Deptford Market Yard: An all-new shopping destination in support of small businessesCulture
The latest addition to the East London scene was opened to the public yesterday evening at the Deptford Market Yard – an old lot newly transformed into a buzzing hub for local social and commercial activity. The launch night was pleasantly busy with DJs spinning retro disco-funk sounds into the crisp autumnal air.
Blissfully unmarred by excessive Christmas decorations, the small pedestrian street lent itself to a dozen or so quaint boutiques nestled under the neat brick arches of Deptford Rail Station. There were a few street food stands refreshingly low on choices (for those who lose all their confidence in front of a food menu), with rather innovative flavours such as halloumi fries with pomegranate seeds and crushed mint. One of the highlights was the Vietnamese Duck and Pork Burger by Bill or Beak, a slowly braised, juicy meat burger that tasted something like a soothing broth with delicate spice to it in a delicious sesame-topped brioche bun.
Clothing brands like Plain Bear and Childsdraw drew uninspiringly upon the recent explosion of minimalism in fashion, with only a framed drawing here, a mirror there for decoration and simple monochrome clothes with occasional art designs on them laid out on plain white tables – all well and good, but becoming somehow predictable. Gitas Portal, an ethnic-inspired clothing brand, captivated attendees for a good ten minutes with a catwalk exhibiting their bold African patterns and styles made with high-quality materials.
The English Flowerhouse was impossible to ignore – a plant and flower shop with impeccably arranged bouquets and unbelievable UK-sourced potted plants spilling out onto the pavement in an explosion of greenery in the midst of industrial London. It was like walking through a museum, with signs like “do not touch” and “no photos please” frustratingly displayed in the one place you’d want to immortalise the most. A 75-year-old cactus was going for about £450. Antique enthusiasts may want to branch out!
Drink flowed aplenty, notably under two arches gorgeously converted into a quirky bar called Little Nan’s, toying with the irony of a boozer decorated with old lady paraphernalia and boozy cocktails served in a teacup. The service was not particularly quick or enthusiastic and the menus a little difficult to find and decipher, but the décor certainly gave off its own vibe. It would have been nice to have a functioning lock on the lavatory door, although the look on countless people’s faces as they unwittingly tried to access the toilet may have been worth the inconvenience.
The Deptford Market Yard is highly reminiscent of our time. Oddities abound, and a weathered Londoner may well ask him- or herself, “what will these kids come up with next?” (see Archie’s Bar, specialising in posh grilled cheese). The East London crowd came out in full costume last night with their pale make-up, skinny jeans, platform boots and geometric designs. These are the fashions future generations will look back upon with misty eyes while contemporaries hang their heads in shame.
Deptford Market Yard is at 133 Deptford High Street, London SE8 4NS, for further information visit here.