If you’re happy eating on the hoof, Borough Market is one of the best places in London to find a lunch for around a fiver. Occupying an impressive Victorian glass-vaulted space beneath the arches of a railway viaduct, a few minutes’ walk from London Bridge station, this historic food fair is a lively and atmospheric place.
There’s always a queue for the chorizo sandwich (rich, spicy sausage, bitter rocket and sweet-sour piquillo peppers, held together in a lightly toasted white roll, £3.75) from Spanish deli Brindisa. Other meaty options include the shredded duck confit sandwich bursting from a soft white bun (£5), from Le Marché du Quartier (7378 8679), and salt beef (cured on-site) served in sturdy ciabatta with pickle and mustard (£6) from Northfield Farm (www.northfieldfarm.com).
Bermondsey-based dairy and cheese-maker Kappacasein has also caused a stir with its toasted cheese sandwich (£5), a humble snack honed to perfection. The combination of montgomery cheddar with leek, onion and garlic between two slices of sourdough bread is so loved that it has its own Facebook fan-page. Enjoy it with a steaming cup of dry cider (£2.50) from New Forest Cider (www.newforestcider.co.uk).
The Total Organics kitchen has a counter laden with aromatic vegetable dishes; a slice of omelette or tart, plus three salads (ratatouille, chickpea tagine, and rosemary and sweet potato are possible options) costs £5. A falafel wrap (£4) from Arabica Food & Spice (www.arabicafoodandspice.com) comes generously portioned with all the trimmings. Try some of their tooth-achingly sweet baklava for afters. Alternatively, pick up some cheese or cured meats from any of the food stalls, along with a loaf of bread from artisan bakery Flour Station (www.theflourstation.com), and escape the crowds for an impromptu picnic by the river.
The market exists in skeleton form from Monday to Wednesday, so pop along in the latter half of the week for the full experience. If you want to miss the crowds, a morning visit is advisable.