We have loads of friends coming through London all the time, I often give tips on where to go and what to see all over the city but just this past week I've pointed at least 3 parties in the direction of Borough Market, noting my favorite places to nibble, shop and sip. It occurred to me that rather than my usual jotting down on a scrap of paper or, when I'm feeling more organized- sending an email with links, I could make a blog entry and just link everyone to it. If it ever needs an update, well, then just update the blog...
So here goes, a list that will hopefully serve some very well.
I generally enter Borough Market from the London Bridge Station approach. Passing the temptations of Tapas Brindisa only to save myself for the dining ahead.
This summer I noticed a new addition to the market and was intrigued- rough hewn boutique called The Rabot Estate had opened in a spot just beyond Brindisa and just before that beautiful florist's shop. I had high hopes on first glance, but more thorough investigation revealed a wall of the Hotel Chocolate range. I may be a total and unrepentant chocolate snob, but I don't care for Hotel... I first encountered them at The Southbank Chocolate Festival this past spring and was impressed by their marketing and corporate strategies but was unimpressed by their chocolate. It turns out that Rabot is just a rebranding of Hotel, single sourced, smaller batched but much the same. Now, if you like Ghiradelli Chocolate or Cadbury, you'll like Hotel and Rabot, I just don't care for it.
So my first stop in the market is generally Monmouth Coffee. A great place for a flat white, latté, filter drip, name your poison. Mind the line if you get there later than the crack of dawn, but they do have kind people who move down the line jotting down orders when the queue is out of hand.
Nest stop, Neal's Yard Dairy, where you can sample your way down the counter and might very well feel like an expert on British cheeses at the end. Make sure you check out the humidifying system- a beautiful marriage of a rainfall shower head and an old wine barrel.
Now return to the market, taking note of the German Deli across the street. Go in if you like german things, they have some nice bits and bobs...
Proceed to your left and across the street from Monmouth, right next to Ginger Pig, is Brindisa Spanish Foods Shop (the shop counterpart to the tapas bar down the road and numerous other lovely places in the franchise). Outside you can't miss, mustn't miss the lovely chorizo + piquillo pepper + rocket + crusty grilled bread drizzled in grassy olive oil sandwiches. The double is tempting, but there's a lot more eating to do, so go single. Browse inside the shop and emerge on the other side, perhaps with your carry bag a little heavier from some gran reserva jamon or PX vinegar. Turn to your right and pop into the queue at Shellseekers and have some of their lovely scallops or any of the other delicious critters they're serving up on a shell.
Keep moving in the direction or detour through the Jubilee Market and settle in for a cooking demo, sample some lovely scrummy truffle goodness. Or stop in at The Cinnamon Tree stand and pick up a cinnamon biscuit imprinted with a gorgeous elephant image (their shortbread owls are nice, too, but you'll never regret the cinnamon elephant).
At the intersection of Rochester Walk and Middle Row you'll find Roast's little stand (full restaurant is upstairs) where you can have an amazing pork sandwich with crackling.
Just before you cross the road into Green Market take one last detour, wiggling in between the two butchers (Wyndham House Poultry and Northfield Farm), down a side avenue and pick up a creme caramel and a Chegworth Valley juice. I can highly recommend the Apple Beetroot and the Rhubarb. Or really any flavor.
Now make your way to the Green Market and definitely pass up the offerings at Fish! Nothing really amazing there. In the Green Market you'll find some great charcuterie from Spain, France, etc etc. But the best thing going there is the non-raclette Raclette at Kappacasein. Really, how could you go wrong with broiled cheese, potatoes and bread and pickly bits? You can't. So fill your belly a little more, if you can, with this NR-Raclette. And keep your eyes peeled for Richard Haward's oysters on the half shell. You'll want them with fizz if they're offering.
Now if you have any dessert you feel like enjoying picnic style, you can go fight your way to a grassy patch in the garden of Southwark Cathredral. It's a nice little spot, but the pigeons are ruthless so beware and be watchful!
Now to walk all of this off you'll be happy to know that there's a very pleasant walk along the Thames stretching all the way to The Tate Modern and once they've finished the Blackfriars Tube Station extension all the way to the London Eye and beyond.