Southbank Centre's Winter Market: Meet the Traders

Friday, December 8, 2017 - 16:03

In a series of wooden chalets lining the Queen’s Walk at Southbank Centre you’ll find our Winter Market – a twinkling, festive stretch of interesting food, drink and gift stalls. But do you ever wonder who is behind the counters and how they ended up making they things they sell?

We’ve profiled a handful of our brilliant traders to give you an insight into what inspired them – from beautiful lighting and homewares, to a couple of our delicious food stalls. But this is just a tiny selection what you can find there every day until 30 December (except Christmas day, of course).

William & Watson

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William & Watson sells beautiful lighting – pieces that not only illuminate a room, but become a talking point in themselves, and light bulbs that are too beautiful to hide behind a lampshade.

Founder Kaveh Tajadod grew up in Scandinavia, and says this influenced his interest in interior design. He moved to London 10 years ago to study and ended up staying.

William & Watson got started at the end of 2013. “My business partner and I saw some decorative Edison bulbs abroad and fell in love with them. We couldn’t find anything similar here in the UK, so we found a way of producing our own and started an online business, and got more and more into it.”

The philosophy of the business is to create custom-made lighting and decorative, aesthetically pleasing bulbs that people want to look at. “Our focus is to create a nice atmosphere in the spaces where most people spend their leisure time, at home in their lounge, dining room and bedroom; and in cafes etc.”

It’s worth visiting the stall while you’re here, as William & Watson really do offer products that you won’t see in traditional lighting shops, with experienced staff who can advise you on technical aspects. Also they offer the option to customise everything from the fittings and cable colours, to the design of the bulb, so you can create the perfect look for you or the lucky recipient.

William & Watson

Parm Star

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Depending where you’re from, the dishes known as ‘parmo’, ‘parm’ and ‘parmi’ will be a totally new experience, or – especially if you grew up around Teesside, certain parts of Australia or in the north-eastern United States – no mystery at all.

For the uninitiated, the parmo is a dish that originated in Teeside. It consists of a fried chicken escalope topped with béchamel sauce and melted cheese, often served with a pot of garlic sauce. If that sounds appealing, get yourself to Parm Star at our Winter Market and break your parmo cherry. If you’re homesick for Middlesbrough then this might go some way to helping. Parmi is an Australian variation, which you can also try at Parm Star, as well as parm – otherwise known as chicken parmigian.

Parm Star is the first street food company to take parmo nationwide. Founded by John Coulson (from Teesside) and Lisa Cheung (a Londoner), this is a food business committed to taking an everyday dish and elevating it to something else. “We prep all our chicken by hand, make all our own cooking sauces from scratch and fry all our chicken to order,” says John. “Serving a quality product is the main thing for us and we’re always tweaking recipes to try to further improve our food.”

Linda and John started trading in 2015, getting one of their first jobs after the meeting the founders of GRUB in Manchester and trading at a beer festival they organised. So it is appropriate that opposite Parm Star under Hungerford Bridge you can find The Hop Locker, a bar dedicated to selling great beers. They make the perfect accompaniment to the mighty parmo.

Parm Star

Boske

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Homewares, illustrations and jewellery all inspired by the natural world are what you will find at Boske. Everything here has been designed and either hand-drawn or hand-crafted by owner Katarzyna Typek. She studied interior design in her native Poland and earned a designer-maker qualification in London, but has never stopped doing what she truly loves – drawing, which she says “was always in my blood”.

On sale at her Southbank Centre Winter Market stall are a range of beautiful placemats, coasters and illustrations, created using acrylic paints for vibrant colour, and pen for intricate detail. They feature a huge choice of designs, including birds, florals and even a dachshund print.

More recently, Kat has moved into jewellery, and at her stall you will also find necklaces, earrings and bracelets, ranging from delicate leaf designs to statement pieces.

“I got into it by accident,” she says of this new facet of her business. “I like to wear unique jewellery, so I asked myself ‘why not make my own, using my artwork?’. Now I have jewellery that I love to wear and which lets me see other people having a tiny piece of my art.”

Boske on Etsy

Curry On

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Head east along the Queen’s Walk to find Curry On – one of our brilliant Winter Market food stalls, serving up delicious warming food combining Mauritian and British influences.

Curry On was founded four years ago by Max Onyskiw, who previously worked for Jamie Oliver. He was inspired by the food of his mother, who is from Mauritius, and fond memories of eating curry and chips growing up.

On the menu are a spicy chicken bhuna, a creamy chicken korma, and a mushroom pepper korma topped with crispy aubergine bhaji (suitable for vegans), all served on golden fries tossed with garlic and coriander. True carb fans will have a hard time saying no to the offer of a crispy, ghee-smothered paratha on the side.

To say the venture has been successful is an understatement – The Evening Standard included Curry On on its list of the best curries in London, alongside names such as Dishoom and Gymkhana.

“My mother passed me the family recipes from her mother, my Grand Memeh, who turned 100 this year,” says Max of the origins of his food. But don’t ask him to share them with you: “Sorry, the Curry On recipes are a closely guarded secret. If we let any of those slip we’d get excommunicated,” he jokes.

Curry On Food

Southbank Centre Winter Market

Southbank Centre’s Winter Market is open daily until Saturday 30 December (except Christmas day), from 11am – 10pm Sunday to Thursday and until 11pm on Friday and Saturday. There are loads more stalls to browse, including interesting gift ideas, a large range of street food, mulled wine and craft beers.