Wednesday, 10 October 2007

More reasons to love South East London

"Do i need any more?", I hear you cry,"You had me with the Rosendale. I've already spoken to Foxtons and they've told me to get out of Islington, and fast! They've even offered me one of their fashionable little Minis to whisk me round some terribly bijou neighbourhood, what's it called again? oh yes. Honor Oak Park, that's it. SE23 or something. Sounds just perrrrrrrrrrfect. I'm sure I can convince Tabitha, Blabitha, and Shabitha to move too. Sorry dahling, i've got to go and help Oscar with his colouring in. You'd think as a 40 year old corporate lawyer he'd have mastered Crayola by now..."

What's that got to do with the price of fish? Not much I admit. It's just a clumsy segueway between this and the last post. But as an exercise I thought I'd go and compare the price of fish at Borough Market with my local SE London Fishmonger, FC Soper of Nunhead. Everyone loves Borough Market. It's a foodie heaven after all, and just 10 minutes on the train from chez moi. You can't help but get a rush of endorphins just walking around the place, seeing fresh produce stacked high on tables, aged wing ribs of beef, and cascading displays of fish.

What's more, as an unemployed loafer, I'm now able to saunter around on the relatively calm days of Thursday and Friday and avoid the hell that is Saturday. Joy. Of course the downside of unemployment is a distinct lack of dollar to buy any of this stuff so I just have to lasciviously eye up the meat like a Ben Sherman-ed 19 year old on the pull in Kudos nightclub, Watford.

Food at Borough is beautiful, but it comes at a premium. I wonder just what that premium is?

Seeing as I was after some Red Mullet, I thought I'd compare fish prices between Borough and Sopers, my local fishmonger which is also recommended by none other than Jay Rayner. Armed with my digital camera I took some pictures so I could note all the prices quickly.

Some examples

Red Mullet

Borough - £18.50 per kilo
Sopers - £8.00 per kilo

Lemon Sole

Borough - £16.00 per kilo
Sopers - £11.60 per kilo


Borough - £29.00 per kilo
Sopers - £18.50 per Kilo


Borough - £6.90 per kilo
Sopers - £4.65 per kilo

Skate Wings

Borough - £15.00 per kilo
Sopers - £9.50 per kilo

That's a pretty big premium to pay, in some cases over 100%, for the privilege of getting your fish from Borough market. So what makes Borough fish so special? Is it transfered to port in a multimillion pound Sunseeker yacht, sipping vintage Krug in a saltwater jacuzzi? Does it arrive in London in a stretch limo with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton for company? Or is it just shrewdly priced by a fishmonger who understands the cashed up market he's selling to?

Food sold at Borough Market is as much about the packaging as the raw ingredients, and by packaging I don't mean plastic wrapping or paper bags. I mean that Borough Market itself is the packaging, a premium brand, and a place to be seen that bestows additional credibility on wannabe foodies. On the other hand, spend an hour buying veggies at the countless african stalls on Peckham High Street and you'll return home a lot richer but without the "status" that shopping at Borough bestows. Strangely I feel slightly guilty writing this, like I'm slagging off the Queen to monarchists, Shoreditch House to media whores, or Boujis to It Girls and Eurotrash.

It becomes clear I've been sucked in by the Borough Market brand too and I guess I'll continue to go there and pay over the odds in order to feel smug at being able to find yellow tomatoes and 2 foot wide puffball mushrooms. hurrah!

Cornish Red Mullet with a Yellow Tomato Sauce Vierge


Nunhead Mum of One said...

As a Nunheadian I love Sopers and would choose it over Borough Market any day. and not just because it's five minutes walk away as opposed to three quarters of an hour in the car!

Lizzie said...

I just came across your blog from Ros at Living to Eat - as a fellow south east londoner who used to live in Brockley, I'm gutted I didn't discover this blog sooner to make the most of Sopers!

Anonymous said...

Nowadays to hire limousine becomes easier and cheaper.
You should just follow some tips about limousine London :
• Always compare prices in relation with the expected service.
• Always check out the year (2-3 years old are the best), make and model of the cars.
• Do not be tricked by the price of the advertisements, as many companies hide extra prices.
• The most simple and standardized limousine service will have the limo, driver and beverages.
• When it comes to the driver, make sure that the service provider will provide a uniformed driver with proper license and experience.
• Did you know that many companies operate without insurance? Ask for details about insurance of the limousine you have interest in hiring.
• Always read the Limousine hire terms and conditions of the companies, so you don't have unpleasant surprises.

Pete said...

Wow, Misha, thanks for your comment. It's just so, er, useful!

Anonymous said...

Hello. Had a great pizza experience last night at PIZZA EAST. Run by the Shoreditch House people. Unusually excellent service, great decor and simple menu. Hopped on the train from peckham to London Bridge then a quick bus up there. Highly recommend it. Nearly as good as Franca Manca in Brixton.

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