Sunday, 26 October 2008

So Red or Brown Sauce?

Load of old Flaneur
aka BLTP's Excellent A-Z adventures:
Volume 12 (probably).

I spent Saturday doing weekend stuff; washing things, buying things, watching “a kid for 2 farthings”. It’s a good film spoilt only by Carol Reeds insistence of choosing the posh kid ever to play a cockney urchin.

Anyway maybe this film (based if not shot in Petticoat lane) or a photo I saw somewhere reminded me that there’s a Bacon street in the East End. With the way that my mind works I thought that it would be good if there was a Sandwich Street near by and after a quick look at the A-Z it showed there was one in Holborn. So I decided to walk between to the two.

Beigels, bacon and bhajis
So this morning in the increasingly heavy rain I “bussed" it round to Brick lane.
There’s no place in London like Brick lane, where the ineffably cool and the ineffably down at heel rub shoulder. In the space of a few yards you’ll see highly excited modishly attired Japanese art students (madly tall fake fur cossacks hats) fighting over off cuts of leather in a skip, just down from an elderly Asian man hawking his wares in the rain. The man’s cheap anorak was sodden and he had a light orange hat fashioned from a Sainsbury bag on his head. He was morosely stood in front of a meagre square of things for sale; the most saleable being a chipped Whitbread pub ash tray. He may have other sources of income but none of them looked good.
Elsewhere in the market you can buy more fruit and veg in scoops than even Jamie could swallow or maybe 30 spanners for 3 quid.

Funnily enough Bacon (the street crosses Brick lane) is probably the hardest thing to find in the lane what with the curry houses and beigel shops. The beigels always seem ridiculous good value at £1.20 for salmon and cream cheese and not much more for salt beef (they are also bloody lovely).

Why don’t you just foccacia somewhere else then….
Anyway after a “light” bite and a mooch I headed off for Sandwich street. The rain however was quite heavy so I only got as far as Old Street and then got buses the rest of the way.

Sandwich Street I only realised, when I got there was close to one of my old flats, round the corner from the Brunswick centre (in Holborn).
The area around there has been gentrified since my time or should that be re-gentrified as in Victorian times it was quite “well to do”, the recent influx of money is just the cycle coming round again.

Complaining about gentrification in London is rather futile; after a while it’s really a case of choosing which sort of middle class person you like. The type in Brunswick centre with its Waitrose, Giraffe, and branch of Office do seem to leave a bland trail behind them though. The busy shopping parade that replaced the threadbare charity shops and retro cafes in the Brunswick centre is just so dull. The fact that the shops are packed doesn’t excuse their dullness.
Good luck to the families eating in Giraffe it’s just that the orange café that was in the parade before Giraffe came along still sold fish finger sandwiches except the ketchup wasn’t organic and they were half the price.

The whole place was quite strange almost like a parallel world, the Renoir cinema was still there but the good cheap Chinese café was missing and the book shops have been shuffled round the corner. The planners and councillors will point to the 3 wheel prams and expensive overcoats as proof that they’ve done their job, it’s just, it’s just well you know, you sometimes just want a chemist that sells night nurse and plasters not face cream at £40 a pot, Waitrose is nice but it’s not cheap.
Oh, I don’t know good luck to them all.
I was glad to see the Valencia café was still going round the corner. Its’ staff were always pleasingly gruff, the coffee was good and the food was fine if not quite what the American students from the halls of residence round the corner were was use to. I was never sure if it was trick or not but they use to put the salt in a sugar shaker which wasn’t good when you had a hangover.
Anyway it was interesting visit I may not be back soon

Oh and I still haven't answered the ultimate question, so on a breakfast butty is it "Red" or "Brown" sauce?


Cocktails said...

We went to the Brunswick Centre for Open House this year. The T&R Association had organised tours and were generously showing strangers round their flats.

A rather large chunk of the Brunswick Centre is still social housing and although people like the new liveliness of the development, they don't really appreciate the fact that they have nowhere to do their shopping now and they have to put up with noise of PR events like 'salsa night' when they're trying to have tea and watch telly.

Interestingly, the developers have also mysteriously 'forgotten' to repaint and fix the insides of the place, so once you get off the posh shopping precinct to where people actually live it's all a bit murky.

Amazing spaces though. I took some pictures - should have done a post on them!

BLTP said...

with the terraced nature of the brunswick centre it does make for sick joke of the poorer people above spectating on their richer cousins below. I imagine the social housing will get bought up gradually to complete the process.

Planet Mondo said...

Red Sauce for me every time

Until a couple of years ago I was always round Bacon St way as my brother lived there until a couple of years ago - more recently I was doing some weekend work with a guy from Sweden and one from New York, after we'd wrapped up I took them to Brick Lane for a curry and a couple of snifters - they loved the lack of tourists and the Jack The Ripper history - and we bumped into Gilbert and George on the same day

Planet Mondo said...

Have you seen the famous Ham/Sandwich sign in Kent

sa said...

No sauce for me thanks.
Disgusting on bacon, filthy habit.

BLTP said...

sa, you gotta have some sauce to dampen the bread unless you have egg or abit of a dip in the "mucky fat".
PM love the sign I was thinking of journey between sandwich st and ham lane in Richmond but they beat me to it.
also has the rough trade shop on bricklane closed?

sa said...

er, mucky fat then please.

BLTP said...

I saw "mucky Fat" advertised on a sarnie bar's menu in Wakey the otherday. so as well as mustard and hordseradish you could have what older readers will know as "Mucky dripping" on your lunchtime "cob" (as no one outside them midlands would call an oven bottom cake, stotty, bread cake, tea cake, roll, bap, barm.....

sa said...

who knows 'in these troubled times' we may yet see a mucky fat/ dripping revival.
can't wait till the first "MUCKY FAT COB!" headlines, photos of city suits with greasy faces and fingers, splattered silk ties...