Borough Market

So recently I caught up with one of the girls I hadn't seen in months. We were deciding on where to go and suddenly she had the bright idea of going to Borough Market. "Oooh", I thought. Of all the must-see places in London, Borough Market is one place I don't think I've been to since I was a little girl. So, I said yes, we have to go.

Good thing I had a miniscule breakfast; Borough Market is my kind of paradise. A mish mash of sweet, savoury, meaty, veggie, healthy and just plain weird food and drinks. We honestly just didn't know where to begin. We meandered through the whole market first, eyeing up the creamy oysters, marvelling at the ginarmous pieces of cheese, ooh-ing at the chunky pieces of meat being prepared for burgers and mmm-ing at the varieties of olives and fruits.

Bottles of all sorts of vinegars from wild garlic vinegar, tomato vinegar to cider vinegar...

I loved the remnants of history preserved around the market; a long time ago it was a significant area because it was the only place that linked south London to the City.

Wondering around the market is a great thing to do before buying anything at Borough Market. There are so, so many stalls clustered under the arches, it does feel a tiny bit intimidating upon arrival and the sheer number of stalls and variety of food and drink on offer can be a little overwhelming. But once you get over that, which you will do very quickly, it is incredible.

Another tip I would suggest is to withdraw cash from a bank before arriving at the market. Unlike Spitalfields Market, very few places accept card payment. There is a Natwest next to the market but the queue was very long. Instead, go to the Lloyds on the road behind the HSBC opposite Natwest; the queue was short.

The profusion of smells, sights and sounds all in one place makes Borough Market so unique. Our afternoon at Borough Market was well timed; it was the market's 1000th birthday and they were celebrating with a Footsteps in Time event. Visitors were invited to hop into  tubs of different coloured paints and mark their footprints at the entrances of the market with the paint. Brilliant idea! (They are hosting a whole lot of other foodie events over the next few months, so head over their website for more info)

There was a huge selection of stalls selling fresh juices. I am a huge fan of juices and it was unbelievably hard to decide where to buy from (Acai Sublime or Very Berry Good?). In the end, we both bought Ginger Kick juices from Chegworth Valley, who actually supplied one of my previous employers. Chegworth juices are so lush and I highly recommend them (try their apple and beetroot juice, the flavours work really well together).

I love the vibrant colours!

For food, we were both so indecisive! If only we had a guide telling us what was the best place to buy food! The way we narrowed our choices was by deciding we would choose something different ("hot dogs are so standard" she said).

My problem is that I have to be veggie outside home. I really, really, really wish lots of London places are halal friendly because I was dying for a wild game burger or a salted beef bagel at the market.

The Veggie Table stall was where we chose our place for lunch. Initially when I saw their stall, I thought, oh dear lord, they better not sell mushroom burgers. Every high street burger chain's veggie option is a 'shroom burger and if I have one more...

Thankfully, they had a unique take on the veggie burger; sweet potato (massive sweet potato fan here) and chickpea burger on whole wheat buns with a salsa and onion jam. It was absolutely gorgeous. The burger was soft, sweet and meaty. I could eat that again and again. In fact, I've been pestering my mum to make veggie burgers for a while now, (she's been sceptical; "a veggie burger? Don't tell me you're becoming a hipster,") but after I showed her the photo, she was won over!

The photo of the salads above don't give any justice to how they actually looked. Oh my gosh, I kid you not, the moment I realised they sold salads in boxes I wanted one (good restraint on my part!). 

There was one stall that sold a humongous selection of breads; I was in awe.

The fruit and vegetable stalls never ceased to amaze me. There was a huge variety of tomatoes on sale at one stall; the tomatoes looked incredibly juicy and succulent. I'm definitely coming with my mum to Borough Market for a fruit & veg shop. Plus as the colder days are arriving, it means it's that time of the year when we buy lots of veg - especially tomatoes, garlic and peppers - and roast them (great for a snack).

The beef tomatoes look like mini pumpkins, don't you think? 

The watermelons were huge, I don't think I've ever seen one so big before!

They also sold Red Delicious apples ( looks like the apple Snow White takes a bite of) and that says a lot. Red Delicious apples are the only kind of apples I like and I find it very hard to find them, so I was over the moon when I saw them at Borough Market (naturally I stocked up)!

The Taste Croatia stand had some interesting things for sale. They had this thing that was like a chocolate spread and tasted a little bit like nutella.

Of course there were plenty of chocolate and dark chocolate stalls. Don't you just want to take a huge bite out of these chocolate chunks? Or play chocolate jenga (winner gets to eat it all...just an idea)?

There was even a restaurant where everything on its menu, from the starters through to the desserts, contained cacao. A place worth a visit for sure.

The chocolate shop that stood out for me, and is just on the boundaries of the market was Rabot, which seems to be some sort of subsidiary of Hotel Chocolat. It had that kind of feeling that evokes the plantains, and has a completely different aesthetic to Hotel Chocolat, which has a more clean and sleek look. Rabot, for me, was all about evoking the regions from where its cacao and dark chocolate products come from (think wooden flooring, wooden panelling, pieces of cacao scattered across shelves).

I succumbed to temptation and bought a pack of cacao nibs (can be used for smoothies, porridge, cookies, ice-cream, salads. roast lamb etc). When I opened the pack at home, it had that seductive smell of dark chocolate, and one nib was powerful in itself; crunchy yet the after notes were bitter with a great depth of flavour. Pure chocolate heaven. Every now and again, I just open the pack and take a sniff of it. Call me odd, but the aroma is just so addictive.

I had a great time in Borough Market. I am definitely coming here again; there were just so many foods and drinks I wanted to try. And, actually, because of the huge variety, I think it would be a cool place to go to on a date.

Anyway, I am most definitely going to Borough Market with my mum so that we can go all out on buying fruit and veg. The farmers' market we usually buy our fruit and & veg from has a completely different atmosphere. Borough Market's atmosphere draws you in and you just don't want to leave.

This isn't a market just for tourists to enjoy. It is for everyone.

Happy 1000th Birthday, Borough Market!

Mara xxx

No comments:

Post a comment