Food halls are tipped to be the next big thing. Try these three new London gems and be the first on the bandwagon.
There was a time when the words food and hall would conjure up images of a badly-lit department store’s grab-and-go food section. Not exactly where you’d want to spend Friday night with your friends.
But this term has been getting somewhat of a revamp recently, as innovative foodie entrepreneurs see the appeal in getting lots of delicious nosh together in one place.
Taking inspiration from pop-up markets and the enduring popularity of street food vendors, the emerging food hall venues in London are buzzing gastronomic hubs, offering a cool vibe and great food. After all, why would you want to go to one restaurant when you can go to 10 at once?
The definition of what makes these culinary gatherings specifically a food hall is pretty fluid; they all bring together a selection of vendors in a permanent space, with most seating hundreds of people. So if you’re planning a group night out, office get together, or uni pals reunion, one of these London food halls could be the perfect place.
What we love most about these must-visit spots, though, is the clash of culture and design that come hand-in-hand with a mix of the foodie options.
Market Hall, for example, maximises on buildings that have special architectural or historical value, while Bang Bang Oriental puts on Asian dance classes and performance pieces for its visitors.
Essentially, the reason trying out a food hall feels like you’re getting so much more is because you really are, in every sense. More food, but also an entire concept designed to incorporate shopping, events and activities. We think these gems are just the beginning of a soon-to-be prominent food trend.
Check out these three food halls in London to get you started, and we’ll keep you updated as more pop up.
Bang Bang Oriental
It claims to be the capital of London’s Asian food scene, so we’re expecting big things from Bang Bang Oriental, the new, largest collection of Asian specialist restaurants in the UK.
Set out in typical food court style and decorated with traditional red-and-gold lanterns, this is the ideal place to bring a hungry gaggle of mates, thanks to its spacious structure and impressive 450 person seating capacity.
As well as loads of food choices, which we’ll get on to in a minute, there’s a huge screen playing popular films from the Asian cinema scene which you can watch while you chomp.
The food hall is comprised of 25 vendors who have been selected to give guests a varied selection of cuisines and meal time options. From ramen and sushi to bubble tea and Japanese patisserie, it won’t matter if you stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner with all the delicacies on offer.
But more than a food hall, Bang Bang Oriental aims to be an entire cultural experience. Throughout the year (averaging a couple of times a month), the hall is host to events like costumed dance, live entertainment and festival celebrations taken from Asian holidays.
The venue also incorporates traditional performance classes into its schedule, teaching Chinese Classical Dance, Chung Ching Lion Dance and Akido Japanese Martial Art throughout the week, making Bang Bang Oriental more of a cultural hub rather than just a stand-alone food market.
Where: 399 Edgware Rd, London NW9 0FH
When: Monday to Thursday, 12-9.30pm. Friday and Saturday 11.30am-10pm. Sunday 11.30am-9.30pm
Market Hall, the three-site brand transforming the way Londoners dine, is the embodiment of the growing food hall trend.
With a mission to redefine the British concept of food halls, Market Hall is turning unloved public spaces with a certain something, be that historic or architectural appeal, into must-visit foodie destinations. The brand aims to bring together the best of the best when it comes to good grub all under one roof, creating social, atmospheric spaces.
Currently there are two sites open, in Fulham and Victoria, with one more coming to Oxford Circus this summer.
Each venue has a different selection of street food vendors, which gives you more reason to try them all out. Head over to Fulham and fill your boots with treats like churros, fried chicken, pizza, poké, kebabs and speciality coffee – all housed in an Edwardian Underground station. With a seating capacity of 250, you should be able to grab a seat easily, but it’s possible to book if you’re with a group of eight or more.
At Victoria you’ll find three floors packed with 11 kitchens, a coffee shop and three bars proud to champion independent British-made beers and spirits. There’s also a 150 person drinking roof terrace which will launch in spring 2019. Foodie highlights include traditional homemade pasta, fish and chips, dim sum and nose-to-tail British cooking.
Check out Market Hall’s website below for details about its different venues.
Located handily in the Shepard’s Bush Westfield shopping centre, Ichiba is Europe’s largest Japanese food hall and brings together the best of Japanese cuisine, drinks, books and homewares in London.
With a clean, informal design, this place is ideal for a full day of shopping and lunching, as opposed to just being somewhere for evening dinner and drinks. The canteen-style food area serves up every kind of Japanese dish you could hope for, from udon, ramen and soba to poké, sushi, sashimi. There’s also a bakery and cafe with freshly baked treats like melon pans and dorayaki (Japanese filled pancakes)… Need we say more?
A trip to Ichiba wouldn’t be complete without picking yourself up some sort of souvenir, so make sure you don’t miss out on the shopping part of the experience. As well as groceries and cupboard-snacks, check out the traditional homewares and gifts. Perhaps a bento box or sushi-making kit will catch your eye.
Where: Level -2 Westfield London Shepherd’s Bush W12 7HB
When: Monday to Saturday, 10am-10pm. Sunday 11.30am-7.30pm.
Images: Instagram / Vita Marija Murenaite