05 Mar Minn’s Munchtime – St John’s Food Market
We all know and love Southbank Centre’s weekend food market, but it’s always good to have options! St John’s Church hosts a small selection of street food stalls on weekdays between 10am – 4pm. It’s particularly good for a ‘grab and go’ style lunch which is hot and freshly made. I’ll admit it’s not glamorous, but it does the job at an undeniably attractive price.
I visited on a Thursday lunchtime where they had four stalls available – one Japanese, one selling falafel, another with Lebanese food, and my choice which was pad thai. I opted for the veggie option, but they also serve halal chicken. As both the vendor and I lacked small change, I offered to pay £5 instead of £4.50 to save us running around searching for 50p.
The ingredients included tofu, spring onion, bean sprouts and thin flat rice noodles. On the side are lime, chilli flakes and peanuts which you add to suit your preferences. I was pleased to see him making the noodles fresh to order, so it wasn’t sitting around. Rice noodles can get notoriously gloopy and sticky if they’ve been left out too long.
For a veggie dish, it could have had more vegetables – it seemed to be vegetarian more by the obvious lack of meat rather than by the inclusion of any greens. The sauce was quite sweet which caters to a more western audience, similarly it was lacking in heat and sourness. I would definitely put more chilli flakes and ask for a few more lime wedges next time! Clearly it’s not the most authentic pad thai in the world, but it does have decent flavour, it’s fresh, and you’re provided with a filling portion for £4.50. Let’s face it, £4.50 for a big quick hot lunch is a rarity in London! Perhaps because I went on a chilly windy day I appreciated its warming qualities even more. Do pop your head around the gate if you have a similar craving, it’ll restore your comfort levels!
Rating: 6/10 Good for short on time, short on money!
Nearest venues: St John’s Church, 1901 Arts Club, The Warehouse, Southbank Centre
Receipt: 1x vegetarian pad thai £4.50
St John’s Church, 73 Waterloo Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8TY
Food market hours: Monday – Friday 10-4pm