If you love Shoreditch, I don’t think I could ever trust you as a person. This area is just overpriced, manufactured lame. How anyone could believe they’re picking up true vintage finds when every single vendor was hawking the same “vintage” pieces baffles me.
I even hated the street art. It seemed like it was there just for the sake of being an indicator of the area’s “coolness”. Stop trying so hard, Shoreditch. But kudos to their marketing/branding, I guess. Throngs of people still flock here for a chance to geotag “Brick Lane Market” on Instagram. And I hate myself for being one of them.
Shoreditch’s only redemption was its food offerings. The food hall was a greasy, smokey plethora of international cuisines, reflective of London’s many immigrant cultures that have taken root here. It was cute to see the food stall vendors sharing their food with fellow hawkers.
We could not resist fresh oysters at the McManus Brothers’ Oyster & Prosecco Bar, even though we were full from Korean chicken skewer and Chinese pulled beef sliders. At 7 pounds for 6 oysters, they sold out an hour before the food hall’s closing. (We bought the last 6.) I ate every oyster in two slurps instead of one, knowing that we could not order any more. They were fat and slimy, a beautiful briny bouquet of the sea cruising down my throat.
There was also the famous (infamous) Beigl Bakes, which reminded me of the old-fashioned bakery at Whampoa my mother likes to buy bread from if we were in the area. Beigl Bakes was, an experience. It was incredibly stressful to order, as the staff looked at you like you owed them money and barked your orders down the line. According to reviews on TripAdvisor, sometimes they barely bothered to get your order right. We didn’t encounter this, luckily.
I got the smoked salmon cream cheese bagel, and honestly, I never thought there would come a day when I would actually like smoked salmon. I used to hate the taste and how awfully salty it was. But it was fantastic in this, and still good when heated up in the oven the next morning. I also ordered a sweet treat—an almond slice—and it was absolutely delectable. It’s a little too sweet, especially with the praline-like centre, to eat it in one sitting or by yourself. But I missed this heady almond flavour, and I got to work through it while walking the 30 minutes from Saatchi to the Natural History Museum. That’s why it didn’t feel too heavy a snack.