If Holcombe Road Market feels a bit different from other markets popping up in Tottenham, there’s a reason for that: it’s been around for nearly 100 years.
A long-awaited revamp (the money for which had been pledged all the way back in 2012) saw new paving, parking, stalls and signage installed.
But the century-old charm is still there.
Closed since May, it re-opened officially last Saturday.
A jazz band and face-painters greeted shoppers at the Tottenham High Street entrance (across from Bruce Grove station). It was bustling, and the new layout looked great.
At Thompson’s Seafood (‘If it swims we sell it. When closed gone fishing’), people shouted their orders for jellied eels, dressed crabs and pretty much any type of fish you can imagine.
A steady stream of people filed in and out of Hall’s Greengrocers.
“The new market looks amazing and we’ve had an overwhelming response from local residents,” said Dave Hall, who runs the greengrocers.
“Hopefully this will be the start of the next successful chapter in our family-run business which has been trading in Tottenham for approaching a century.”
The two new stalls, and the ones with seating, Prestige Patisserie and Reggae Village, were full but I managed to jostle my way in and speak to their owners.
Rows and rows of cakes lined the counter at Prestige Patisserie, where owner Geanina was full of smiles.
“What can I say? Seeing my dream come true is unbelievable,” she said.
“I worked for seven years as a head pastry chef and I’ve been baking since I was 12 years old – it’s my passion. Now I have my own business. It’s amazing, really.”
At her stall you can find all the traditional offerings, like Black Forest. But there are also products of her own creation, like the best-selling nutmeg-soaked Yummy Honey Cake. Both at fantastic value.
“Everything is made at home from scratch. I do it all myself. I experiment with some flavours: everyone loves the base of my cheesecake, and I change the toppings. Every day it’s something else.”
We are planning to run a full story on Prestige soon, but for now, if you’re looking for Christmas treats (custom cakes run from fifteen to nineteen pounds), you better get your orders quick.
Next door, Reggae Village owner Shawn Douglas tells me he has been selling Caribbean food in Tottenham and Wood Green for years.
The proof is in the taste, and with the ‘Mix & Blend’ menu at just under four pounds you can try a little of everything: dumplings, sprat, jerk chicken, macaroni & cheese – you name it, they’ve got it.
But Reggae Village offers something else: fresh-made juice and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee – “the best coffee in the world,” says Shawn.
“It’s good to be here – it’s all local. Hall’s are our greengrocers, and Thompson’s supplies us fish. We all work together,” he adds. And the locals appreciate it.
If you’re looking for a traditional farmers market with a little something special, the new and improved Holcombe Market is the go-to place to satisfy your cravings.
Words by Nicole Val
Images by André Ainsworth