Borough Market Kitchen brings the community together with delicious world cuisine
Borough Market has a rich and storied history that can be seen in every corner, every worn wooden panel, every thick iron girder. Now that 21 years have passed since the market’s rebirth as a public-facing hub for the best produce and food on offer, a special addition has been created, the Borough Market Kitchen.
21 selected food stalls have been brought into the rear space of the market, lining an enclosed, covered, communal dining area where market-goers have truly world-class hot and cold offerings to choose between and enjoy. Some familiar Borough faces can be found here: namely Brindisa Kitchen, Nana Fanny’s and The Bath Dairy – all shining examples of why this market attracts food-lovers from all over the world. Adding to this roster are plenty of new, exciting ventures.
We sampled bold, invigorating, daring tacos from Padre, a new concept from Nicholas Fitzgerald (formerly of El Pastor, The Clove Club and a number of stand-out Mexican locations). We tried three separate taco dishes: carne asada, carnitas, and cauliflower el pastor. All of them unravelled with startling, moreish flavours, yo-yoing between bright acidity and classic rich, nutty, and warming Mexican notes. With a menu that subverts expectations at each turn, Padre delivers what we felt to be our pick of the offerings available. Even the tortilla chips stopped us in our tracks – fluffy, crunchy chips with a red guacamole studded with toasted pumpkin seeds, chilli, spices and tomatoes. A guaranteed return-visit for us, and a real shame for anyone to miss.
Rudie’s Jerk Shack is an interesting appearance – fresh from Shoreditch’s Box Park, Rudie’s dishes out traditional jerk chicken made in classic jerk-drums, full of sensational, whopping flavour.
Mei Mei is an unmissable addition to the market. A concept from rising culinary star Elizabeth Haigh (formerly of Hackney’s Pidgin), this sit-down eatery hits huge hammer-blows of nostalgia, straight from the hawker stalls and Kopi shops of Singapore. With every detail from the porcelain to the tiles being meticulously chosen and authentic, and a menu featuring comfort food favourites, this is one spot that only stands to gather more momentum with time.
A lighter, but no less exciting stall is Shuk – meaning “market” in Hebrew. Tantalising with Tel-Aviv style cuisine, Shuk delivers fantastic punch into both traditional and modern Israeli dishes and salads. With great upcoming names behind this venture, it’ll likely be a favourite.
Khanom Krok stands its ground as a long-time Borough Market feature. Having served satisfying, exotic Thai dishes previously in a different market section near Southwark Cathedral, the stall has now appeared in the Kitchen, and is offering up the same generously-portioned treats as before. Particular favourites are the Beef Panang curry, Mango with Sticky Rice, and of course, the titular Khanom Krok coconut mini-pancakes. Soft, sweet, and above all creamy, they still do not disappoint.
The Black Pig perhaps exemplifies the spirit of the Borough Market Kitchen, sourcing ingredients directly from The Parma Ham and Mozzarella stand and Bread Ahead, and combining them into an offering that becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Small cones of Salume are enjoyable to pick at while browsing the market, but the grilled Italian sausage focaccia packs a delightfully herbaceous fennel salsiccia fresca with rich smoked scamorza and zingy spiced aioli into fistfuls of toothy focaccia, forming a stand-out belly-filler that packs away well for a take-home treat.
Again migrating from another part of the market, La Tua Pasta keeps its shine, with decadent portions of fresh egg pasta (and gnocchi), prepared in a plethora of authentic styles from across Italy. While a complex sauce of slow-cooked wild boar ragú was inviting and rich, the simple, classic pesto remains unmatched in our opinion.
We barely scratched the surface of the line-up at the Borough Market Kitchen. Everywhere one looks, another chef works to turn out stunning dishes, another cuisine appears from a far corner of the earth. With a requirement that at least a third of the ingredients are sourced from the market, each of these stalls is rooted in the market community. This rubs off on visitors, too: the communal seating encourages friendly peeking at other exotic dishes, conversation, bonding. The Borough Market Kitchen is a much-needed opportunity to bring together anyone and everyone in the name of good food.
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
Borough Market Kitchen in located at 8 Southwark Street London SE1 1TL, for further information visit their website here.