09 Jul Lower Marsh Street Food
Festival season is upon us! With this comes a plethora of food stalls tempting you into the sun-drenched streets. This month head over to the Waterloo Food Festival where you can find tons of exciting events (a cake lock-in?!), demonstrations and masterclasses. Lower Marsh Street’s food stalls will be a buzzing centre of these festivities. Conveniently placed alongside Waterloo station, this street market has been serving home cooked extravaganzas since 2014. Lower Marsh Street itself is already lined with plenty of diverse restaurants and cafes, and the stalls are no less variable – you can choose from Senegalese curries, sizzling burgers, South American arepas and corn breads to Japanese rice bowls and classic Italian pizzas.
Despite being over thirty degrees, the Nigerian curry stall looked too good to pass up. It’s run by two lovely ladies who also do the cooking themselves. I overheard one of them talking to a regular customer about how she added an extra scotch bonnet chilli the day before so in terms of chilli heat there’s a little bit of Russian roulette going on! That’s the beauty of home cooked meals though, I like that she changes it up every now and then. Plus there’s nothing better than hearing locals going back for more!
The menu has a good range whilst being concise and uncomplicated. One main and two sides costs £6, a good price for these with these decent sized portions. There is a choice of four mains – spicy beef stew, stewed chicken, deep fried hake steak and ayamase stew (the extra hot beef stew!). Sides include the classic jollof rice, spicy spinach, stewed beans, fried plantain and moin moin, a type of bean cake. You can have a veggie box for £5 that I presume consists of a larger amount of side dishes, which might sound sad but actually would be pretty delicious!
I decided on the stewed chicken with jollof rice and spicy spinach. You can choose between chicken on or off the bone. I tend to prefer on the bone as I think the flavour is better and the meat more succulent but I thought chicken breast might be easier to eat on the go. However the lady encouraged me to go for on the bone (one drumstick and one thigh) as it was super soft and falls off the bone without any pressure. Overall there was a gentle chilli heat, no stomach burning here! You can opt for a hot sauce too if that’s your thing. The jollof rice was incredible, brilliantly fluffy and not too heavy on the tomato. The dish was seasoned well, neither salty nor oily and the marinated chicken had great depth of flavour.
I love trying African cuisines at street markets and the Nigerian food here was no exception – tasty, healthy and fulfilling home cooking. There is such a broad range of fascinating street foods that you will be able to sample a different one each day and not get bored! Perfect weekday lunch material ?
Total receipt: £6
1x stewed chicken
1x jollof rice
1x spicy spinach
Rating: 8/10 Nigerian nirvana