Borough Market: the ultimate foodies’ guide
Borough Market is a treasure trove of London’s best food and drink. To me, it epitomises what the city is all about; buzzy market stalls bursting with fresh produce and an atmosphere that simply can’t be bottled and sold. If you’re visiting London, or even if you’re a local who isn’t sure where to venture amongst the stalls, you might find Borough Market a little daunting.
To make life easier, and to give me an excuse to rave about some of my favourite hotspots, I’ve put together this handy guide to Borough Market. After the best sandwiches in town? I’ll point you in the right direction. Fancy taking home a bottle of gin with you? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
From best street food to unmissable restaurants, here’s my ultimate foodie guide to Borough Market.
Famed for its fresh pasta (and sadly, long queues), it’s no wonder crowds flock to Borough’s famous Italian, Padella. There’s something oddly satisfying about simply strolling past the restaurant’s large glass window in the hope of catching a glimpse of their chefs making that day’s fresh pasta. Now you have been warned, if you head there at peak times (evenings, lunchtimes or weekends), you will have to wait for a table. However, if you’re willing to queue then trust me, their cacio e pepe is so worth it.
If the delicious. team were to vote on their favourite sandwich from Borough Market, I’m pretty sure a heated debate would break out. It all comes down to personal preference and trust me, the options are a plenty. For me, the chorizo roll from Brindisa wins hands down. Quite simply; grilled spicy chorizo, piquillo peppers and rocket come served inside a crunchy ciabatta roll. Coming in a close second is the duck confit sandwich from Le Marche Du Quartier, which simply melts in your mouth. Cheese fans, look no further than the cheese toasties from Kappacasein – which are made with Montgomery cheddar, onions, leeks and garlic served on crunchy Poilâne sourdough.
Best street food
For flavour combos you’re unlikely to have tried before, head to Gourmet Goat. Famed for their East Mediterranean street food, including British goat pitta wraps or rose veal salad bowls, this is one stall you’ll be glad to know the name of. You’ll find plenty of other street food vendors (and most of the to-go hot food can be found in the Green Market area, FYI). For something a little different, head to Ethiopian Flavours for a spicy meat or veggie stew served alongside traditional ingera bread (handy for mopping up purposes).
For a “proper” English pub, look no further than the Market Porter. Granted, it can get busy (especially when the sun is shining), but rather than sitting inside, I’d suggest standing on the pub’s corner with a drink in hand so that you can soak up the buzzy market trading around you. If it’s sit-down cocktails you’re after, Whiskey Ginger will accommodate. Choose from an array of drinks, however as the name suggests, it would be rude not to sample one of the many whiskeys and bourbons on offer.
More of a wine fan? For people watching with a glass of something grapey in your hand, look no further than Bedales.
Best baked goods
I feel sorry for any doughnuts you consume after trying Bread Ahead’s selection; sadly they will pale in comparison. This show-stopping bakery stall really is a must-visit inside the market. It goes without saying that you need to try their famous doughnuts (caramel sea salt, I’m looking at you) or take home one of their wonderful loaves, baked fresh daily. If you’ve got the time and an appetite to learn, they also offer baking classes inside their popular baking school, just around the corner.
If it’s brownies you’re in the mood for, you won’t be able to walk past the chocolate fumes of Konditor and Cook without popping in for a snack or for cookies, try Comptoir Gourmand for a giant cookie the size of your head.
Monmouth. Write it down. The best coffee in Borough (or dare I say it, London). Now, be prepared to queue (notice a recurring theme here?) but the line does move quickly and you can take your coffee to go, so as not to miss out on crucial market wandering time.
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If long queues aren’t for you, head a few minutes around the corner to The Gentlemen Baristas for a latte that will knock your socks off and a little bit of breathing space.
Best take-home treats
Take home a thoughtful gift for someone all the way from Borough Market (no one will judge if the gift is actually for you). From cast-iron skillets to rolling pins, Borough Kitchen boasts every piece of equipment a keen cook will ever need. Wander around the market stalls and you’ll discover a vast array of local artisan producers, from peanut butter spreads to local gin. Borough Cheese Company, East London Liquor Company and Butter Nut should all be on your hit list.