I took this picture at the Furness Fish, Poultry & Game stall in the autumn of 2005. Suw and I often go shopping for dinner at the Market before stopping off at Wine Wharf to rest after fighting the crowds.
Borough Market is probably just as popular with American tourists as it is with Londoners, based on the accents around the market. It’s now one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of London. It’s really best to get to there before noon, or else you’ve really got to get your sharp elbows out. From noon to 2 pm, it’s almost impossible to move.
We buy olive oil in bulk at Borough Olive Company, and we buy French rosé straight from the barrel at a stall just down the way from Furness. I buy my morning cappuccino from Monmouth Coffee Company as well as freshly roast beans. Bedales wine sellers is a place to really do damage to the credit card. They have a great selection of New World and European wines. Suw and I found an amazing Barolo Chinato at Bedales, a counter-intuitive dessert wine of barolo with “a natural infusion of China Calissaja bark, rhubarb root, and about ten other aromatic herbs”.
I suppose I shouldn’t rattle on so much about this because it will only mean that more people find their way to Borough Market. It’s one of those wonderful places in London that you want to keep secret so it doesn’t become overwhelmed.
Suw and I went to Furness and bought some Silver Pomfrets. I’d never had the fish before, and neither had Suw. We put them under the grill.
Now, for my American friends, the grill is what we in the US call the broiler. It was one of the earliest separated by a common language laughs that Suw and I had. She told me to stick crumpets under the grill, and I thought what did the BBQ have to do with crumpets and why would we stick them in the coals. This made even less sense seeing as it was November, and starting the grill seemed a little extreme in the late autumn.
The fish were lovely broiled. Silver Pomfrets live in shallow coastal waters and feed on plankton. They don’t have a strong fishy taste but rather a delicate light white fish taste. Suw made some lemon butter, and we had asparagus from Spain with shaved parmagiano reggiano. Suw noted that the cheese, aged at 28-months, was older than our relationship. This made me feel slightly impetuous, asking her to marry me after only going out about 18 months so I decided not to dwell on it. The meal was simple and lovely. Great ingredients don’t need too much embellishment.