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Mexican

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of ignoring the rain and popping down to check out the inaugural Netil Sunday Market at Westgate Street, E8. As a Hackney resident, I’m pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to markets offering great food and Netil Market is no exception.  (http://netilmarket.tumblr.com/) It’s particularly nice to see a new market for a Sunday as at the moment, the majority of options in London are to be had on Saturday, which can make it difficult to get round them all! As the first week for the Sunday market, it was a little on the quiet side but there were good, happy vibes between the traders and the layout was great, with a little seating area in the middle of the market where we could enjoy the food.

The highlight for me came from Santana Mexican Grill, (www.twitter.com/Santanagrill) whose Mexican tacos were flavoursome and tasty.

From their appetising menu, I opted for one ‘Carnitas’ taco and one ‘Pollo Pivil,’ which provided a substantial meal for the £5 price. Out of the two, the house speciality, the Carnitas, was by far my favourite; the slow cooked pork was flavoursome with just the right balance between a warm spice and the fresh sala cilantro, onion and avocado. It was great to have tortillas that tasted so fresh and with so much going on inside yet perfectly well balanced flavours.  I oped for beans and chipotle sauce in my ‘Pollo Pivil’ taco, which gave it a very traditional Mexican taste alongside the Mayan Style chicken however, it was a bit trickier to eat than the pork and not quite as lively and full-on in flavour.

Although I have to admit, I’m not a real expert in traditional Mexican food, these fresh tacos made an excellent lunchtime treat. It’s clear how much care has gone into putting these flavours together and that’s one of the things that really makes Rury at Santana Mexican Grill stand out as a passionate and knowledgeable trader.

One of the new traders I’ve been hearing a lot about on the blog and Twitter grapevines is Spit and Roast, who sell roast and buttermilk-fried chicken from their deep green van.  (www.spitandroast.com) The large van lords over the compact market and certainly acts as a focal point; even if I hadn’t already been making an beeline for it, it’s difficult not to be drawn over to have a look- they were by far the most popular trader of the day, from what I saw.

As a fan of fried chicken, I couldn’t resist but opt for the buttermilk fried chicken, served with a traditional cornbread. The chicken itself was succulent with a good flavour (although slightly overshadowed by last week’s outstanding offering from a Label Anglais chicken at the Street Food Festival.) The batter had a great texture, crunchy and well-fried without being overdone or too greasy, a rare treat when it comes to fried chicken.  However, I have to admit that like others before me, I found the cornbread to be too dry and very sweet; I didn’t feel it added anything to the meal as it simply crumbled apart so I soon gave up and concentrated purely on the chicken.  Maybe it’s just that it’s not an accompaniment that I’m used to but personally, I think it let the meal down slightly…dare I sound like a heathen and say it would be better if it came with some great chips to make a fully satisfying meal?

The Netil Market is small but perfectly formed and offers a nice and easy way to sample some of London’s street food in action. It’s relaxing to stroll round, take a look and see what takes your fancy. Although I obviously have to choose each time and so only got to sample the two traders above, there was plenty more on offer so I’ll definitely be making regular visits to try the other stalls and it’d be great to see this market grow in visitor numbers over time and become another thriving hub of street food in London for lazy Sundays.

You can find Neil Market (@netilmarket), Santana Mexican Grill (@santanagrill) and Spit and Roast (@SpitandRoast) on Twitter.

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