Whether it’s for a caffeine fix, a lazy street food lunch, a sunny early evening drink, or a handmade gift, Leyton Street Food Market seems to have it all – and it doesn’t involve a tube journey to get there. Hurrah.
You can browse and buy from around 30 stalls arranged in two circles around the bandstand in the middle of the gardens. Set back from the main road, surrounded by trees and with many stalls under red and white striped canvas, the market has a surprisingly villagey vibe, given its location.
The stalls are run by a mixture of well-established and brand new traders, many of whom live not more than a couple of miles away. There’s food you can eat now and food to take home and enjoy later, plus stalls selling arts and crafts from local artists and makers. With a DJ playing a retro vinyl soundtrack and a bar serving up beer, cider, wine and cocktails, the weekly bash has a laidback stay-all-day garden party feel.
However, not long afterwards, a Muga Pizza customer mentioned Coronation Gardens as a possible market venue and “two business plans and a lot of lonely nights in Barkingside library later,” Leyton Street Food Market was born.
There’s space for up to 70 stalls, and a mix of regular, occasional and brand new traders so even if you visit every week, there’s always something new to discover.
The plan is for the market to run year round, “with a question mark over January and February at this point,” says Steve. It will change with the seasons: there are already ideas for Oktoberfest and a winter wonderland and, from this weekend, expect Victorian games such as a coconut shy and hoopla.There have been issues to deal with along with way, such as the moat that forms around the bandstand on rainy days, and a petition against the market getting an alcohol license, both now sorted. “There’s always going to be something,” says Steve, with a smile. “Last weekend we found a Pokémon over by the Chiang Mai stall.”
So whether you’re after pizza or a Pokémon, this is surely a weekend Must Do. As Steve says: “Going to an outdoor market is my favourite day out: eating, drinking and buying lovely produce, there probably are other great days, but that’s the one for me.” Couldn’t agree more.
And if you need one more reason to go tomorrow? It’s their big summer festie, with all the usual food stalls plus live music all day in the gardens (10am-630pm) featuring The Swingles, Silk Street Singers, Beatbox Collective, The Reggae Choir and more.
Find Leyton Street Food Market in Coronation Gardens every Saturday between 9am and 5pm. The festival this weekend will run a little later. Keep up to date with all the LSFM news here @LeytonFood