Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Country Kitchen Bakery, Wakefield Market

Continuing on the market related theme, what has become of Wakefield market? From what I recall the indoor market was always a bit dull, and now it's just a bit dull in a nice new building.

The outdoor market however was a different matter. Quite large, and always lively with a slightly raffish air, particularly in the far corner where there was a sort of mini funfair section. This had a couple of rubbish rides, a few vans selling doughnuts and burgers, and plenty of youths hanging around. For a short while in my mid-teens I spent every Saturday operating the kiddies roundabout in return for £12 a day and a burger. What I remember most about this is the lingering smell of cheap cigarettes, stale fat and sweating onions. That and the sound of screaming kids who couldn't quite cope with all the excitement that forty pence could provide on a damp afternoon in Wakey. That and the fact that I had to push the roundabout to get it going otherwise the ancient motor would burn out.

As you've probably realised by now, this isn't going to turn into eulogy for the lost wonders of Wakefield market. Given the not particularly fond memories recollected above I'm actually quite glad they eventually bulldozed the lot and built a shopping centre on top of it.

What is disappointing is that the Council didn't see fit to bother with much of a replacement. The new outdoor market consists of a few stalls squeezed into the gap between the new indoor market and the Bus Station, with the new foodhall at the back of the stalls. Both seem to have plenty of vacant space despite being much smaller than the old market place. Where did all the other traders go?

The outcome is that there isn't a proper outdoor market place in Wakefield anymore, it was essentially designed out in the process of redevelopment. Which is a shame.

So, in an even more roundabout way than usual, to the original purpose of this post. In the little foodhall you will find the Country Kitchen Bakery, where for the price of a crap sandwich at many other places you can get a decent quality hot meal. With bread. And a drink. £2.95 is what a large bowl of beef stew, a basket of buttered (well alright marged) bread and a steaming mug of tea cost me. While not the finest stew I've ever tasted it was flavoursome, nourishing and obviously made from scratch with fresh ingredients.

This is why markets are always worth investigating, and are always worth supporting and saving. In amongst the rubbish there are always some hidden gems selling great produce, or cooking good food, and almost always at a better price than anywhere else.


Country Kitchen Bakery
Wakefield Market Foodhall
Union Street


Unknown said...

I disagree with your comments about the new market, but I'm biased.... Wakefield Markets are trying their best... I won't throw my toys out of the pram in this comment on it. Glad you came to the market and had some grub - please try the other places, and on a Saturday the farmers market too.

Dave said...

Hi Rach, if my post came across as criticism of efforts to make the current market a success that wasn't my intention.

My criticism is that the outdoor market wasn't really replaced properly in the first place, e.g. a planning/redevelopment decision must have been made at some stage that the size of the outdoor market could be drastically reduced. This is what seems a shame to me, although I don't know what the reasons were for this. It may be that many of the traders on the old market weren't doing good business anyway and a larger space couldn't be justified.

I was down there the other Saturday so saw the farmers market stalls - obviously a good addition. I'll definitely be back to try some of the other food places too.

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