Belvedere Road, Lambeth
After the excitement of the huge Hyde Park Winter Wonderland we headed back towards the river to sample the delights of another market – Southbank Christmas Market. Situated in South Bank, funnily enough, in the shadow of the London Eye. This market doesn’t really get spoken about with many choosing to head to either Hyde Park or to Oxford Street to gaze at the lights and decorations.
Getting to South Bank is easiest from Waterloo station, or if you fancy the walk you can head down the river from Westminster. We decided to take the rather silly step of getting off at Southwark – a combination of google giving incorrect information and a vague memory of it being closest to the London Eye.
The advantage of this though was coming across some wonderful bars and restaurants around the Southwark area including a Cuban place serving cocktails and street food that we must check out on our next visit. Little back alleyways around the area were filled with bars advertising great value happy hours, all of which were packed with people. Getting lost can sometimes be fun.
However, if your need for mulled wine and bratwurst is an uncontrollable one then Waterloo is the ideal destination. Exit out of the station following the signs for the Southbank Centre and once across the road the full view of lights and wooden huts comes into sight. The smell in the air was the exact scent of a Christmas Market, mulled wine, doughnuts and sausages.
We weren’t here for sausages this time. After having our fill of currywurst over at Hyde Park, we were after something sweet. I’d heard about Dutch Pancakes gaining popularity in this part of town and having never had one before, decided to give them a go. The stall is directly opposite the Southbank Centre and a large queue formed on our arrival.
For £4.50 ($6.02 US) you can get a plate of 12 pancakes with a choice of topping, any extra’s come at a modest 50p ($0.66 US) per topping and up to £1.50 ($2 US) for fruit. The stall also serves soft drinks. The system here is a little different to most stalls. One point is to order your pancakes and a line forms to the other side of the stall for collection. Many people joined the long queue and were disappointed when they reached the front as a result.
We went for a plate of 12 pancakes with nutella on the top, what could be better? Shivering away in the long line we passed the time by watching just how these pancakes are made. The pancake batter gets poured into what looks like a large, hot madeleine tray and then the pancakes are flipped over using a needle – kind of like Japanese Takoyaki Octopus Balls.
We took away our tasty treats slathered in nutella – and they do pile it on! Along with a festive dusting of icing sugar, we dug in. These pancakes are similar to French madeleines but more of a batter texture than cake. Also these were a lot less sweet than we thought that they would be. The nutella see’s to that though, mmmm.
For the price and the portion size it’s a must-have at the market. We strolled along in the London night munching our Dutch treats under the glow of the London Eye. London really is beautiful at night and a stroll along the bankside up to Westminster Bridge is highly recommended, especially at this time of year.
Other features at the market include the traditional bratwurst stalls, fudge and hand crafted items along with a large Rekorderlig cider tent which was doing a brisk trade on our visit. For us though, these sweet treats are worth the tube ride alone. Our first taste of Dutch cuisine was a most enjoyable one.
Opening times: November 10th-January 4th 10am-10pm (Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve)
Nearest Tube: Waterloo