In the last few years Borough Market has undergone some serious renovation. The wine-tasting venue Vinopolis is the latest to get on the act with its new ‘Vinopolis Piazza’ in a former tool hire yard tucked behind Stoney Street on the edge of the market.
Assisted by restaurateur Claudio Pulze – who’s also responsible for Vinopolis’s other eating and drinking establishments, such as Wine Wharf, plus a raft of other London eateries (including Osteria dell’Angolo) – the piazza houses Del Mercato restaurant, trattoria-cum-pizzeria, bakery and bar, all glass-fronted, and built into the brick railway arches. The restaurant sets itself apart from the more casual, bare brick and blond wood atmosphere of the others with white napery, candles and suited staff.
From the menu of modern Italian dishes, a Venetian-inspired starter of mackerel and pumpkin in saor (a sweet and sour dressing including pine nuts and softened onions) on charred polenta pieces had a good balance of flavours. A special of own-made tortelloni stuffed with crabmeat and served in a broth speckled with tender squid and prawn pieces had a decent al dente texture, but the seafood didn’t quite sing due to a heavy hand on the salt.
A satisfying main of fork-tender, Chianti-braised lamb shank with creamy celeriac mash would have sat just as comfortably on the menu at British restaurant Roast round the corner.
Del Mercato is unlikely to set pulses racing, but with smart dining, quick lunches and evening tipples all ticked off by Vinopolis Piazza’s combined offering, it may well prove popular with the local office crowd.