Today is one of those rarest posts and rarest occasions: a night out without the kids! And as a dedicated lover of food carts, junk food, and cocktails, there was no better place to go than the Junkyard Market in Norwich, which started as a pop-up and is now a permanent feature in the city. The junkyard is an open-air food market where you can sample cocktails and where stalls selling street food advertise their wares, then it is delivered (covid-safety in force) to your table. The street food stalls change on a regular basis (with new ones announced via the website and Facebook before each weekend), so you can visit the Junkyard Market every weekend and eat something different every time.
Tickets for the next weekend go on sale on a Monday evening, and the cost of the ticket is deducted from your bill (meaning, effectively that there is no cost for the tickets). The market is hosted in sessions (lunchtime, afternoon, and two evening times) and you are allocated two hours per slot: if it’s not busy though (in the afternoon/lunchtime sessions, for example) you can stay longer, which we managed to take advantage of on Saturday afternoon.
The first thing you notice about the place is its cool, industrial, styling. Even the toilets are photo-worthy! Much of the decor around the site has been made from junk, and I especially loved the palm trees made from worn-out tyres. It was hard to take photos of everything because covid rules meant that once you were in your seat, you had to stay seated wherever possible. But there was stuff to see literally everywhere. To keep things covid-safe, you ordered your food and drinks to your table via an app, and they were delivered by mask-clad waiting staff. I choose to order from ‘The Mac Factory’ and opted for ‘The Posh Spice’ which was a classic Mac and Cheese topped with chorizo, harrisa, fried onions and a parmesan crumb: this cost £8.50. It was so delicious that I haven’t stopped thinking about it since: rich and creamy, with the right blend of textures and a welcome crunch in every mouthful.
To drink we indulged our inner kids and opted for ‘adult’ strawberry slushes topped with white rum. (£8). And my friend opted for a chicken box from ‘Only Jerkin’ with was covered in a spicy gravy and looked delicious.
The atmosphere was great, and there was a live DJ, which was a nice touch, given dancing is pretty much universally banned in the UK right now (it’s like living Flash Dance). You are seated on banquette-style tables either under marquee tents or out in the sunshine: as the sun was shining, we decided to sit outside and soak it up.
Although I’ve written this as a child-free experience (because we left the kids at home) there were plenty of children (and grown-ups, babies and even dogs) in the tents during the afternoon, so it’s suitable for everyone! I actually think the kids would have really enjoyed the cool and laid-back feel of the place, as well as the opportunity to indulge their own inherited love of junk food!
The Junkfood Market started as a pop-up during lockdown when people couldn’t meet indoors, but it has turned into a success story, and has recently been awarded permission to stay in the city on a permanent basis. If you’re spending any time in Norwich this summer then I definitely recommend you check it out!