Every car park, rooftop and towpath at the more trendy end of London is filling up fast with food trucks, fancy cocktails and, if you're lucky, the odd art installation. Red Market, one of London's first pop-up street food markets (est. 2011) has now reopened for another season of alfresco revelry. Food this year includes tandoor-cooked rotis from the head chef of Whitechapel Punjabi restaurant Tayyabs and pizzas from Voodoo Ray's in Dalston. There will also be cocktails, DJ sets and a fake beach. What more could you wish for in the capital? Good weather, perhaps?
Find out more about Red Market. Not in your area? Find more great London markets.
288-299 Old St, EC1V 9DP. Open Wed-Sat, 5pm-midnight.
Funk music was playing in this stylishly decorated, cosily lit Brick Lane establishment when we visited. It was quite loud, at first to the point of being overbearing. But it swiftly became apparent that funk was the perfect choice of music for Hopscotch; everything this place does is delivered with that same mixture of swagger and effortless cool. Food comes as small plates, the flavours chiefly Middle Eastern and East Asian-inspired. Everything is loosely arranged into starters and mains on the menu, but really, you’re better off ordering three or four things per person, and getting the staff to bring them out as and when they’re ready. This isn’t a place for formalities. Everything we tried held playful, nuanced, hugely moreish flavours, whether the creamy dressing on a kohlrabi salad or the quiet blast of heat in a side of pickled veg. Beef short ribs were absurdly good, falling apart in an umami-rich sauce; the closest thing to a misfire was a slightly mulchy smoked goat flatbread. Just as deserving of praise is the cocktail menu, which we ended up sampling in quite some quantity in the ‘drinking den’ bar room after our meal. Standouts were a Brick Lane Swizzle – a tangy hit of dark rum, lime and banana syrup – and the Hello Kyoto, a slightly fiendish concoction of Japanese plum wine, whisky and egg white. At £9, they’re hardly extortionate. But, with the most expensive food dish at £11, nothing here is. You get the sense that Hopscotch knows exactly what it’s got to o