The nearest tube to get here is Bethnal Green and then a short 10 minute walk along main roads to the market (B on below map).
We decided to head over early doors to avoid the crowds. However, last Sunday was a particularly fine British day and therefore the crowds were out in their hundreds already by 11am.
The trick here is to wander down the stalls and suss out what you would like to buy first, then see which have the better quality flowers on, what offers they have and which cheeky chappy you'd like to buy your blooms off - think Eastenders market men with their witty sales lines... we kindly got offered one stalls mans 'Justin Beiber' look alike apprentice as our 'body guard for the day'. From him, I bought a beautiful Orchid...salesman's technique - 1, my wallet - 0. I also bought some STUNNING antique looking roses and a beautiful Azalea bush for the terrace at home, all totalling a reasonable £20.
The flowers are so beautiful... and I have never seen so many...
|Tulips in every colour imaginable|
Turn off the market and make sure you have a look at the rustic cafe's and shops that permanently reside on Colombia Road itself. Towards the bottom there's a super cute cafe that is literally a hole in the wall with a shelf outside selling the most delicious pastries...
|Not the best photo but its so small I couldn't take a decent picture!|
An abundant of little nick-knack antique shops surround the area, although be warned they are not as affordable as the flora! These all are filled with so many beautiful and unusual little things that it's hard not to walk away with a trolley full of goodies. There is also the most gorgeous bakery in the small square and a quaint fabric shop which has every pattern imaginable lining the shelves for all your 'Susie home-maker' needs.
We decided on having brunch and luckily stumbled upon a table at the very popular 'Campania Gastronomia', which is directly on Colombia Rd. This is a high contender for being one of the best in the area, serving food lovers delicious Italian antipasti within a tiny room full of rustic charm.
|3 pictures above courtesy of colombiaroad.info|
Cured hams hang from the ceiling, blackboards fill the walls with the choice of dishes available that day and a table brimming full of salads, pastries and cakes takes centre stage. All stylised in a way that would have taken a lot of effort to put together but looks like it took 10minutes, exposed bricks and industrial lighting throughout... It's exactly the type of place I find lots of inspiration for my dream home.
We were there early, therefore this meant we were able to enjoy the brunch options for the day. Eggs dominated the menu, served in a number of ways, also an italian style 'full english' and many pastries.
I settled upon, the Italian cured ham, eggs, sourdough and rocket. Somehow they managed to make the most incredible eggs I have tasted...I couldn't work out any different form of cooking but they certainly weren't swimming in grease, and seemingly quite 'healthy'. A smattering of good quality olive oil was also in addition and was delicious when eaten with the ham, toast and runny golden yolk. Seriously, this was also some of the best cured ham I have ever tasted, and for £8, this is something I would definitely go back for.
Miss G went for scrambled eggs with fresh chilli, tomato, sourdough and rocket. Again another polished off meal made with exceptional produce and full of flavour.
Overall a gorgeous morning, made better by the beautiful British weather and the beautiful flowers that now fill my home.
Campania Gastronomia: 95 Columbia Rd, City of London, E2 7RG