As Londoners demonstrate their determination to enjoy the capital following the terror attack earlier this month, Borough Market is set to reopen on Wednesday 14 June at 10am with a minute’s silence to remember the victims before the ringing of the market bell.
Here, Borough Market expert and Rocket & Squash food blogger Ed Smith guides us through the famous food market’s unmissable gems, from cheap and delicious street eats to some of the best restaurants in the capital.
Ethically sourced meat and inspired cooking make this one of London’s very best ‘to go’ options. Stonkingly good, flavourful, Eastern Mediterranean salads or soft pitta serve as a base for goat kebabs, matured halloumi or slow cooked veal, mutton and goat. Really good. Within the main market on Rochester Walk.
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La Tua Pasta
Enjoyably simple fresh pasta cooked to order. Try the wild boar tortellini, or whatever’s their seasonal special at the time. Great value. Next to Gourmet Goat.
There’s a permanent grill set-up outside Brindisa’s flagship deli. It serves one thing and one thing only: chorizo, pepper and rocket rolls. It’s one of London’s longest established cheap, street eat. And remains one of the very best.
Speaking of long-standing, quality street food, head to Bill Ogleshield’s cheese toastie and raclette stall at 1 Stoney Street. It’s class – from the cheese that Bill devised himself as the perfect melter, through the simple and consistently excellent end product.
Richard Haward Oysters
If you fancy a bit of decadence without the cost, get a half dozen bivalve molluscs from Richard Haward’s stall on the Stoney Street edge of the market. Shallot vinaigrette, Tabasco and lemon is available to dress it. What more do you need?
Horn Ok Please!
My go-to hot food stall from the street food area of the market, HOP fills excellent chickpea dosas with aloo tikki potato patties and a sprinkle of crunchy sev.
Maria’s Market Café
If you’ve got a massive hangover, or just want a proper taste of England, then Maria is your saviour. Who needs the finest French cheese and premium Spanish hams, when you can get a greasy spoon sausage, hash and egg bap, with a lukewarm mug of milky builder’s tea on the side?
The talk of the town for the last year – and deservedly so. Padella’s home-made pasta is hyper fresh (it has to be made just hours before as demand is so high), cooked al dente and served with seasonal sauces at seriously good value prices. Aim for two plates per person, and perhaps a starter or salad to go with them. The queue’s off-putting at key times (12-13:15; 18:00-20:00) but otherwise manageable and fast-moving.
One of the first genuinely good tapas restaurants in London, Tapas Brindisa has been serving pitch-perfect padron, jamon, tortillas and gambas on the corner of Borough High Street and Stoney Street since 2004. I’d wager it’ll still be there in another 15 years, doing exactly the same thing.
The Globe Tavern
Refurbished in 2016, The Globe is the best place to get a tasty pint in the market. It’s also got a strong kitchen and lovely dining room on the first floor, serving decent, British gastro food which makes the most of ingredients sourced on its doorstep.
Tacos El Pastor
If not leading then towards the front of the current wave of (finally) good tacos in London, El Pastor is a thoroughly enjoyable place to eat. This is everything you would expect from the Hart Brother’s stable (Barrafina, Quo Vadis): a bustling and vibrant taqueria, with brilliant surrounds and properly tasty food. I like the tuna tostadas and the carnitas and short rib sharing options.
If you think small plates should only be the preserve of Spanish speakers, you may have your conviction quashed in Arabica’s neat railway arch. Ace Levantine food which makes the most of Middle-Eastern spices and British meat and veg. Most things I’ve eaten there have been finger-licking. Great place to sit, too.
Quality, plates of modern British food (good ingredients, cooked simply with the occasional twist, elegantly plated). Elliot’s takes pride in its low-intervention wine list. It’s a good spot whether lunch or dinner (along with Arabica, grand for date two or three too).
One of Borough’s newest is the latest from bovine behemoth Hawksmoor. A pioneer of London’s proper steak joints, Hawksmoor gets the job done: good meat, great service, excellent cocktails and wine list, and strong sides.
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Enough with the trendy modern restaurants, you say. Fair enough. For a better than average, classic British curry, go to Mango on Redcross Way.
- Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, SE1 1TL, open 52 weeks a year, 6 days a week (and throughout December and with additional one-off themed days and evenings)