag myself away from some of those amazing Lebanese places on Edgeware Road and try out the Meze place to see how it compares...

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  15. mmm...that mezze platter looks fabulous!!!

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  16. I was there about two weeks ago. :)
    That's definitely one of my favourite places in London!

    I can't tell the difference between Lebanese, Turkish and Greek. Ha ha...
    They all have very similar dishes. ;)

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  17. your photos make me want to visit Camden right away and the food does look tempting. i could almost smell them from here. yum yum.

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  18. Camden has always been one of my favourite places; it feels like a trip around the world :-) There's so many different places for cheap but good food.

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  19. Speaking of food, have you been to William Curley's? He's got a shop in Richmond, but there's another one in the city too.

    http://www.williamcurley.co.uk/engine/shop/index.html

    Try these: http://images.glam.co.uk/glampress_uk/charlotte/1010/claridgesmain.jpg
    They're so delicious you'll think you've died and gone to heaven... fortunately you haven't so you can enjoy many more of them :-)

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  20. @ JaPRA: Camden has always been a teenager's dream, hasn't it!! I would love to go more often!!

    @ AVC8teur: Camden Town is a must-visit if you are ever visiting London!

    @ Travel Photo Blogging: I imagine the best thing would be to go in a crowd and all sample each others' food! Having lived so near to there, I have to say I prefer Camden Town on weekdays than the crowds and mayhem of weekends!

    @ Ash: Yes, definitely like Camden better. No, wait, I love Camden and have only bothered to visit Borough Market a handful of times in the 4 years I've worked on Borough High Street.

    @ Betty: Agreed. London is amazing in summer!

    @ Great Travels: London can definitely be hard if you're short of money or, indeed, if you have none.

    @ Alan: You do! I was really pleasantly surprised!

    @ Mujerboricua: It is really similar to the place we went out the other day, although Taz Cafe was Turkish. But yes, let's definitely go one day!

    @ Pierre: It is, as is Paris! Have you not been?

    @ Mo: Agreed.

    @ Clueless in Boston: Camden is lovely and bohemian. Do visit next time you're in London!

    @ Ryan: Ha ha! Serves you right!

    @ Victoria: I like that photo of the horse too! I didn;t buy new Docs on this trip - the last pair I bought was 1995.

    @ William: I think if you go to any place often enough you'll begin to see more of the habit, routine and standards than the charm. I would certainly not go to Camden so often that it became tacky!

    @ Cailen: It was yummifying.

    @ London Caller: I can't either but I don't make too much of an effort. My heritage is decidedly Mediterranean as my family moved from Spain through Greece and Turkey to Egypt, it really is all the same to me.

    @ Life Ramblings; Oh yay! Glad I had your mouth watering.

    @ Dominic: Thanks for the recommedations!!! Yum!

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