Borough Market guide
Borough Market is an unmissable destination for London food lovers, catering to both top chefs in search of premium ingredients and grazing epicures hungry for freshly prepared mouthfuls of culinary excellence. You'll find cured meats and crème caramel, tapas and fine cheeses – all in a bustling, atmospheric setting
This dazzling food market offers a vast array of artisanal munchables and difficult-to-find ingredients. The market is a delight for all the senses, and is best enjoyed with a big shopping bag and empty stomach when the crowds are at low ebb. To avoid the starving masses go first thing on Saturday mornings, from 8am or 9am, or from midday on Thursday or Friday.
Pork pies with chopped apple piled on top from Sillfield Farm, packets of Padrón peppers and tortas de aceite (handmade sweet olive oil biscuits with a hint of aniseed) from Brindisa, coconut drops from Burnt Sugar, elusive Mexican ingredients from the Cool Chile Company.
Overpriced fruit and vegetables from the bigger fresh-produce suppliers.
If the all-pervasive and irresistible aroma of sizzling meat doesn’t stop you in your tracks, make your way to Shellseekers for fried scallops and bacon. Otherwise join the queue at Brindisa for its legendary chorizo roll, or line up at Kappasein for a pricey (but pretty tasty) toasted cheese sandwich or raclette.
For sit-down options, try breakfast at Roast, lunch at Tapas Brindisa or oysters and a pint of prawns at Wright Brothers. If you’re after something sweet, make your way to Real France in Jubilee Market (the extension to Borough) for crème caramel pots.
Borough’s top stalls
Tucked just behind The Globe pub in the Green Market on Fridays and Saturdays (and near Monmouth on Thursdays), Sweet is a London-based French patisserie. We like their cannelés, which are tiny egg-yolk-rich cakes and a speciality of the Bordeaux region. They’re baked in copper moulds, so they’re almost black on the outside, but they have an incredibly tender custard-like centre. For more caramelised, custardy goodness, keep an eye out for their exceptionally good Portuguese custard tarts.
Open Thur, Fri, Sat.
In Jubilee Market, head over to KäseSwiss (located in the centre) for traditional farmhouse cheeses sourced directly from the Swiss Alps. They’re all made on a small scale, like the rather intense L’Etivaz, which is only available during the autumn and winter months. The Gruyère Alpage, however, is made during the summer when the cows are taken to fresh pastures high up in the mountains. Look out for the bags of fondue vite (a cheese, wine and kirsch mixture) in December.
Open Fri, Sat.
Just next door to KäseSwiss is Topolski, which offers a choice selection of highly specialised (and much sought after) smoked pork sausages and hams from Poland. The juniper sausage is one of the most popular, but the finger sausages with black pepper make a great market snack. The beetroot and horseradish relish is a traditional pantry essential, with people travelling from all over London to stock up.
Open Fri, Sat.
Brett Redman, co-owner of the Pavilion Café in Victoria Park, who is about to open a new restaurant, Elliot’s, at 12 Stoney Street, Borough Market (www.eliottsboroughmarket.com).
When should you visit Borough Market?
‘Most traders are there from 8am and it starts to wind down from 4pm.’
‘The Ginger Pig is a great butcher specialising in rare-breed meats. You must try the 50-day aged rump of beef. Chegworth Valley is starting to grow more and more heritage varieties of vegetables not found on your average supermarket shelf. The best oysters on the market are at Richard Hayward. The stall looks a bit shabby but the product is anything but. The Hayward family has been farming and growing oysters since 1792. Brindisa has some of the best Spanish food around: I go for a glass of fino sherry and a plate of chorizo. Mons Cheese has great Swiss and French cheeses; the comte is amazing in a cheese toastie with a few gherkins.’
What should you avoid?
‘Taking pictures without asking the traders for permission. Some of them can get right arsey with you!’
‘If you want to shop, go early on a Saturday so you can beat the crowds that start to gather around 11am. Don’t be afraid to haggle a bit – it is a market, after all.’
Borough Market, Stoney St, SE1 (www.boroughmarket.org.uk). London Bridge tube/rail. 11am-5pm Thur; noon-6pm Fri; 8am-5pm Sat.
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