There’s not much else on this earth that gets me quite as excited as a food market (and we really don’t know each other well enough for me to divulge THAT information).
But whether you’re after a bite, a booze or just want to stock up on some of the freshest local produce around – the food markets in and around London are where you need to be.
The South East area of London is home to two of my most favourite (and arguably most popular) food markets in town. Borough Market, London’s oldest and dearest food trading venue, serving up delicious grub and take-home tasties to the people of Southwark for the past 1,000 years; and Maltby Street Market, the ultimate delicious destination for hungry weekenders.
Only a hop, skip and a jump apart from eachother, you could quite easily tackle these London-must-do-markets in one day – so long as you have the right appetite and a stomach built like a tank; the more faint-hearted foodies however may have to spread out these occasions over a day or two.
Borough Market is an overflowing cornucopia of culinary cuisine, offering a global feast of foods, from italian-pressed sandwiches to wheels of Sussex cheeses, Caribbean soul food and packed out pies – it’s one of the very few places that you really can have your Lincolnshire Sausage and eat your Razor Clams too.
Whilst I love Borough Market, it’s often difficult to spend time there which isn’t of a hustled and bustled nature; but so long as you’re strategic and know exactly what your belly is hankering for – you can squeeze yourself into one of the snaking queues, grab your grub and pop a squat on the adjacent side street to really enjoy your feast in (semi) peace.
The Mothership from Pieminister is a total must if you’re looking to warm your cockles after a heavy morning of London sight-seeing. Choose your pastry (you really can’t go wrong here, but I highly recommend the Deerstalker or the Moo), and pimp your pie with mash, mushy peas and enough gravy to sink a ship.
Or if you’re looking for the second best Salt Beef biegal in town (spoiler alert – the best one can be found on Brick Lane), order yourself the Flaming Salt Beef at Nana Fanny’s.
Opt for the rye bread, (you really can’t beat the beigal bake beigal), and the talented folk behind Nana Fanny’s will stack it with salt beef on top of tangy slaw, juicy pickles and razor-sharp mustard, melted together with help from a slice of swiss and a blow torch.
Take your pick of dessert from yards of fudge, honey cashew nuts…
…or just an obscenely large cookie (the white chocolate ones are the bomb).
Should you find yourself quite ridiculously full, as I often do – take a long stroll down the embankment which you’ll find just a 5 minute walk away. If you aren’t desperate to see the Houses of Parliment, take a sharp right across to St Paul’s before you hit the tourist trap of the London Eye, you really don’t want to be accidentally elbowed in the stomach when you’re internally carrying 2 rye sandwiches and a whole loada fudge.
Now, I never play favourites with my food, but sometimes you simply can’t help but really adore a place just a teensy bit more.
Maltby Street Market is truly a magical place, more intimate than Borough Market but also less hectic and truly deserving of your full attention and appetite.
One of the first stalls you come to will be Finest Faye, where you simply must pick up a scotch egg to warm your stomach up…
We shared the Breakfast Egg; crispy, meaty with a deliciously chunky, orange yolk. A definite crowd pleaser, but I have a feeling their Black Pudding one is the real show-stealer.
If it’s gooey satisfaction you’re after, you better pull up a pew over at The Cheese Truck.
An army of cheese sammich combinations, you can go rogue with goats cheese, honey and walnuts or keep it classic…
Bacon and grilled cheese?
Choose your selection, watch them turn a seemingly ordinary sarnie into crunchy, mouthwatering, melted perfection.
Grab a napkin (you’ll need it), and you’re good to goo.
Around this time you might want to take a breather; remember this is a marathon and not a sprint, so go grab yourself a seat at Little Bird Gin and order your fave tipple from the menu.
The Perfect G&T is really quite glorious and and is best enjoyed by the gallon (just don’t expect to feel your legs after two); the Maltby Mary packs a sexy little attitude and will for sure give you a Sunday to remember (or not as the case may be…)
Once successfully hydrated, let’s head to the last savoury stop of the day.
Ordering two Dirty Streakers for two dirty streakers, we had the pleasure of chatting to chef Grant Hawthorne whilst we waited, the main man behind the famous, 15-years-in-the-making Mozambique-style creations.
When your order is called, grab yourself a table in the back, a knife and fork and please roll up your sleeves.
This fella takes no prisoners, and is nothing short of a flavour train, extra heavy on drippy, meaty, unadulterated filth.
It’s everything you ever wanted and more.
Before you head out, be sure to grab yourself some dessert.
The custard sourdough doughnuts from St John Restaurant are wonderfully scrumptious.
The beauty of these markets, is that you need to visit them countless amounts of time before you can positively exhaust everything they have to offer.
I’ve already made my plan for which stalls I’ll be making a beeline for next.
So, same time next week?