Aug 28, 2010

The Jean Nouvel Pavillion at The Serpentine Gallery

Le rouge et le Blaaaghhh....Two thumbs down, really.
Jean Nouvel, the Quai Branly and now this? You're slipping buddy...
I can just picture the swanky maquettes, but the execution is, yet again, so poor.
The pavillion at The Serpentine looks reasonably interesting from far, although red against the park green, well, been there, done that...

From close, it's a tawdry affair, with garish curtains, heavy-handed furnishings....It's the oldest rule in the style book, if you're going for head to toe red, you better make sure your tailoring and trimmings are perfect, it's the most unforgiving of colors.

It feels like the Campari lounge at some cheap resort town!

Tsc tsc, Jean Nouvel...

Aug 27, 2010

London Markets 4 - Borough Market

There is also Borough market, but that is definitely a place where people go specifically to shop. For food, amazing, beautiful food of all types. Stalls of exotic fruit and veg, venison pies, fish and chips, olives, wine, quiches, really, you name it. It s open thursday, friday and saturday, at different times, so best to check the website:

London Bridge has been a congregation stop for traders of grain, livestock and vegetables as far back as 1014. In the 13th century traders were relocated to what is now Borough High Street and a market has existed there ever since. Nowadays, this is a gourmet affair, within a big metallic structure, with stalls offering top ingredients and an with an attachment to local produce. They also host special events, and the website is packed with good recipes as well (quite handy if you get carried away buying something really odd and then have no idea what to do with it...)

Images courtesy of

Most stalls have samples to try, so do make sure you only eat AFTER making the rounds, if you have any room left in ya...

It’s quite close to the Tate Modern, so you can go have a bite and then go see the art, and do something useful with your time, you know?

Aug 25, 2010

London Markets 3 - Columbia Road Market

On Sundays, there is Columbia Road market (, a beautiful flower market, which is sure to fill your heart with sunshine for the rest of the week. Or at least your house with freesias. Anyhow, it s still quite the same hipster crowd, maybe a bit more grown-up. It's on Columbia Road, also in East London, quite close to Old Street station. This is one of the few markets that runs on Sunday, because of the largely jewish population that used to inhabit the area.

Columbia Road Market

You can hang around the market, buy flowers of course, but also interior design, vintage fashion and specialist perfumes from Angela Flanders. For lunch, there is a lovely Sunday roast at “The Royal Oak”, which is one of the few pubs I know in London with good looking, non dorky, straight men. The roast isn’t half bad either. Book ahead, they’re always packed.

The Royal Oak

Or you can have a late brunch at Bistrotheque, near Mare Street, the bloody maries are ace and there’s a pianist playing pop tunes. The fare is “modern British”, with posh fish and chips and scrumptious eggs royale (eggs, bun, hollandaise, smoked salmon and a dollop of caviar). Wear Comme des Garcons and look artsy. You will most definitely need to book here too.


Angela Flanders
96 Columbia Road
E2 7QB
Tel: 0207 739 7555

The Royal Oak
73 Columbia Road
London E2 7RG
Tel: 020 7729 2220

23-27 Wadeson Street,
London, E2 9DR
Tel.020 8983 7900

Aug 24, 2010

London Markets 2 - Broadway Market

If you’re looking for something a bit edgier, then head to Broadway market in East London. Ugh, I hate to sound like a forty-five year old radio talk show host, but it’s “ hipster central”. Also held on Saturday, it’s a great ambiance (ugh, again), with musicians playing their instruments, people strolling around in their best “I just threw this on” ensembles, great organic farm products, and a little vintage
stall with goolljuss dresses , at twenty quid each. You can grab lunch at one of the pubs, the Cat and Mutton is particularly popular and draws a nice looking kind of crowd, or you can go sit in the park, drink a cider and bask in the intermittent sunshine.

Images courtesy of

Dalston Market is near by, in all its trashy, cool, and afro effervescence. For multicolored lash extensions, okra, and other basic necessities. It's a short walk from Broadway Market, just head to Dalston station and you're there.

If you’re feeling a bit more high-brow, head to Vyner Street (, with its hidden art galleries. A lot of the up and coming artists in London are on display here, and you are likely to get a much fresher perspective of London’s contemporary art scene than you would in the West’s more “establishment” joints. It's a close and lovely little walk along the Regent's Canal from Broadway Market.

Image courtesy of


Cat & Mutton
76 Broadway Market
London, E8 4QJ

Aug 23, 2010

Best London Markets - Portobello

Markets in London are a full on social occasion, and not just a place to buy parsnips. The intimidating metropolis remains somewhat of a country maid. Now a sprawling, gritty and slightly intimidating metropolis, London was once, not so long ago, a jumble of small villages living in relative isolation. Londoners still enjoy remnants of village life. Boroughs are still, somehow, small towns of their own, and people tend to centre their whole life, social and otherwise, quite close to home. London’s many markets are an integral part of this tradition. People go to markets to shop, but mostly to hang out, really, to meet friends, and get wasted (it s England, it s always ultimately about getting wasted).

Perhaps the most famous London market, and certainly the touristiest, is Portobello, which was made famous by Notting Hill, you know, that perfectly lovely little romantic comedy which just about ruined that side of town ( The market is still a great way to spend a Saturday, with plenty of shops littered with kooky antiques, vintage clothes, and food stalls and restaurants. Though I always tend to eat at the Sausage and Mash under the bridge near Lancaster Gate, at the end of the market, but that’s just me and I have no imagination sometimes. I can’t resist the diner vibe, the myriad sausage options, and the creamy mash, in plain or leeky version. And then there’s sticky toffee pudding for desert, in all its buttery, “molassy” decadence. Enough carbs to make your eyes roll back in delight intheir sockets.

S& M at Portobello, image courtesy of www.

But if you’re in Noting Hill and looking for top nosh, go to Assaggi, the Italian joint, undoubtedly some of the best grub in town. This is a truly elegant joint, with the finest ingredients this side of the Channel, beautiful, understated primi, lovely cuts of meat and fish, and delicate deserts. The ambiance is airy, classy and understated. The wine list is well stocked with Italian classics, and the waiting staff are a joy. The restaurant sits over a pub, so you can head down for a few extra drinks if you fancy. Do book ahead.


39 Chepstow Place
W2 4TS
tel.: 02077925501

S&M Portobello
268 Portobello Road
W10 5TY
Telephone: 020 8968 8898