Borough Market

February 17, 2016 by Rich - Foodie Reviewer

Borough Market

You just can't beat a market can you? Probably the best, and maybe the only way of picking up perfectly fresh and seasonal produce. It just inspires me to get cooking. I’m fortunate enough to have travelled a fair bit. Believe me, if you wanna get the true flavour of a town, get your ass down to the local market. I never fail to be blown away by the drama and theatre that surrounds it. Just jump out of your comfort zone and dive straight in! I mean, what’s the worse that can happen? On my recent trip to India, Lou and I did just that. Not a single tourist was spotted, as we precariously navigated our way through endless lanes of wonderful fresh produce. I didn’t have a clue what most of it was, or what anyone was talking about. Oh and of course, Lou being blonde; well the locals certainly took a shine to her!

But that aside, I just remember the smells, sounds and the sights; my senses were in overdrive. The livestock section was a real eye opener. There’s no danger of loosing touch where fresh chicken comes from, if you see what I mean! No refrigeration here, so it’s the only way you can guarantee super fresh. Not for the faint hearted, but hey, that’s how they do it in these parts, and not just India; all over the world. I think lots of us, me included, become a little complacent as to where our food comes from. We just pick up an oven ready Chicken in Tesco’s without a second thought. To be brutally honest, if you can’t face up to how animals are slaughtered, you shouldn’t eat meat. Im a full on carnivore, and I somewhat struggle with this concept. But, I do make an effort with wise choices whenever I can. Buying free range for example. It makes me feel I am making a difference, albeit a little small! But hey, let’s not get too involved with the ethics of eating meat, important as it is, I’m not here to start a debate, some other time maybe! Lets lighten the mood a little!!

Back to those markets! Moving out of Asia, what about our French neighbours? Love em or loath em, these guys are the masters when it comes to farmers markets. In previous years we've holiday’d in rural France. Most small villages, if not all, have a weekly market. The way they layout fresh fruit and veg is wonderful. This art just seems to come as a natural talent. I can just loose myself for hours, wandering carelessly, tasting cheeses, salamis and hams. Us Brits too have embraced the Farmers market over previous years; they are popping up all over the place. Just wander along Southend High Street when market day is on. You can always pick up artisan bread, fresh local meat, fish, and even local beer.

But lets cut to the chase, and probably the main reason I love a market; street food. Where would a market be without street food! Gazing at food all morning certainly builds up a hearty appetite, and markets all round the world serve up some great street food. Noodles in Hong Kong, chilli crab in Singapore, weird things grilled on sticks in Bangkok (I say weird, as they are normally some kind of offal or insect!) savoury crepes (galetes) in France. All the way down to a proper local ‘banger’ in a bun, topped with fried onions in Southend! Ohh those fried onions, aren’t they just a delight!

But, if you want to have a go at circumnavigating the street food globe in just a few hours where do you go? Well I have the answer, just hop on C2C, and in a little over an hour you can be at foodie central, yep Borough Market. Located right next door to Southwark Cathedral you can spend hours wandering and tasting. Well, Lou and I hadn’t been here for a little while, so last weekend we made this pilgrimage to food heaven.

If you’ve never been to Borough Market, you’ve just got to give it a go, it gets busy, so an early start is essential to miss the rush. We spent hours last Saturday, meandering around the market, and picking up some damn tasty grub, and not forgetting the drink! I don’t think I came across any food stall I didn’t like. I thought it would be nice to give you guys a little insight in to some of my favourites. So here goes:

Monmouth Coffee
Great for an early morning coffee, and the coffee they serve here is superb. Probably the best flat white I’ve ever tasted. So, just join the queue (there will be a queue, you’ve been warned!) order your coffee of choice, maybe some toast and jam, find a vacant bench, or just squeeze in next to stranger. But don’t worry, its perfectly acceptable here, and trust me you’re be best friends by the time you leave!

Marias Market Café
You may remember, I reviewed Marias some months back, so just read that for the full story. All I would say, if you need a good bit of brekkie before tackling the market, this is the place. Get stuck in to bacon, egg, black pudding and Marias famous bubble, superb…that is all!

Mrs Kings Pork Pies
These are the real deal. Award winning, Melton Mowbray, handmade pork pies since 1853. Need I say more, just grab one and take it home for later, or eat it there and then. This is as good as it gets, you will not taste another pie like it.

If its something Spanish, give these guys a go. Superb Iberico hams, manchego cheese they’ve got it all. They even have a restaurant call Tapas Brindisa. Yep, one of my favourites, just pull up a chair, order a sherry and a few plates of the best Tapas in town. Or, just head to their Chorizo grill. Oh my, simply grilled Chorizo with rocket in a bun, simplicity at its best

Une Normande a Londres
No kidding, this French charcuterie is almost better than some of the charcuteries I’ve seen in France itself! It's a pure sausage fest! Well, ‘saucisson sec’ fest to be precise! Not forgetting proper stinky cheese, two of my favourite French classics! Be careful of that cheese when on the train home though; your fellow passengers may take offense to that rather ripe smell!

Roast To Go
Imagine the ultimate spit roast pork sandwich; now multiply that by 100 and your nearly there. The off shoot of the more formal ‘Roast’ Restaurant, this takeaway just serves up some of the best roast pork rolls your ever likely to eat. Add crackling, maybe a dollop of apple sauce, and this porkylicious treat will have you in swine heaven right down to the last bite.

A restaurant just serving up, yep you’ve guessed it, Fish! Grilled, steamed, poached, pan-fried or deep-fried, it’s up to you. Whats better, they have, similar to Roast to go, Fish (to go!) Give the fish finger sandwich a try. Freshly battered cod goujons in a doorstop sandwich with homemade tartar sauce. No Captain Birdseye here, just a fish finger sandwich as it should be.

Horn Ok Please
Strange name? If you’ve been to India, you will not doubt remember seeing this painted on the back of lorries. It just politely asks over taking vehicles to beep their horn so they know they are passing! But the food? These guys specialise in Indian street food, Dosa’s, Puri’s and Chaats (Chaat being Indian snacks). All pure veg, and the Indians cook the best veggie food on the planet in my view. So my veggie friends you can get stuck right in!

The Rake
Time for a beer? Probably the smallest pub in London, but with the largest selection of craft beer I’ve ever seen. With a sign above the bar ‘no crap on tap’ don’t go in here expecting a pint of Carling, you will be ‘politely’ asked to leave!! Gosh, I could just spend hours in here!

I really could go on…

Seriously guys, I’ve only scratched the surface here, but hopefully you get the picture. I would have to write a whole book to cover everything in the Market, now theres a thought! If you love food, and you’ve never been, get yourself up to Borough Market, and what better excuse do you need; the Market is celebrating 1000 years in 2016, yes you heard me right 1000 years no less. So, chuck on your eating trousers, jump on the train and help them celebrate this milestone!


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