My dog Woofer is almost 14.
When I first held him at a puppy, he fit into my cupped together hands. I held him this way against my chest at just a few months old. Now he occupies most of my lap and all of my heart as he lays sleeping.
Age has left it’s fingerprints on him. Grey hairs and warts and an ugly scar. But his eyes are bright, his spirit leaps and bounds, I still see, in his eyes, the puppy he was back then.
Suddenly, I am a little sad as I watch him sleep and wonder how much more precious time we have. We are never given to know.. We can only make the most of what we have. I decide it’s time for an adventure the very next day.
Market Hall Oxford Street opens its doors with a special offer of 50 percent off. A walkies for Woofer and food for me. Fresh air and time spent together for us both! It sounds perfect.
London street food
in the last decade street food has become incredibly popular. The tasty revolution began with the likes of Street Feast who combined food with bars and DJ sets to make street food the new cool. Kerb brought it to London’s streets and markets and still nurture new talent. Now there are more street food markets and food halls than you can shake a stick at or maybe that should be a fork?
What is Market Hall Oxford Street
This is the latest London food hall to to spring up and offer hungry Londoners yummy street food. As the name suggests this is on Oxford street. They own another, Market Hall Victoria and Market Hall Canary Wharf ( coming soon )
Market Hall Oxford Street can seat 430 hungry people, has 2 bars, and 8 street food vendors. Oh I wish I had an expandable belly to try all 8 in one sitting but alas not. I am travels with belly not expandable belly.
Street food vendors at Market Hall Oxford Street
- Le Bab – Mordern gormet Kebabs
- Baoliznn – Dim sum and Noodles
- Inamo Sokushi – Sushi and fusion Japanese food
- DF Tacos – Tacos and Tex-Mex
- Gopals – Malaysian street food
- Pasta Evangelist – hand made Italian pasta dishes
- Chick Chick Crew – Chickens. They got em.
- Hot Box – American style BBQ
Strangely there didn’t seem to be any coffee or tea options unless the bar served them? I didn’t see anything but then I didn’t look too closely.
As with most stories, it’s best to start at the beginning.
It’s forecast to be a bright day but the sky seems uncertain. You never can tell what the weather will do here in the UK. Even entering the bluest sun drenched day you are entering the rain lottery. All bets are off. No picnic or BBQ is guaranteed.
Woofer trots next to me happily unknowing what adventure awaits him. This isn’t going to be the usual walkies. Oh no. My back pack has his needs: water, bowl, and snacks. He stops every few steps to take a good sniff of something.
The train to London Charing Cross Station
Woofer knows the way. He bounces up the stairs that lead to the train station like crazed bunny. It’s good to see him still have so much energy. I wish I had this much energy. He reaches the mid way point and looks at me. His human plods behind.
Woofer sits next to me on the train. He furry body warm. I stroke his head as he eyes the outside with longing. He wants to be outside again. Now he must endure the hell of sitting down. This isn’t going to be easy! I play the doggy version of “are we there yet”. Each time the train stops at a station and the doors swish open his body prepares to leap! “Not yet,” I say each time.
We exit Charing Cross station and into the heart of central London. We head left. Actually the name Charing Cross has a wonderfully romantic origin. When Eleanor of Castille ( the wife of King Edward 1st ) died he was so stricken with grief that he built 12 memorial crosses across England. As romantic gestures goes that one is going to be difficult to top! Check out here if you want more details!
We walk up past Trafalgar Square, home of bronze lions and a lonely Nelson on his column. There is a myth that if Big Ben were to chime 13 times the lions would wake up… This is something I want to see. I hope they have some steak on standby just in case. I guess they would be pretty hungry!
Charing Cross Road
Woofer and I stroll up along Charing Cross Roads. Streets sprout off to the left. Down these streets you’ll find shops that have become lost and adrift in time and space, another London. Old books and maps and attire for gentlemen. This is a London that is vanishing slowly bit by bit. Swallowed to time.
I’ve always had a soft spot for this street. I don’t exactly know why. It’s at the tip of my tongue, just out of reach of my finger tips, at the edges of my mind. Maybe it’s because it’s so familiar, like a home coming. My first trips to London were along these streets. I’ve walked them so many times.
We cross the border into London Chinatown. We skirt the red painted edge. Dragons glare from shop windows. Lanterns hang brightly swinging as the breeze touches them softly.
An occasional stone dragon eyes Woofer with unease. Guardians do not like to be peed on. It’s just not dignified. My favourite thing, apart from the delicious food, of course, is the scent. Chinatown has it’s own particular smell. It promises adventures in taste and travel and dreams of another world far from here.
We leave the dragons and magnificent gates ( paifang ) behind and enter into Soho: delicious and musical with an edgy saucy past.. The clouds have cleared now to reveal deep pools of blue and sunlight splashes the streets.
I pass by restaurants and cafes full of temptations but I have my sights on Market Hall Oxford Street! And besides, Woofers are not welcomed in the restaurants here.
Woofer and I spill into the broad avenue that is Oxford Street. I’ve always felt this street is one of the most over rated London attractions. It’s always choked with cars and people, not particularly attractive and has little that’s worthy of visiting or seeing. It’s mostly just full of typical high street shops that you can find anywhere in the UK.
But we are close now. We people dodge and Woofer does ghost wee wees on historical buildings having long drained the last of his reserves! Still a ghost wee is probably better than no wee and I am sure the buildings are happy that it’s phantom pee rather than actual pee.
Market Hall Oxford Street
STAIRWAY TO FOOD HEAVEN” shouts the text in call caps, white on black, next to a set of stairs. Well, I certainly don’t want to die to get in and assume this isn’t a requirement since there are no angels with flappy wings to greet me.
Woofer leads the way and is already bouncing up the steps. He has a sensitive nose and so doesn’t need signs to shout at him. He is already on the way to food heaven. I follow him with less bouncing.
The space is bright and vast. Tables cluster around the vendors stands like mushrooms. It’s also empty save for a few people scattered here and there. Despite apparently being open from 11 ( now 11:40 ) there is no sign of any of the vendors being ready to serve food. This is some odd meaning of the word open that I’m unaware of.
I take a quick loop around the stalls mulling over my choices before finding a table next to the window. I provide woofer with ammunition for his pee pee ( water bowl ) and some of the snacks I brought with me to give him.
I wait as people trickle in to hunt in packs of lone wolf for lunch. While I wait, I connect to the free WiFi network which isn’t connected to any internet…
I feel like I’ve overplayed my waiting game. The Market Hall is now packed! I’ve chosen Baoliznn as my first port of call. I am now very hungry and mentally wishing away the long line of people in front of me.
Baoliznn offers quite a long menu for such a small space. There are various bowls of tempting sounding noodles, soups and broths, and a selection of steamed dim sum items. It’s the dumplings that catch my eye: Chengdu prawn Jaiozi. I give the guy my order and he gives me a vibrator. Which is to say it’s a flat square that buzzes.
30 minuets go by with no buzzing. I go and check to see if the guy has forgotten me. He checks my order and assures me that it’s on the way. I am not forgotten! He forgot me, right? 10 more minuets and I am buzzed. The dumplings have summoned me!
I come back to my table with my prize. Woofer is interested, his nose sniffing the air. His lost and hungry puppy face stares up with me. His eyes pleading. Instead of offering him a chilli laden dumpling… I give him a fat meaty lamb stick!
The dumplings sit in a white bowl. The bright yellow jiaozi are plump and inviting half moons sitting in a pool of almost fluorescent chilli oil I have a small pot of vinegar & soy sauce. They smell enticing.
I dig in with my chop sticks to capture one of the slippery jiaozi dumplings. The wrappers are thin and soft but not overly. The prawn filling is juicy and flavourful. However, I am disappointed with the lack of spice. If I order Sichuan food I am expecting a delightful heat but here there’s nothing.
The dumplings are enjoyable despite the lack of heat. I’ll give them 3/5 bellies. I would order something else from the menu based on my experience.
I choose this stand mostly because the line is not as horrendous as the others. I’ve already spent so long at Market Halls Oxford Street, way longer than I intended. I can feel myself ageing.
I decide to go for the DF nachos: pinto beans, sour cream, cheese sauce, avocado salsa and “mexican siracha” whatever the hell that is.. I also can’t resist the temptation of churros! Especially when they come dusted with sugar, dulce de leche, chocolate sauce, and coconut brittle! Who can resist it?! Nobody!!!
Once again the service was slow. We may never solve many mysteries. Are we alone in the universe? Is there a God? Is Elvis a space alien? Why does it take forever to put some crisps in a box and put topping on them?
The nachos were kind of a disappointment. Nachos should be a saucy cheesy mess. This felt almost… well, healthy. There seemed too little of everything. It looks pretty but lacks flavour. The tortilla chips were dry and hard. I feel like if I sharpened one it could do some damage. 2/5 bellies
The churros were wonderfully warm, gooey, sticky, pile of naughtiness. Not the greatest actual churros themselves but so good smothered in sweet sauce and freshly pulled from the fryer – still warm. So comforting. So naughty. 4/5 bellies.
Goodbye Market Hall and hello Cavendish Square
I really wanted to give Woofer a bit more time outside but now it’s getting late. I heard to a small and beautiful garden square lit with the last goldening lights of the sun. Woofer enjoys a nice sniff and greeting a few other dogs.
We head for home both starting to feel a little tired. Woofer rests his head on my knee as the train clatters homeward bound. Doggy cuddles are the best. It’s been a good day. There’s been good food and the best company.
How to get to Market Hall Oxford Street
How to get there?
You can take the mainline train into Charing Cross and then walk from there as I did in this post. The nearest underground station ( metro ) stop is Oxford Circus ( closest ) or Bond Street. It’s also served by many busses: 453, 12, 139, 159
Opening Times for Market Hall Oxford Street
When is it open?
The hall is open 7 days a week from early till late!
- MONDAY11:00 – 22:00
- TUESDAY11:00 – 22:00
- WEDNESDAY11:00 – 23:00
- THURSDAY11:00 – 23:00
- FRIDAY11:00 – 23:00
- SATURDAY11:00 – 23:00
- SUNDAY11:00 – 22:30
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