Food Glorious Food

Under the railway arches of London Bridge is Borough Market, one of the biggest outdoor food markets in the world. First established when the Romans were building the bridge; the market is now over 2,000 years old and the hippest hangout in town. So skip the supermarket and head here for your weekly staples and rub shoulders with chic Londoners and celebrity chefs in the process.

The market itself is a sensory overload. Every time you turn a corner you are confronted with new stalls bursting with food and drink and pungent smells of cooking, chocolate, cheese and flowers. It is a foodie’s paradise, Mecca for gourmets. But if you’re not a food snob and unfussed if your chicken is free range or Kentucky-fried, you won’t be bored. There is something to tickle everybody’s fancy.

A young crowd tends to descend in the evening so the atmosphere is chatty and buzzing. Come during the day for a more relaxed vibe, which is almost like a private club. With vases of fresh flowers on the bar, an open fire, good original food and friendly service, it’s easy to see why people keep coming back for more.

Make sure you go with a full appetite as you can try before you buy and will want to squeeze in breakfast, lunch and tea before you leave. Have a sausage in a bun – but don’t expect any old banger in a long white rubbery roll. Choose your sausage from venison, wild boar, Cumberland, pork and sage, and receive it in a floury bap, stuffed with rocket and chutney. Or try a toasted raclette sandwich, if you can bear to queue for it, as something is clearly worth the wait. Hungover? Have a ‘Hangover smoothie’ to replenish the system.

Once you’ve filled your belly and recharged your batteries, buy something fresh to take home for supper. Try the individual pies from Pie Minister and pick from a matador (beef steak, chorizo, olives, tomato, sherry and butter beans), a Mr Porky (pork, apples, shallots, leeks, Somerset coder and sage), a Thai chook (chicken, fragrant Thai green curry, sweet potato and lime) or a Heidi (goats cheese, sweet potato, spinach, red onion and roasted garlic). You can even buy mash, gravy made with red wine, onions and thyme and mushy minty peas to have with it.

Get some olives stuffed with garlic, anchovies or peppers, and soaked in olive oil, herbs or wine. Buy pesto from a huge wooden vat to have with some fresh pasta. Buy bread – sourdough, rye, wholemeal, soda with raisins, foccacia with garlic and rosemary, granary with walnut and honey. Buy cheese, organic meat, fresh fish, olive oil, organic tea, pastries, baclava, brownies, herbs, tomatoes (big, small, red, green, orange, yellow), cider from the New Forest and sloe gin. Get some fresh flowers for the kitchen and buy pudding for the children – lemon and raspberry tarts, dark chocolate torte, apple pies – and finish it off with Fresh Jersey clotted cream. You’ll go home with a full belly and an empty wallet – but it’s worth it.

Get your husband out of your hair and pack him off to the traditional barber at the market. He can have a good old-school hair and sideburn trim, leaving you to sample and shop in peace.

— Lucinda Baring

Borough Market
8 Southwark St
020 7407 1002

Opening Times
Thursdays: 11am-5pm
Fridays: 12pm-6pm
Saturdays: 8am-5pm

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