Even if you AREN’T a fan of cheese, get yourself down to Camden Market and check out some of the restaurants. From a cereal cafe to Voodoo Rays Pizza, there is something for everyone and it’s a sweet vibe too.
If you ARE a fan of cheese, I’ve got some very good news for you… you should get yourself down to Camden Market but don’t be worrying about which eatery to frequent. I’m going to be bold and get to the cheese part second….
The restaurant space itself is nestled in the stables on the side of the market and no holes have been barred with the decor. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just walked in to a swanky eatery in the middle of the city. Original exposed brickwork surrounds a large, square bar, that dominates the layout, with slick bar lighting to match. A massive 23 cheese menu takes a whole wall at one end, whilst at the other, the kitchen is behind a floor to ceiling glass panel, showcasing wines and huge blocks of cheese – not dissimilar to an authentic delicatessen.
I can’t say this is in keeping with the feel of the rest of the market, which is a real hodge podge of bits and bobs, in a good way. But that doesn’t matter as the music – an hodge podge of Kanye classics, Madness and even some Chic – makes up for that. It connects with the restaurant’s roots, a grilled cheese sandwich van, built from an old ice cream van, that tours festivals and food markets. Oh, and then there’s the individuality of the menu, complete individuality in fact, only the one word is needed, it doesn’t take a mastermind to guess which one….
But first the beer and the staff; bubbly, authentic and completely in keeping with the restaurant. The beer was spot on too… a refreshing Kernel Pale Ale, which was much needed when I began to eat.
Keep your napkin handy at all times as this is a seriously sticky and messy cheese experience. Apart from the London Burrata, which we went for first – a Mozzarella type cheese made in London (all are made in the UK) which is somehow actually refreshing with some sweet cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.
Next up was the Hay Smoked Tunworth, recommended by the waitress, with some beef dripping toast. Rich doesn’t begin to explain this sharing plate. Imagine baked camembert, but twice as thick, salty and strong. Tastewise sublime but too much cheese and toast, price wise at £18, you can’t help but feel a third smaller portion for 2/3 of the price would have worked better.
We were tempted to call it a day after that, but simply had to try one of the grilled cheese sandwiches and the Marmite Malakoff, a Romesco cheese infused with marmite. The Malakoff was all too much, very strong marmite taste in a strong, hard cheese, deep fried.
The grilled cheese sandwich however, a ‘Queso Chihuaha’ (Spelling may be completely wrong), stuffed with jalapeños and chorizo was absolutely phenomenal. Slightly less cheese centric, which made it less overwhelming and more succulent and completely enjoyable. The jalapeño and chorizo worked perfectly with the cheese and grilled sandwich – it was enough to make you realise why the van became so popular selling grilled cheese sandwiches. Both a good and a bad point to end the meal on.
Good because it made me realise why the place works so well and how it became so successful as a travelling food stand. Bad, because it also made me regret ordering such a huge Tunworth to share and not just going for a more affordable and perhaps enjoyable, Burrata followed by a grilled cheese sandwich. That made my meal too expensive and less enjoyable…
That being said, I would definitely recommend it; don’t go too bold with your order, enjoy the beer and the staff.
Unit 93, 94 Camden Stables, London NW1 8AP