If it’s your first time visiting the Borough Market then the choices can be overwhelming. Set amongst maze-like walkways there is so much to see, buy and most importantly…try! An atmospheric haven of international food and drink, the buzzing market sits between the River Thames and Borough High Street in South East London. The easiest way to get there is to catch the above ground or underground train to London Bridge, from there turn left onto Borough High Street and right onto Stoney Street. Now lets begin!
To Eat: If it’s a meal you’re after then let me help you narrow down your options. On the corner of Borough High and Stoney Streets is Tapas Brindisa creation of famous Spanish chef Jose Pizarro, always lively and always 10/10 no matter which plates you try (although I highly recommend the ‘Jamon Iberico Croquetas’ and ‘Piquillo Peppers’). With the authentic feel of a Spanish joint and the charm of market life which can be seen from your window seat, its easily one of the best.
Continue down, past Park Street and you will find Monmouth Coffee Co. on your left, a fresh coffee retailer and the ideal place to sit and enjoy a hot coffee and a sweet or savoury snack. Inside you will find a long table for seating with preserves and freshly churned butter placed down the centre, ready for your order of freshly baked breads or pastries.
And right next door is the Wright Brothers Oyster and Porter House, grab an outdoor table or if its too cold, sit at the Oyster Bar inside where you can enjoy the best produce from France and the British Isles and wash it all down with a glass of Champagne.
Now for something a little more informal, directly across the road you will see the Brindisa shop (same company as the tapas bar), and outside a small canteen which most likely has a long line leading to it. Here they sell one thing, cheap, simple and honestly one of the most satisfying meals I’ve ever had, grilled Spanish chorizo, piquillo peppers and rocket on a bun, order the double!
Or from here you can head into the market, and just a few metres in you are presented with two wonderful options. On your right, a variety of international curries which are cooked in huge pans right in front of you before being passed out like hotcakes. To your left, a soup stand that reminded me of the Seinfeld episode ‘Soup Nazi’ without the nasty vendor, flavours are varied and delicious!
There are plenty more options as you walk through the market, just follow your nose, but if you continue all the way through to the other side, on Bedale Street you can find Hobbs Meat Roast, the best place for an authentic English hot meat baguette, extremely popular with the locals.
To Buy: The best part about buying at this market, besides the exceptional quality, is that you get to try the majority of it before handing over the cash. I was here for a reason, shopping for my family’s Christmas meal, so if your in a similar situation I would advise wandering around for things like meat and fish, to compare the prices and quality before buying. But since you’re most likely in London temporarily, I’ll assume your there for the delicacies (which make great gifts by the way).
The main section, Jubilee Market, which again, is accessed from Stoney Street has plenty of choice. At the entrance, as we previously mentioned is Brindisa, who import high quality Spanish foods and also sell some great recipe books. For things like cheese, cured meats, olive tapenade and olive oil, almost every stand offers samples so decide for yourself which of those you like best but I’d be happy to tell you some other highlights in this area.
Gujarati Rasoi sells a range of Indian cooking sauces, chutneys and spices made by a mother and son duo based on recipes passed down from older generations.
At England Preserves, a small wooden cart, you can purchase a unique array of quality jams and preserves with the loveliest fruity flavours.
For something varied from your standard bakery, Backhaus Bakery sells handmade German breads, cakes and bretzels with all ingredients sourced from Germany.
Sicily in London is the only place for delicious Italian flavoured olive oil, patè, cheese and biscotti.
For something local and authentic try Moden’s Lincolnshire Plum Bread in the Jubilee Market or Mrs Kings Pork Pies off Middle Row.
Again, if you find your way through to the other side, on Bedale Street you’ll find Bedales where expert staff can recommend you the best boutique wines, most of which you can’t find anywhere.