Tartiflette at Herne Hill Market
Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I’ve got a wonderful feeling,
There’ll be more blog posts a-coming your way…
Or so the song goes. Now what we all want – or what I’m hoping you still want if you’ve ended up here – is London street food news.
Huzzuh! I’ve got news a-plenty! First, off I am now a fully-fledged freelance writer. I am still in residence at the Evening Standard – new food and interview columns and general food features will appear here every week – but I now also write for other publications on subjects including food, street food, travel and whatever else comes to mind. Keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram feeds for updated info.
Second, there has been street fooding a-plenty. I have moved to Brixton, where I have Herne Hill Farmers Market, Brixton Village (see my previous post on Okan), and Brixton Station Market (that’s the one alongside the railway that takes place on Fridays and Saturdays) on my doorstep. So, reporting from south west London, here’s my latest adventure:
One cold Sunday not so long ago my friend Zoe and I, thinking enviously of a pal who had tumbled off to France to go skiing and eat mountain food, decided we wanted tartiflette. Not having the appropriate cooking apparatus, nor nearly enough cheese or potatoes with us to make such a dish, nor a restaurant nearby where we could enjoy some, we went for a little walk in Brockley Park to forget all thoughts of the stuff.
Well that was until Zoe came up with the best idea either of us had had all day: “If you haven’t been before, we could go to the Herne Hill farmers’ market. It’s really good and I can almost spy it from here,” she breezed.
And so within five short minutes, we had fled down the hill, trotted past stalls run by local bakers, butchers and cheese sellers, makers of cakes and honey and jam, and ended up peering into a gigantic steaming pan of tartiflette.
But this wasn’t one of those occasions where you read the menu on a sign, hope that what arrives is what the sign promised to deliver, then end up wishing you’d gone somewhere else. Nor was it like the time I went to winter market in Grenoble, in actual France, and wasted too many euros on a thin, watery, awful tarti-no-thanks. No, this was actual hot, cheesy, wonderful French tartiflette, and among the best I’ve tried.
Served to us from La Tartiflette stall in a little silver takeaway tray was this glorious, thick mess – comfort food designed to fill you up for the week (or get you down a black run) yet we only had to get back home for dinner. Still, we feasted on all of it: those tiny cubes of softened potatoes, flecks of fried onions, fried until sweet, bits of bacon bobbing merrily about, and a useful scattering of herbs. Add to that a sauce so rich we thought our hearts might fall out, made with cream, a touch of white wine and then presumably a great fat dose of melted Reblochon cheese. Sublime.
After that we only had room to share one Jacob’s Ladder burger (more on that in this post – but this time I even brought home some lamb neck to cook for dinner). Then just as we thought we might end up sleep walking all the way back to Brixton, we found a cauldron of spicy, hot apple and ginger juice, ordered two cups, and the citrusy heat perked us up all over again.
Do find this tartiflette and do go hungry. It’s too good to let any go to waste.
Next up: the exclusive on a new Parisian street food concept.
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