There’s one thing in particular that made it a dead cert I’d head to KERB Camden when it opened this week: I’m a total sucker for a good Instagram picture. I’m far from alone from this, and you can call it voyeuristic or narcissistic or any other kind of -istic, but as a generation we love to keep an eye on what other people are doing and share what we’re up to. We love it even more than mums on Facebook love sharing baby photos or inspirational quotes. More than sexists love hounding women off Twitter. More than Thailand holidayers love using photos of themselves next to drug-addled tigers on Tinder to show how well-travelled they are. That’s how much we love posting photos of lattes and avocados and our own faces (this remains the best quote on selfies).
So as much I’ll roll my eyes at restaurants saying their food is “Instagrammable”, I’m happy to use social media to find new things and places. Which is exactly what happened with Blu Top ice cream (pictured above), which serves up ice cream cookie sandwiches slathered in sauce and lured me to the KERB Camden street food market launch.
I went for the ice cream, and I was not disappointed. We headed over to Blu Top as soon as we got there, sampling the carrot cake and raspberry shortbread ice creams, both of which almost made me overcome my gelato vs ice cream snobbery. It proved to be a wise move: later on in the evening, they ran out and had to close early, starting a trend of unanticipated demand that’s continued since the launch.
With more than 30 traders spanning myriad cuisines and diets, including fare for vegans and gluten-free-ers, it was hard to decide what to have next. More specifically, it was hard to decide how to approach it tactically so we’d be able to try loads of different things. It’s a hard cross to bear, but we got there in the end and headed to Camden Market regulars Toastits for some oh-so-trendy avocado toast. At other toastie street stalls, I’ve seen the bread covered with melted butter using a decorator’s paint brush, but here the food wasn’t so heavy. Super friendly ladies, delicious food…and I’ve got my eye on a goat’s cheese toastie for next time.
If you’re into pale ales and lagers, you’re well catered for at KERB. The bar, which was heaving all night, stocks a range of pale ales, and, of course, Camden Hells, as well as serving negronis and whisky and gingers. If that’s not what you fancy, you can grab a bottle of Half Hitch gin from their shop on the edge of the market.
Onward! To more carbs. As we retreated to a quieter area, away from the blaring DJ corner (thankfully not a permanent fixture) the smells coming from Yu Kyu, not to mention the sight of a guy ordering what looked remarkably like a chicken katsu burger, had me heading over nose first to check it out. Katsu is a lot of people’s standard order in Wagamama for a reason, but little additions here made it all the better. In the same corner, The Mac Factory called us. Cheesey, gooey sauce, cubes of chorizo, and a crumb topping – three big yeses and sure to be a hit in the colder months.
With top trouser buttons undone, we waddled over to what was, for me, one of the surprises of the night: Square Root Soda. A seasonal menu is always a winner in my eyes, and the tiny sip of rhubarb soda they managed to coax out of an empty pump for me to try had me convinced that if I’m not happy with the pale ale on offer, soda would be the way to go, which is quite the admission from someone who’d usually go, “But there’s BOOZE elsewhere, that’s an obvious choice”. The pomegranate and rose water was basically sippable Turkish delight (in a great way), and fitted nicely into the few nooks that all those carbs hadn’t filled in my tummy. I’ll be keeping a close eye on them as the seasons change, and nipping over for an ice cream float.
There was one thing I was disappointed with on the night: my stomach’s capacity. With so many traders it was impossible to give them all a go, although next time the method will be splitting everything in half to try more things. Next on the KERB Camden “must try” list: Club Mexicana, Crabbieshack, Fundi Pizza, and Ghetto Grillz. I’ll be the one in the elasticated waist.
You’ll find KERB at Camden Market, West Yard, seven days a week!