I’ve recently instigated ‘Sunday Funday’ with one of my friends, an initiative to get us out of the house, make the most of our weekends and discover new pockets of London we haven’t yet experienced which last month delivered us to Marylebone Village.
Despite its W1 postcode and proximity to Oxford Street (and ergo my 9-5…) Marylebone still manages to feel like an area of London relatively new to me, that’s managed to keep its village charm and ambiance. Of course there are chains – two Pret’s practically within an arm-span on the high street – but alongside them nestle a healthy dose of independent shops, food suppliers and restaurants, not to mention a spectacular Sunday Farmer’s Market with a host of utterly delectable produce.
Here are our tips for the best foodie discoveries, make sure to head down on a Sunday to make the most of them…
Good Life Eatery
Situated towards the southern end of Marylebone Lane, the Good Life Eatery strives to encourage us all to eat better, healthier and happier. Founded three years ago by co-founders Yasmine Larizadeh and Shirin Kourus, they wanted to bring something new, fresh and healthy to London’s food scene. Its menu includes cold-pressed juices and smoothies as well as ‘all-day yumz’ from a ‘Shred Breakfast’ of poached eggs, sweetcorn, hummous, shredded greens and omega seeds to the more indulgent and yet still deliciously healthy Chestnut & Almond Waffle, served with rhubarb and chia compote, coconut yoghurt and banana mash.Grab yourself one of their powerful shots to kick your metabolism into gear – we loved the First Aid Shot of Lemon, Echinacea, Turmeric and Baobab.
If you like your breakfasts a little more indulgent (read: French), London favourite Aubaine has an outpost on Moxon Street. Typically decorated in its signature palette of tonal greys, it’s a big branch offering their classic menu of treats like Lobster Benedict, Black Truffle Scrambled Eggs and the Full French breakfast of Toulouse sausage, eggs, portobello mushroom, Alsace bacon, baked beans, sweetcorn fritter, kale and slow-roasted tomatoes. Where they really come into their own however is the pastries (quelle surprise…). We popped in mid-morning to warm up after our chilly mooch with a steaming pot of tea and one of their Pain aux Pistaches, a twice-baked pain au chocolate with pistachio and almond. And yes, it was every bit as delicious as it sounds…
The Ginger Pig
Carnivores may already be familiar with London butcher The Ginger Pig; with eight shops across the capital, the Marylebone Village outpost is one of only two that offer their signature butchery classes, alongside the Borough Market space. Have a look at forthcoming dates on their website; there’s an Easter lamb shoulder nose-to-tail class coming up, or try the Game class. Seasonal variable, the class currently covers fur game or venison and rabbit until September, whilst the featured game class covers grouse, partridge and pheasant from October to January.
Beef is dry-aged in house for a minimum of 28 days. Sausages and burgers are made by hand by their skilled butchery team, while bacon and gammons are cured either by hand-salting or using a traditional brine; in short, it’s a meat-lover’s dream. Make sure to sample one of their signature sausage rolls – their bestseller – with crispy, flaky pastry and deliciously juicy sausagemeat, before picking up dinner.
Those with a sensitive nose may wish to avoid this emporium of cheese. Turophiles take note; this may be your Holy Grail. La Fromagerie Marylebone is one of three sites in central London, each of which houses a signature temperature and humidity-controlled cheese room featuring dozens of favourite and little-known varieties, along with a tasting café complete with a carefully-sourced wine selection, selected by region to complement the cheeses and tasing menus.
With a pantry of delicious treats made in-house, you’ll want to stock up on their seasonal chutneys, pickles, preserves and jams, not to mention the homemade granola, hummus, cultured butter and buttermilk and seasonal fresh produce delivered each week from delivered each week from markets in Italy, France and farms around the UK. Stick around for lunch and you’ll be rewarded by cheesy favourites like fondue, raclette and one of the best grilled cheese sarnies you’ll every try.
One gets the impression from La Brasseria that it’s something of a local favourite. We headed there for lunch and it had the comfortable hum of conversation from tables dotted with families of several generations, couples out for a lazy lunch, groups of girlfriends catching up; it’s the very epitome of a cosy brasserie.
The decor is gorgeous; teal walls, wood panelling and brass fixtures, it nails the chic Italian design. We tucked in to a creamy burrata with sliced tomatoes and prosciutto, followed by a perfect carbonara packed with pancetta and one of their signature crispy pizzas. The weekend brunch is also a total treat, with dishes like French toast with maple bacon, banana and pecan nuts and the Italian American with fried eggs, prosciutto and road potato.
Marylebone Farmer’s Market
I’m saving the best for last, but Marylebone Farmer’s Market has enough to it that it could warrant a visit to the area just by itself. On every Sunday, the market is a showcase of some of the finest and freshest food producers from around the UK. Ironically, the very first stall we came across was fresh fruit, veg and apple juice from Perry Court Farm in Kent; five minutes from my parents’ house it’s a place I’ve frequented many a time.
We passed freshly baked breads from the likes of Karaway and Clapham’s Old Post Office Bakery, pies, cakes and pastries courtesy of Honeypie Bakery, fantastic fungi from The Mushroom Table and the most incredible sausages from The Parsons Nose, who served up freshly cooked bangers dripping with onions for a hearty breakfast bap. Windrush Valley Goat Dairy is a must-visit, for not just their cheeses but delicious goat’s curd and milk, and make sure to stop off at Anatolia, a Turkish couple making gozleme and tantuni on site using their mother’s recipes.
If you’re heading to the market for your food shop make it an early one; we popped back at 12 en route home to find several stalls sold out, all the fresh fish gone and not a bunch of flowers to be seen where there were dozens an hour before. What a wonderful sight to see so much local support for small producers, buying fresh and seasonal over the plastic-drowned produce in our supermarkets.