This past weekend saw us heading to London for a much anticipated foodie adventure and boy did we have a good time! We planned a weekend of eating and sampling lots of food, with visits to restaurants, popups and a food market. We have reviewed each of the restaurants separately, this post is all about our trip to Borough Market.
We were up early on Saturday morning and with empty bellies we headed to Borough Market for their 1,000th Anniversary. Now we would like to say this was good planning on our part, but it was sheer luck that we happened to be in London this particular weekend and were able to take part in the celebrations.
The floors at each entrance to the Three Crown Square were covered in wash-away paint allowing shoppers to move around, taking their footprints with them and creating an ever evolving work of art that you can see on their website.
For anyone who hasn’t visited Borough Market it’s an assault on the senses. Markets are busy and noisy, smells hit you from every corner, and for that reason they are not everyone’s idea of a great day out. We spent 6 hours there, arriving by 10am and leaving around 4pm, we were in heaven. We were like a pair of kids in a sweetie shop, we didn’t know where to start and I know the silly grin on Michelle’s face was mirrored on my own.
After wandering through the fruit and veg stalls (seriously the most varied and beautiful stalls we have ever seen) we realised we were hungry and that we needed breakfast!
We settled on Portena, an Argentinian street food vendor selling empanadas, we had a selection of these delicious pastries filled with a variety of beef, chicken, ham, cheese and caramelised onion (our favourite).
We noticed an ever increasing queue forming across the road at the Monmouth Coffee Company and decided that had to be our next stop once our stomachs had their fill. Our basis for choosing coffee here was that with a queue this length, the coffee had to be good (to be fair this method of selection has not always worked in the past but we struck lucky this morning). We were brought a sample of the filter coffee of the day (Karimikui from Kenya, Michelle bought beans to take home), while we waited and our order was taken. We weren’t disappointed, the coffee was perfect and served at the right temperature ready to drink.
Time to explore and shop, we wandered round sampling the foods on offer, every stall owner engaged and keen to promote their product. We’ve both been at food events where samples have been sadly lacking, you don’t buy what you can’t taste, but that wasn’t an issue here! We both bought cheese and sausage at The French Comte, where we could sample a variety of aged cheeses; bread from Karaway Bakery where the woman let us taste as many samples of bread as we fancied, we’ve frozen the cinnamon brioche we bought to make bread and butter pudding at a later date; a variety of spices and dried chillies from Spice Mountain; and tea from Tea2you where the samples on offer resulted in us taking home a first and second flush of Darjeeling and an Oolong tea. We could both have bought a lot more, but we did have to get everything home in our suitcases so restraint was needed.
It was time for another coffee and a chance to rest tired legs. We struck lucky and got a seat at a table on the pavement outside a small coffee shop, allowing us time to sit and soak up the atmosphere. Trains rattle overhead as we sat listening to the DJ playing some chilled music and indulged in some people watching, such an eclectic mix of people barging around the market, with a great view of The Shard to boot. We order a second cup just so we could continue to sit there.
However our thoughts do turn to a late lunch and the one stall who’s smells have chased us around the market all day, it has to be Gujarati Rasoi. Indian Thali for lunch, rice and three different vegetable curries served in a box and eaten with a spoon standing under a railway bridge, we could not be happier. While we stand waiting to be served we watch a woman order and eat a samosa, the utter joy on her face when she eats the samosa, she forgets to offer one to her husband who is standing beside her!
Aside from the fact that we’ve had a great day, eaten and bought some lovely produce, I think what has been most impressive is that at no point today were we overwhelmed by the smell of fried fast food, so often the only option at many food events and markets we’ve been to. Event organisers can learn something from Borough Market, you’ve curry, pad-thai, german sausage and coffee stands all alongside one another, but none overwhelm the other.
A great day out and two pairs of tired legs we head back to our hotel, our heads are just buzzing with ideas!0