If there’s one thing Londoners love more than street food, it’s Instagramming it. Luckily, the quaint cobbled walkways of Borough Market promise many a photograph opportunity with a side helping of oozing masterpieces and with autumn brewing, there’s no better time to head to the heart of London’s food scene. Think winter soups, organic root vegetables and mulled everything. Brimming with the subdued hustle and bustle of hungry Londoners, Borough is perhaps the oldest and most authentic artisan marketplace in a city, dating back as far as 1014 when traders first sold their wares along London Bridge. Since its humble beginnings, the famous food market has transformed into a sprawling warren of decadence.
From French confit duck rolls to the best Pad Thai outside of Thailand, a melting pot of international flavour is complimented by organic fruit and veg stalls, fish mongers, butchers, bakeries and a whole host of niche artisan producers offering everything from cold-pressed oils, cured meats, organic honey and enough cheese to sink a ship in.
Just a few delicious minutes inside the cornucopia of flavours and smells is enough to forget the ubiquitous London smog. Each pocket of the marketplace brings new tantalising tones; the breeze is hijacked by Ethiopian spices; the sizzling of a hog roast; the sweet cinnamon undertones of mulled wine. Wafts of roasted beans smoulder from Monmouth Coffee as the City spills from the underground. The warm dough-iness of Bread Ahead, the market’s resident bakery, will make even the latest of Londoners sniff the air with a sleepy smile.
Dotted between the pop-up shops and street-side eateries are an eclectic range of restaurants with petite, open shopfronts which sprawl onto the pavements. City professional’s sip from champagne flutes at Applebee’s, say cheers’ over oysters at The Wright Brothers and chatter patiently within the winding queues of Padella, as chef’s labour over fresh spirals of linguine on marble window ledges. From a swift morning caffeine hit to an on-the-go bite to a leisurely boozy lunch, Borough Market is teeming with life from dawn till dusk (or thereabouts) when swarms of suits replace tired tourists, tumbling from office blocks and into the nearby pubs.
Only a select few may dig deep into their coffers and embark on a weekly food shop here, but Borough Market doesn’t position itself as an alternative to the mainstream supermarkets. It’s more than that.
It’s fast, fresh food and milling around with friends. It’s swiping samples, talking to producers and investing in those products which really make your mouth water and your soul sing. It’s guzzling mulled wine in paper cups whilst picking the perfect pumpkin from a mountain of gourds, choosing that chutney to complete your Christmas cheese board, finding the perfect gourmet gift for your foodie friend or splurging on the fish counter, because it’s your turn to cook dinner tonight. Wholesome organic food from honest producers sits at the very heart of the Borough Market experience, blending a glimpse of the London from yesteryear with the sophistication of the city’s very best wining and dining scene.
So whether you’re a lunch-time regular searching for something a little more satisfying than a Pret sandwich or just passing through, breathe it all in, and eat your heart out (especially the cheese).