Beth Berry, the brains and business acumen behind family-run Edinburgh business ‘At the Market Ltd’ who are responsible for the popular Grassmarket, Leith and Stockbridge Markets, has just added another string to her bow with the launch of Fountainbridge Street Food Fridays.
The start of the Union Canal, behind Swedish bar Akva, is the location for this new market. There will be six to 10 street food vendors each Friday, from 11am-7pm. The later opening times will have great appeal to an after work crowd, especially if the sun comes out and the lunchtime slot will be a big hit with the many offices and student crowds around Festival Square and Fountainbridge. Lucky them.
At the launch, Bradly Mitchell provided the entertainment, busking on guitar with his soulful covers. I hope this might be a regular feature, possibly showcasing hard-working but often struggling musicians.
The wonderful food offerings at the launch included Babu Bombay Kitchen, Flat Out Food, Fresh Revolution, Hendersons of Edinburgh, Bearded Barista, Orinoco Latin Food, Opsono, Alpings and Umami Spice Girl in her fantastic new shiny trailer.
It looked like Michelle was enjoying the warmth inside the trailer selling a selection of her finished curries, rather than the fresh curry making kits, which have been selling really well at Stockbridge market and various delis in and around Edinburgh for the past few years.
Spice Boy’s ‘Chai Latte’ is worth a try too. Unlike the chais I’ve tried in India, it had just the right blend of spice and wasn’t sickly sweet. And it warmed the cockles on a bitter cold April day.
It was a tough job having to taste all the food on offer and sadly I didn’t get round everyone. The Pau Vadas from the Babu Bombay Kitchen, a potato, ginger and chilli ‘bhaji’ served in a toasted white bun with green chutney was delicious.
The corn bread arepas from Orinoco Latin Food, which are stuffed with a variety of fillings including pulled chicken and avocado; pulled British beef; and black beans, a South American staple, are definitely worth a try, especially if you are looking for something gluten free. And make sure you ask for a dash of their homemade avocado sauce, which is sublime.
Truly a family affair, it is run by a Colombian and Venezuelan couple, who were being ably assisted by the hard-working mother-in-law who was doing a sterling job making the corn bread.
I couldn’t resist trying a sliver of the vegan kebab from Hendersons of Edinburgh. It seemed like a oxymoron to me but they are the first to bring this to the UK. Resembling a traditional meat kebab, it rotated in a miniature rotating spit. Made from seitan, a chewy protein-rich food made from wheat gluten, used in cooking as a meat substitute, it was surprisingly tasty. However I’d have to be bribed to have chosen this as my main lunch dish over the other stall offerings.
And if vegan or vegetarian food is your thing, you’ll be able to get your fix during the Fringe Festival in August at St Andrews Square Gardens.
And to finish, I tried a half portion of the chocolate fudge tourtons, from South Lanarkshire provider Opsono, who are regulars at the Farmers’ Market on Castle Terrace on Saturdays.
Tourtons are a speciality from the Haute Alpes region of France and are usually found on market stalls being cooked fresh to take home and reheat or be eaten on the go.
This fresh pastry (ravioli shaped) gets filled traditionally with mash potato and goat’s cheese then deep fried. It’s usually eaten with cured meat such as ham on top of a salad.
At Opsono, Lauren and Stephane have used their grandmother’s traditional recipe but made tourtons from quality organic Scottish produce and adapted them to suit a Scottish palate.
My two sweet tourtons were the perfect finish to a great day. Hot and oozing a delicious sweet chocolate filling, laced with homemade caramel sauce,I’m just glad that I’d already done my workout for the day.
I was dubious as to whether another food market on a Friday would work, but it did. Despite it being a bitingly cold, overcast day, the crowds were out in their hordes. It was particularly busy at lunchtimes, so if you want to avoid the queues, head down before 12.15pm.
I think you can safely say that Beth Berry has ‘cracked’ the food market concept and Fountainbridge Street Food Fridays looks like they are here to stay. I’ll be back.
Fountainbridge Street Food Fridays – 11am to 7pm – Fridays
Leith Market – 10am to 5pm – Saturdays
Grassmarket Market – 10am to 5pm – Saturdays
Stockbridge Market – 10am to 5pm – Sundays