Who would have thought that a station’s drippy underbelly would ever become the home of London’s largest and best-loved food market? Stuffed to the rafters with the assorted wares of the motley gaggle of traders, the place is a kaleidoscope of nature’s bounty, filled with fresh produce, cheeses the size of wagon wheels and meat from anything that can legitimately be shot, covered in some kind of marinade and stuffed into a great hulking sandwich that you will almost certainly slop all down your front.
The market is split roughly into two halves. One is made up of permanent traders, whose open-fronted shops runneth over with artfully displayed octopussies and comedy-sized gourds, and the other is full of day traders and their stalls of handmade cakes and fudges and meringues and nuts and bread and tea and, er, granola, which isn’t really my bag but is very popular among puritan types and rabbits.
But the best stall of all belongs to the Pickle Man.
The Pickle Man isn’t really called the Pickle Man, but it doesn’t matter because it’s always the same guy and he is absolutely MENTAL for pickle. And chutney. And marmalade, jam, curd…basically anything that comes from the ground and can be mashed up and put in a jar. His enthusiasm is infectious and everything he sells is magnificent, from the pineapple and chilli chutney to the passionfruit curd (a jar of which, apparently, he once polished off inside half an hour, the greedy fuck. I don’t blame him though, it’s buff.)
You’d be a mug to eat before you go as there are so many sexy lunches to be had, but don’t get overexcited and get the first thing you see. There are dozens of traders hawking hot food all over the place; pick right and it could be the best thing you ever eat out of a little polystyrene tray. Everything’s quite drippy though, so take wet wipes.
It’s crowded as fuck, so if you can get in on a weekday you’ll get to see (and sample) so much more. I’d also strongly recommend getting cash out before you get there; few of the traders take card and there’s a twenty-minute wait for the cash machines on Borough High Street. It’s both a tourist destination and in Central London, so some things can get quite expensive, but it’s all artisan shit from independent traders so don’t beat yourself up about spending twenty quid on that bottle of truffle oil. You can get a banging lunch for about a fiver though, so it certainly won’t break the bank.
Borough Market’s website is pretty comprehensive, but all you really need to do is go to London Bridge station and follow your nose. Er, and I think the Pickle Man is actually called The Cherry Tree. Less descriptive, I feel.
Address: 8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.