borough market, london
Borough Market is THE place for foodies in London. The market is simply a huge open air shed a stone’s throw from Waterloo station. The atmosphere is smoggy from the grills, sweaty from the sheer amount of people rubbing against each other and the smell is a combination of raw, smokey, fresh and pickled. The place is crowded. Packed, actually. Ducking in and out becomes a skill, as weaving through the dawdlers, tourists and locals becomes the norm.
It’s a maze, but that’s the charm of being there – discovering new delights around every corner. Everybody is thinking of getting a bite to eat at Borough Market, but getting one of the tiny tables is like winnning the lottery, so we grabbed some burgers at a slightly dingy cafe and chowed down our lunch of lamb and liver burgers. Yep, lamb and liver – when in Rome…
In the covered market, there are permanent stalls selling everything from seafood – live, dead and cooked – fruits from mainland Europe and beyond, exotic meats, to bottle shops hawking cups of ready-to-drink Pimms cocktails. Look out for the local favourite stalwart shops – the Ginger Pig, Wright Brothers and Brindisa. Brindisa was popular indeed, with a queue going almost around the building for their spicy Spanish burgers. They say that if a food producer is at Borough Market, they have made it.
For all the permanent stalls, there are open air stalls to match. Under the shade of umbrellas, there’s lots of sampling and buying to be had. This part of the market is especially good for picnic supplies. Mediterranean food seems to be the flavour here, with cured meats, antipasto items and cheeses being popular. Bread stalls dot the market, with the carb addicted masses swarming over the braids of seeded, organic and sourdough loaves. Sweet toothed customers hang out for samples of ethically chocolate brownies while the savoury crowd hanker for titbits of wild mushroom pate and various charcuterie.
I looooved this stall – Borough Olives. So many good things to eat!
Buckets upon buckets of olives, pastes, pickles and cheeses – all available for sampling too – I found irresistable. Before we knew it, we had tubs of authentic greek feta, two types of olives and basil pesto. Plus a loaf of organic sun dried tomato bread. Too much food. More for the gorging, as a picnic on the hotel room floor…
Out of the many markets we visited in Europe, Borough Market is quite unique – it’s not too touristy and you get a mighty snapshot of British food culture as thousands of Londoners pass through everyday, searching for their next snack.
Though it might not be around for long. A future viaduct will slice the market in half. Who knows what will happen after that?
Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, London SE1
Thu 11am – 5pm
Fri 12 noon – 6pm
Sat 8am – 5pm
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