Borough Market, London

Every so often on a Saturday, I’ll trek across town (and the Thames) to shop at Borough Market, always returning with enough food to feed a small European state and cursing at the lack of space in the refrigerator. If you love food, it’s a great day out. If you don’t love food, it’s still a fascinating experience, but honestly, who doesn’t love food?

Apparently, Borough Market in its first incarnation was already in existence when the Ancient Romans built the first London Bridge. That makes me scratch my head in absolute wonderment. The Borough Market of today has existed on the present site for the past two and a half centuries. Let’s work that out… So people have been shopping here at the ‘modern’ Borough Market, since Robert Adam was alive and well, with his buildings popping up all over the place, and when George III was on the throne, only not quite properly bonkers yet.

On a recent visit to Borough Market, we bought bread from the bread stall that sells everything from baguettes to heavy, round loaves baked with rosemary and rock salt, olives, sundried tomatoes and other delicious flavours.

Then we moved on to a chocolate stall where massive blocks of pure wickedness stood in ultimate temptation as crowds pushed their way to the front of the queue.

Next door we found truffles in all sorts of exotic varieties, including vodka and orange and pink champagne.

But we couldn’t leave without picking up some spaetzle for the cupboard, from the German stall that sells all sorts of wurst and pickles with huge bottles of curry sauce.

Through the crush of foodies and tourists we found a friendly Cockney shouting out deals on his strawberries “Two for a pound!” (that’s punnets, not individual strawberries. If London ever gets that expensive, it’s definitely time to move).

Our noses twitched as we moved towards the seafood stalls where fresh fish, prawns and scallops in their shells sit on cooling beds of ice.

Next it was time to pick up some Belgian beer at the shop where shelves groan beneath a library of both imported varieties and English ales. I love Kriek, so a couple of bottles went into the bag.

As we rounded a corner, there was a busker singing incredibly badly into a microphone. His spot under a railway bridge echoed the already deafening assault on our ears so we walked quickly away, in search of lunch. En route, the busker’s straining voice was replaced by the tinkling jingle of an ice cream van.

Behind the van stands Southwark Cathedral, home to the Bad Bishop who got a bit confused after a few Christmas drinks, inadvertently stealing a car on his way home but conveniently unable to remember everything due to an alcoholic haze. (Do read the Bad Bishop link. For a story regarding a man of the cloth, this is too funny…)

Then, fatigued from the crowds and our now heavy shopping bags, we retreated for lunch at Fish.

For first-time visitors to Borough Market, be warned: it heaves with visitors. But all that crush is worth it for the atmosphere and friendly stall-holders who’ll talk for ages about their organic ostrich steaks or unusual spice blends and how to use them. It is, however, a costly excursion so unless you can afford to get carried away, it’s probably wise to stick to a budget and remind yourself that no, your fridge is not the white-wear equivalent of a tardis for food storage.

Nearest tube: London Bridge (make sure you take the Borough exit)

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Bron says:

    I love Borough Market and shop there every week – if you think it through a little it doesn’t need to be wildly expensive. It took me a long time though not to be seduced into a shopping frenzy but rather to buy what we needed for the week, knowing next week it would still be there! You can read about it –


  2. epicurienne says:

    Hi Bron,

    I just visited your blog and love it. REALLY good food ideas to inspire the food lover.
    Perhaps we could meet up sometime and you could teach me your Borough tricks? Perhaps I lack self-restraint when it comes to all that wonderful food…


  3. david says:

    hi there
    Borough Market is one of my clients, i send out regular produce and goings on updates to chefs, journo’s etc. my own pals now like getting these updates as well?
    im also in the end stages of setting up a demo kitchen at borough market

    if anyone is anyone interested, or if you know anyone who might be interested, please pass on my email address and get in touch!

    best wishes



  4. epicurienne says:

    Hi David,

    thanks for your comment. I’d love to receive your update. Sign me up! Will let all my foodie friends know about it, too… I think you’ll have a fair number of people getting in touch, somehow.


  5. andyroberts says:

    Barry Topp’s New Forest Cider stall is always worth a visit. Ask to try some of the new Normandy style sparkling cider fermented with a dash of cassis.


  6. epicurienne says:

    Hi Andy – thanks for the tip. I need French cider for my next galettes-fest!
    Will you be at the meet-up tonight?
    Hope to see you there.


  7. janmccourt says:

    I have been a trader at Borough for nearly eleven years now. My business, Northfield Farm, owes its existence to enthusiasts such as yourself. I am just dipping a toe into the water with my own blog. Keep the good work up.


    1. epicurienne says:

      Hi Jan – you don’t need to tell me twice. I’ll be blogging about Borough Market again. In fact, I’m overdue for a visit! I’ll let you know when I’m coming down. Would be lovely to meet you. In the meantime, I’ll check out your new blog and good luck! This blogging lark is addictive…


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