London’s best food markets

By Issy D’Arcy Clark for British Airways High Life magazine

Photography by John Holdship.

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September 2017

From artisan bread to fresh fish, sloe gin-cured duck to Sri Lankan hoppers, London’s food markets offer a taste for all palates. Here’s our guide to the capital’s traditional and emerging markets for foodies.

Every foodie worth their salted caramel has been to Borough Market – London’s oldest and liveliest food market.

Borough Market

Every foodie worth their salted caramel has been to Borough Market. London’s oldest – and liveliest – food market is a sprawling collection of food stalls under a classic canopy of wrought ironwork. It sells everything a hungry visitor could possibly want, from specialist cheeses to rare-breed meats.

In the know… For the best way to experience all it has to offer, book yourself into the official Gastrotour, lead by chef Celia Brooks, to learn the stories behind the produce on offer.

Nearest Tubes: London Bridge or Borough

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Druid Street Market

Druid Street Market in Bermondsey is still considered an upstart among London food markets and uses its newness to promote cutting-edge culinary trends. Alongside the standard artisan bread and craft beer, there are pop-ups serving sloe gin-cured duck, grilled Maldon rock oysters and Sri Lankan hoppers. There are also guest traders and chefs, as well as weekly cookbook signings.

In the know… Bread & Butter, a small Oxfordshire company, have brought the delights of cultured butter to Borough Market – they claim it’s ‘the world’s butteryest butter’.

Nearest Tubes: Bermondsey or London Bridge

  • Greek2Go in Soho’s Berwick Street Market.

    On the go

    Greek2Go’s signature souvlaki – fluffy pitta bread filled with grilled meat or cheese – is stationed at Berwick Street Market from Monday to Friday, 11:00-14:30. Nearest Tubes: Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road.

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  • The Good And Proper Tea van at Brockley Market © Toby Allen.

    True brew

    Starting out just a few years ago in an old 1974 Citroen van, these loose-leaf fanatics now have a permanent store in Clerkenwell, but their trusty van can still be found in Brockley Market every Saturday.

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  • The legendary halloumi fries from Brockley Market’s Oli Baba.

    Hummus is where the heart is

    After living in the Middle East for over six months and eating hummus almost every day, Oli Baba owner Abu Hassan was inspired to create meat-free Levantine cuisine that combines authentic ingredients with British seasonal produce.

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Duke of York Square Fine Food Market

It’s only fitting that the smartest area of London should also be home to the most sophisticated food market in town. Every Saturday the nattiest selection of stalls is set up, much to the delight of Chelsea-dwellers and discerning travellers alike. Seasoned pros head to Casa Cannoli first for a little taste of Sicily, while newcomers are always drawn to the kaleidoscopic cupcakes at Crumbs & Doilies.

In the know… There are always big queues outside the Dumpling Van, which serves delicious seasonal gyozas.

Nearest Tube: Sloane Square

Brockley Market

While Brockley Market is great for foodies looking to scoop up snacks and treats, it’s also ideal for those hoping to collect some fresh produce for trying out new recipes back home. Oli Baba’s meat-free kitchen serves plates of heavenly halloumi fries. Veasey and Sons Fishmongers is packed to the gills with mussels, mackerel and everything in between, while Brockmans Farm Produce is stacked with fresh bunches of rainbow chard.

In the know… No one could guess that My Detox Diet’s rich pear and chocolate cake could be gluten-free.

Nearest Tube: Lewisham DLR

  • Enjoy fresh pastries and other fine foods at Duke of York Square Market.

    Did you know… ?

    Before it opened to food vendors, this Chelsea square was once the Duke of York’s army barracks, and the former Royal Military School building which sits in it now houses the Saatchi Gallery.

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Berwick Street Market

With a history spanning back all the way to 1778, Berwick Street Market has done well to keep up with the times. A global selection of stalls is on offer at this central London stop, visitors will find everything from falafels to waffles, while conventional flower, fruit and veg stalls are scattered about, too. Ronald Stannett, the oldest flower market stall in London, still blossoms today, with bunches of fresh dahlias.

In the know… Be sure to take time to admire the wonderful array of vendor names, such as Chipping Forecast, a fish and chip shop, and Tongue ‘n’ Cheek, an Italian specialist in unusual cuts of meat.

Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Netil Market

The little brother of roof terrace extravaganza Netil House goes a long way to ensure that north London is not overlooked when it comes to food markets. An eclectic mix of edibles can be found here, ranging from Lemlem Kitchen’s Eritrean offerings - specialities include ‘afrotacos’ with beef shin – to ORA’s Italian craft beer selection. There’s also a smattering of craft stalls.

In the know… Pick up We Are Arrow’s delicate handmade jewellery and Arma Glass’s geometric sculptures and ornaments; they’re beautifully unique.

Nearest Tube: London Fields Overground

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