Brrrrrr, isn’t it so bloody cold?! I am moanng because I am being punished for my presumptuousness. So, what did I get wrong this time? Well, I made the mistake of swapping my winter wardrobe to the spring’s straight after the Easter holidays. The weather was truly lovely at the beginning of the April, warm sunshine and the temperature soaring to mid-twenties, etc. However, the cold air from the Arctic decided to return over the British Isles and the weather had turned to wintry again. The sad thing is I make the same error every year and find myself having to suffer for a week or more in inadequate clothings. But who can blame me? My desire for wanting to shed all those heavy woolly outfits at the first sign of the Spring is so strong and it simply overrides my common sense! I sincerely hope the present weather system will be shooed off by the warm Mediterranean cousin very soon so I can turn off central heating and cast away my Uniqlo fleece jacket which seems to have become my second skin at home…
This cold spell also influences my choice for what to eat when I am out and about. Instead of reaching for a box of salad, I yearn something warm and comforting.
And I had been intrigued by the pop-up shop near Exit 1 at Old Street station for quite a while…
Old Street underground station is definitely not one of those modern and smart show-case stations like London Bridge or Westminster. It is rather grey and even a little neglected. The passage walls sport calcified water damage marks and the tiles are missing from them here and there. And the state of the damages indicates that those defects have been left to decay for years. However until 10 years ago, the station was even more depressing and grotty. A mixture made up with revellers to the clubland of Hoxton/Shoreditch, aggressive ticket touts and drug addicts used to loiter around the ticket hall. And it did not make an attractive sight. The forbidding atmosphere definitely made me quicken the pace so I could get away from the station which resembled a den.
Then came 2011, the neighbourhood around the station metamorphosed into Silicon Roundabout – a hub of Tech industries, thanks to Google which open Google Campus on nearby Bonhill Street. The transformation also became a catalyst for cleaning up the antisocial activities within the station and energising the retail area. Now, decorative shrubs are placed in the ticket hall and the retail units which used to be vacant are being let out to host various pop-up shops.
Bone & Broth is a typical pop-up shop which depicts the undertone of the Tech City tribe – their desire for being innovative and wholesome. The information savvy crowd are no longer excited by freshly press juice or low-carb muffins, but very much intrigued by this special “broth”. The people behind the venture claims their broth is made from slowly cooked roasted bone and packed with nutrients such as vitamin, collagen, amino acids, keratin and minerals. Sounds great, doesn’t it? So I decided to try this elixir of wellness myself.
On the shelves, there were three gigantic thermos flasks which kept three different kinds of broth warm. ‘Would you like beef or chicken? Or vegetarian broth?’ I explained to a smiley staff behind the counter that it was my first visit and I wanted to sample their beef broth.
She filled up a small cup with ivory white liquid and handed it to me. ‘You can add some flavour to it too. We have chilli, spring onion and ginger’.
Slowly, I sipped the broth with ginger and a pinch of sea salt. The broth had a distinctive cooked beef smell, similar to roast beef. The flavour was surprisingly delicate and some may say it was a little too bland. The additional ginger gave a kick but chilli would have been a better choice as the stuff recommended. In the end, I opted for a cup of beef broth with ginger, spring onion and sea salt.
Wrapping my hand around a warm cup of broth was definitely agreeable on a cold afternoon. And if the broth was to do a load of good to my wellness, what not to like about it?
By the way, the pop-up at Old Street station is gone but their branches can be found at St Pancras station and also at Natural Kitchen on Marylebone High Street!