I’d planned to do a feature on each of my favourite markets and what I think shouldn’t be missed. In light of recent events and with it reopening tomorrow, I thought I’d kick off with Borough Market.
When I first moved to London three years ago, if I’m completely honest, I felt a bit intimidated by it all. I’d only ever lived in the countryside or small cities surrounded by countryside and London was neither. Everything seemed to move at breakneck speed and the hustle and bustle felt very alien compared to the relaxed dawdling of the countryside. Luckily for me, my first job was situated right on the edge of Borough Market and it was one of the first places I discovered, and one which over the coming months spurred on my love of food and London as a whole.
In my opinion, the best time to visit Borough Market is a Thursday or Friday lunchtime – the full market is open but the crowds are less intense, which if you’re someone like me who likes to drift and look at every single stall, is definitely a plus.
It was so difficult deciding what should go on this list, but here’s my round up of things you definitely should not miss.
- La Tua. Probably one of the most tucked away, underrated stalls of the market but also possibly my favourite. Hidden down one of the side strands of the market, La Tua make traditional, fresh pasta and gnocchi and it is incredible. At under £10 for a generous, freshly cooked (very filling) portion, there is no wrong combination. I particularly recommend the wild boar one with their mushroom sauce (which isn’t always on the menu), the crab or lobster ones if you’re feeling extravagant, or, if you’re a fan of truffle, they do a really rich black truffle one too.
- Ethiopian Flavours – I’d never tried Ethiopian before Borough Market but it became a firm lunchtime favourite for our office. For around £6-7 you get a big box filled with an Ethiopian curry (beef or chicken), rice and your choice of side dishes which were mains in their own right (split pea stew, spicy lentils, cauliflower etc.). Spicy, but not too spicy these boxes are filling, wholesome and delicious.
- Kappacasein – The market stall of the famous Bermondsey dairy where they make their own cheese, this stall is in the hot food section at the back of Borough Market. Trust me, the queue (and there will be a queue!) is worth it and you’ll need the time decide whether you want to try their famous cheese toastie (sourdough oozing with cheese, leeks, garlic and onion) or the raclette (gooey cheese scraped onto a plate of potatoes, baby gherkins and pickled onions). Always popular and always tasty.
- 3Bis – I’m not a huge ice cream eater but I love 3Bis and their gelato. They use really high quality ingredients, and you can taste it. They make it fresh in-house and it is perfectly smooth and creamy, they even have a chocolate tap for liquid chocolate in the bottom of your cone! I always like to go for a chocolate one and a fruity one (their berry one is amazing) but I’m yet to have a flavour I don’t like there.
- Pâté Moi – I (shamefully) overlooked this stall for some time but this mushroom pâté is one you must buy and take home. Mushrooms aren’t my favourite thing on their own but I love this pâté. It’s got such a surprisingly bold flavour and is absolutely delicious on toasted sourdough. Buy it, take it home and thank me later.
- Bread Ahead – These guys are famous for their doughnuts, cooked fresh each day, and rightfully so. The flavours vary but their fluffy, pillowy texture and deliciousness remains a constant. My personal favourite is the chocolate (no surprises there) but you need to get down early if you want a choice of flavours as these always sell out. Their fresh sourdough and focaccias are worth picking up and taking home too.
- Rabot 1745 – Owned by Hotel Chocolat, Rabot 1745 gets its name from the Rabot Estate cacao plantation in Saint Lucia that the founders fell in love with. Expect the usual Hotel Chocolat goods for sale but with a few more specialist chocolate bars from the plantation itself. There’s a fancier restaurant upstairs (which I will blog on at some point) but the real draw of this place is the bar downstairs which does a wide range of chocolate/cacao cocktails, a wide selection of rums and some incredible hot chocolates, milkshakes and cakes. If you appreciate proper chocolate, this is the place to come when your legs want a rest from walking round. Their praline cocktail with vodka, coconut milk, praline and white chocolate is wonderful, but you can’t go too wrong with anything here.
- Scotchtails – Scotch eggs are sold widely but in my opinion, rarely done well. They’re either overcooked, too greasy or too dry. Scotchtails were my first London scotch egg and are still my favourite out of all of the ones I’ve tried since. They sell them warm, cut in half on a bed of rocket and you can opt to have a side of sweet potato fries (definitely do). It’s all served in a box for you to take away so makes a perfect lunch on the go. The classic is great but they also do specials – if the chorizo special is on, I strongly recommend trying it!
- L’Ubriaco Drunk Cheese – At the back section of the market next to the hot food stalls, you can find a small cheese stall right in the middle. If you want something different to impress for a cheese and wine evening, do not miss this. Their cheeses are all soaked in various alcohols and are delicious. My personal favourite is the blue cheese, topped with cranberries and soaked in red wine – it’s strong, punchy and intensely rich and is just as lovely with steak as it is fresh bread. I always take some of this home to my family over Christmas and it always goes down well.
- Une Normande a Londres – Cheese stall of dreams. I’m pretty sure that’s how the name translates… This french cheese stall is small but mighty. The brie from here is some of the best I’ve ever had, it’s so gooey that it’s almost dripping and I’m yet to find a cheese I haven’t liked from here. The guys who run it are really knowledgeable about their cheeses and wrap the cheese up nicely for you to take home.
There are so many more places that could have made this list. Borough Market is such a hub of great food and friendly people and now more than ever the traders need your support!
Nearest station: London Bridge