Columbia Road Flower Market

Food  / 

Sitting in the heart of the East End, Columbia Road Flower Market is a haven of fragrant, exotic and extravagant plants (10 foot banana tree anyone?). Lesser known, perhaps, is the road’s culinary history. Let’s take a stroll…

Pineapple flower? Ok!

Pineapple flower? Ok!

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The Columbia Road Juice Company

As I escaped the steady flow of hungry plant hunters, and left my green fingers behind, I found myself at no. 96, Campania Gastronomia, where Emma and Benito offer up Neopolitan coffee (served by a barista from the region) and fresh dishes typical of the food that peasants and fishermen cook everyday.

A few doors down you can eat cake and carry on at Treacle (it’s so fat it has to take up three spots, found at no.110-12) it describes itself as an homage to the gritty times of the great British tea house and it is just that. No frills attached fairy cake heaven.

But if it’s sweets that hark back to the golden age that you crave, hop down to no. 130 and step back in time with Sherbet Fountains and Kola Kubes. Suck and Chew is the place to spend a bit of pocket money (those were the days).

What makes Columbia Road so special is the feeling of walking in the footsteps of thousands of people gone by, and Lee’s Seafoods, no. 134, is no better place to experience this. It’s here where, in the late 1800s, you could pick up boots and cabinets, and as the century turned so did the shop’s purpose, as a pie and mash restaurant drew in the locals; but since World War II fish has been the order of the day (and it’s here to stay). Here’s where you’ll catch the world-famous fried tiger prawns and calamari that have been a market staple for over 15 years.

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On your bike…

The history continues a few paces down at no. 138, home to a family business that’s in its third generation of serving bagels, from smoked salmon and cream cheese to crayfish tails with cream cheese and rocket, all devoured in the courtyard at the back – Café Columbia is a Columbia road institution (it’s in the name).

It's a sunny sunflower day

It’s a sunny sunflower day

And before you head home, armed with bouquets (well someone’s got to fill your empty vase, right?) and plants you can’t fit on your London-sized balcony, hydrate yourself at The Columbia Road Juice Company, squeezed into a neat little slot offering fresh juices, extra ginger (lush) and green teas.

Columbia Road Flower Market | London E2 7RG

Every Sunday, come rain or shine…

Opening hours: 8am-3pm(ish)

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