It is Thursday lunch time and I find myself squeezing past a swarm of people in Borough Market. It seems like the whole world is here for lunch and I cannot really blame them; this long-standing market is well known for the large variety of high-quality foods on offer. I slowly navigate my way around the crowds, taking in the smells of all those tantalising aromas, alas the queues for each stall are snaking around and around and I begin to get confused in all the chaos.
I spot a short queue and head to it straight away to secure my spot. I didn’t care what I would be purchasing — my lunch hour was ticking away and I just needed some food! It turns out I was queuing at Nana Fanny’s stall for salt beef. The menu was simple: first choose your base from bread, salad or bagel. Then choose your extras: mustard (frankly, I don’t think that this should be an option. It should be mandatory!), cabbage, gherkin, and melted cheese. I went for a bagel with all the extras, except cheese, which cost me a fiver (cheese would have costed an additional £1).
I watched on salivating as my bagel was being prepared. A layer of mustard was smothered across the toasted bagel, then two large slices of gherkin was carefully laid on top. A handful of cabbage and a generous handful of salt beef was carefully balanced on top before being squished down with the top half of the bagel to try and hold it all together.
I rushed back to my desk. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. It was a messy process; I would recommend preparing a stack of napkins before starting. The mustard was punchy and it dribbled down the sides of the bagel, The only place the mustard didn’t get to was the salt beef. It’s a personal thing, and I know I am a bit particular, but it would have tasted much better if the mustard was directly on the juicy salt beef. Instead of oozing out the sides, the mustard should have been placed on top of the beef so that it could trickle into all the nooks and crannies of the salf beef’s beautiful flesh. I may ask for it like that next time. The cabbage added crunchy texture but the taste did not work well; I’ll be omitting it next time. All in all, it was a fantastic lunch for just £5. Much better than a sandwich from a sandwich chain, eh? ∎
(Photography: Sarah Chu for Bubbobar)
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