London's best street food markets and food halls
Meet Bang Bang Oriental: a gargantuan pan-Asian food court… in Colindale! Yes, Colindale. The long journey might be a turn-off, but this is the largest food hall of its kind in Europe, with 27 individual kiosks offering a whole range of oriental cuisines and seating for up to 450 people. The vast space also hosts Chinese beauty parlours, a community dance rehearsal studio and the 300-cover flagship Golden Dragon restaurant. Don’t know where to start? Here’s our list of five things to eat at Bang Bang Oriental, from dim sum platters to fried intestine. Well worth a trip out to Zone 4.
Monday-Thursday, noon-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 11.30am-10.30pm; Sunday, 11.30am-9.30pm
A bastion of ‘old Soho’, Berwick Street Market is a vibey strip dotted with shouty fruit-sellers, florists and fabric merchants in among the foodie offerings. Snaking lunchtime queues are a daily sight, with local workers hankering for jam-packed falafel wraps, riffed up salads, Greek souvlaki, old-school sarnies and modish puds. There’s no seating, but Soho’s swell for wandering. Ever in danger of gentrification, this market’s a slice of trad London to treasure.
Monday-Saturday, 8am until 6pm
Shoreditch can be a bit of a raucous hellhole on weekends, but Boxpark – a shipping container complex next to the Overground station – is worth braving the boozy throngs for. Cram into one of the teeny units to scoff fare from small traders, from decadent duck burgers and Greek skewers to vegan fast food and pearl teas. It’s been open for half a decade now, making it an old hand on the street food scene. Doesn’t time fly?
Monday-Saturday, 8am-11pm; Sunday 10am-10pm
You can’t move in Brixton for fab food spots these days – and Brixton Village (aka, the old Granville Arcade, located down Coldharbour Lane) is a gastro ground-zero of sorts. Its strengths lie in its whatever-ya-fancy variety. Superlative BBQ? Got it. Japanese okonomiyaki pancakes? Sure! Unfinishably gigantic plates of home-style Colombian cooking? Si señor! The vibe’s a little more refined and less yuppified than nearby Pop Brixton, too.
A crowded and buzzy parade of a Saturday market near London Fields, with fresh farm produce and ready-to-eat bites.
South London’s finest is a Saturday morning staple. Stylish SE4 locals mill around, stocking up on succulents and farm produce while snaffling down artisanal coffee, imported wines and fine street food. It’s long been a trendsetter: foraging heroes Mike + Ollie and cult burger faves Mother Flipper started out here, and still ply their trade on a weekly basis. Queues can be lengthy – and seating’s limited to a few benches – but everything here is worth the wait.
SE5’s transformation from grimy transport deadzone to bona-fide foodie haven continues apace, bolstered by the teeny gem that is Camberwell Market. Its location on the Green gives it a fêtey feel (there are used book and vintage thread stalls, and the Salvation Army band have been known to parp up), but the food is anything but amateur: think grilled-cheese sarnies, Japanese soul food, Malaysian home cooking and mega mac’n’cheese.
A bustling Sunday market with an array of street food, produce and crafty bits’n’pieces.
Street Feast’s Shoreditch base is a tastemaking street-food hub, having chucked up folks such as Smokestak, Breddos Tacos and Farang. It does a roaring good trade from Wednesday to Saturday, dishing up a mish-mash of global fare (from pizza and steamed dumplings to chargrilled seafood and vegan Mexican classics) alongside punchy drinks in such subtly named spots as FünkenPümper and German Sex Dungeon. Dinerama may be housed in a former bullion truck depot, but the vibe is strictly ‘party’. Not a quiet night out then, but a delicious one.
Wednesday-Saturday, 5pm-late. Entry is free before 7pm, £3 after
Brought to you by the guys behind Pergola, this den of deliciousness is housed in part of the old BBC Television Centre, but now feeds and waters up to 350 fun-loving peeps at a time in a cleverly designed inside/outside space – think alfresco vibes in a plant-filled space, but under one massive year-round roof. Currently, the cooking is in the hands of comfort-food kings Morty & Bob’s, famous for their burgers, wholesome salads, grilled cheese sandwiches and potent bloody marys.
Venue says Your neighbourhood bar and kitchen from the team behind the Pergola venues. Eat, drink, eat-in or take-away. Book now!
On the ground floor of Hammersmith’s Kings Mall, this 350-seater spot from the people behind Pergola and the Feast Bar & Kitchen is a reinvention of the ‘canteen’ concept for twenty-first-century Londoners. Expect a rotating line-up of five street-food traders, including such hot tickets as Breddos Tacos, SIN (Salvation in Noodles) and Sinchow (famous for its kooky riffs on the rice-paper roll), with Other Side Fried and other acts waiting in the wings. Eat in, take out or plump for home delivery – it’s all there.
This snazzy food court and bar/venue, sprawled through a few Borough railway arches, may look a tad sheeny, but don’t be fooled: this is keenly curated stuff. Fab fare – from manti dumplings to ramen, Levantine bits and tip-top toasties – can be scoffed in the midst of the indoor crowds, or on outdoor tables under heaters (there are a couple of sit-in restaurants too). FYI: one of the guys behind it is Jon Spiteri, king of London maître d’s and a co-founder of St John. Respect.
Daily, check www.flatironsquare.co.uk for opening times of individual stalls.
When Kerb’s brilliantly creative street-food collective landed in NW1 and revamped Camden’s West Yard (the cobbled bit next to the canal and behind Lock 17), it helped make the neighbourhood cool again, with a hot host of global grub sellers doing genuinely interesting things around the canal. The ever-changing line-up of around 30 traders includes discoveries at every turn: you’ve seen The Cheese Wheel, but how about Venezuelan cornbread pouches, New Orleans-style po’boys and Mexican/Korean mash-ups? YUH-HUH.
Monday-Thursday, 11am-6pm; Friday-Sunday, 11am-7pm
This is where the big daddy of London’s fertile food market scene, Kerb, had its original King’s Cross site in 2009 (back when it was called Eat Street – memories!) It helped kickstart the area’s foodie regeneration back then, and there are loads of familiar global traders (aka Kerbanists) on show these days – from Baggio Burgers and Melter Meatballs to Truffle and Wandercrust – plus ‘in-Kerb-ators’ from the brand’s talent scheme. This site is also fab in summer, with Granary Square’s fountains as a backdrop and lots of benches (or canal steps) to sit down on.
The best way to describe The Kitchens in Spitalfields is as a street food market and restaurant hybrid. Launched by Nuno Mendes (of the Chiltern Firehouse and nearby Taberna do Mercado), it features ten rotating kiosks ranging from Breddos Tacos to pasta guys the Sood Family. However, we’re sold on the Insta-famous crispy shengjianbao (Shanghai’s pan-fried ‘soup dumplings’) from Dumpling Shack.
Monday-Friday, 11am-8pm; Saturday, 11am-6pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm
A weekday sprawl of stalls – stretching from Clerkenwell Road to High Holborn – Leather Lane mixes old-school tat’n’threads charm with newfangled foodie appeal (helped along by the road’s status as a coffee mecca). It’s understandably popular with lunching local workers, desperate to get their mitts on a mac’n’cheese toasted sarnie or a banging burrito. If the weather turns, it’s lined with great brick-and-mortar spots too (some of which used to be stalls).
This heaving strip of a weekend market – largely set down Bermondsey’s Ropewalk alley, between railway arches and the LASSCO salvage warehouse – first started taking shape way back in 2009. Back then, it was just coffee kings Monmouth cupping up for a couple of hours every Saturday. Now, it’s a proper institution, and the main pretender to Borough’s crown. Street food, booze and produce of every shape abounds, emptying the wallets of tourists and locals alike.
Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm
You know porky barbecue restaurant Pitt Cue? Well, its co-founder has joined forces with a property investor to open a series of food halls across the city. First up is Market Hall Fulham – complete with a 10-kitchen line-up from your wildest gastronomical dreams. Take a tour and you’ll find the likes of Yard Sale Pizza, a new Thai joint from Smoking Goat’s ex-head chef and loads more, all in an abandoned Edwardian tube station ticket hall. Sounds spooky, but you’ll only be shaking in your boots if you drink too many espressos from the Press Coffee stand.
Street Feast’s boozy Lewisham hub, open Friday and Saturday (from 5pm) in a former covered market.
A little bro to the creative complex of Netil House just down the road, this London Fields hub is a quirky gem, filled with rickety stands and more charming than the nearby Broadway and Schoolyard Markets. It’s best known for birthing Bao, but there are cracking cakes, Afro-tacos (yup, you read that right) and zippy pizzas too. Not much cover, but you can brave the hipsters and plonk down in the park opposite on sunny days.
Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11am-6pm
Charmingly located in the courtyard of beautiful St James’s Church, Piccadilly, with a special food market on Mondays and Tuesdays till 5pm.
Following the success of White City’s Pergola on the Roof, the bright sparks behind the format have launched this even bigger behemoth, which includes 850 seats, seven day-beds, two bars on different levels, weekend DJs and a rockin’ foodie offering that currently features burger barons Patty & Bun, DF/Mexico, duck obsessives Canard and Vietnamese BBQ joint MAM. Pergola’s communal tables (in the covered and heated space) are large enough to accommodate birthday parties, but also work well for those ‘I’m-only-staying-for-one-but…’ after-work nights. Open until October 2018.
Wednesday, noon-3.30pm, 6pm-11pm; Thursday-Saturday, noon-11pm; Sun (and bank hols), noon-10.30pm
Venue says Hidden alfresco garden and rooftop: drinking/dining in the heart of London, with 850 seats, seven day-beds, four restaurants and two bars.
Operating out of an eclectic jumble of shipping containers, Pop Brixton is a community initiative dedicated to supporting young local businesses – including indie food operators. Expect a host of boundary-busting traders and cafés ranging Baba G’s Bhangra Burger and Mama’s Jerk to Viet Box and Other Side Fried, plus several permanent restaurants including highly rated small-plates outfit Smoke & Salt. The vibe is open air but weatherproof, with regular live music and entertainment tossed into the mix.
Sunday-Wednesday, 9am-11pm; Thursday-Saturday, 9am-midnight
The Prince is a big ol’ comfy corner boozer in West Brompton. Well, maybe that’s understating things: it’s actually the old Prince of Wales pub, plus four interconnected townhouses and a massive English garden with a retractable roof. Inside the houses, there are three bars and four restaurants with a rotating cast of ace street-food vendors: currently, the roster includes Patty & Bun, the Begging Bowl Canteen (offshoot of the Peckham hit), chicken peddlers Coqfighter and Foley’s Bao & Yakitori Grill.
Sunday-Monday, noon-10pm, Tuesday-Thursday, noon-11pm; Friday-Saturday, noon-11.30pm
Venue says One street, three bars and four restaurants, plus music, an English summer garden and alfresco drinking and dining. Book via our website.
First there was Borough Market. When that got too touristy, everyone decamped to Maltby Street. When that went over, those-in-the-know nipped around the corner to the railway arches of Spa Terminus. It’s home to a range of producers – coffee roasters, butchers, bakers, cheesemakers – and opens to the public on Saturday mornings. Cruising from arch to arch is a pleasure, though note that there are two main sites – so make a beeline between Spa South and Druid Street for the full experience.
However strong your resolve to take a packed lunch to work every day, if you work in Soho there’s always the lure of Street Food Union, a collection of a dozen or so street-food stalls that set up shop on Rupert Street six days a week. Traders are on rotation, but newcomers are frequently added to the line-up, which currently includes self-explanatory stalls such as Slingin’ Po’ Boys, Don Arepa, Confit Street, Lils Falafel and the thrilling-sounding Yorkshire Burrito (yes, it's in a Yorkshire pudding).
The long riverside dining room is elegant if a little soulless, but the setting is picture-perfect: dining on the outside terrace with a view of Tower Bridge feels like posing for a London tourist brochure. Cynics might expect the food to disappoint. It didn’t. The lunch and dinner menu du jour offers great bang for buck, with many dishes lifted from the carte. Vegetables cost extra. New potatoes were an unnecessary addition to a lovely crisp-skinned bream with courgettes, fennel and tomato. A snappy salad added much-needed colour to a rewardingly varied plate comprising pithivier of rabbit leg confit and a ballotine of the saddle around herby forcemeat, either side of exquisite mashed potato. A nicely tart raspberry crème brûlée again showed what the kitchen does well: matching fine technique with focused flavours. The food may be French, but on a fine day Le Pont de la Tour can be a top London attraction. Typically British: our waiter admitted he’d arrived in the country only a few days earlier, and service slowed terribly towards the end of lunch. The adjoining primary-coloured Bar & Grill offers food that is more brasserie in style: more cheaply, more informally and with less sense of occasion.
Venue says Le Pont de la Tour’s sommelier team oversees an impressive collection of old and new world wines, including legendary maisons.