If you’re a foodie, like strolling around a market and are familiar with London Town, then you’ve no doubt heard of the capital’s behemoth outdoor markets; Borough Market, Camden Market and Portobello Road market. Yet, you may not know that this is one city that’s actually awash with market trader venues – they’re absolutely everywhere; many of them little known but excellent. Not least this deserves-to-be-better-known trio that are ideal for guests at hotels in West End London England…
(St. James Church Courtyard, 197 Piccadilly W1J 9LL/ open: 11am-5pm Monday-Tuesday; 10am-6pm Wednesday-Saturday)
Located right in the heart of the capital – and pretty much just around the corner from so many luxury hotels in London West End, such as The Piccadilly London West End – this food-and-crafts-vending haven calls home the courtyard of a Grade I-listed church, one of legendary Restoration-era architect Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpieces. And that ensures, don’t doubt it, that it’s far from a run-of-the-mill Central London street food destination. Not least because, open six days a week, it’s the place to head to in Mayfair for fantastic hot and fresh food on Mondays and Tuesdays and then for exquisite trinkets and gifts on any other day of the week.
Market Hall Fulham
(472 Fulham Road SW6 1BY)
Housed in an Edwardian architectural treasure, the one-time ticket hall for Fulham Broadway Tube station, this venue sees the reintroduction to the capital of an old-school idea, a food hall – and so well realised is it, you might wonder why the idea of the food hall went away in the first place. Comprising permanent traders like Thima by Farang, Calcutta Canteen, Claude’s Deli and Soft Serve Society, as well as a big communal dining area that sits more than 200, a coffee shop, nine kitchens and a bar brimming with the very British craft beers going, this place is simply perfect for those who like to roll their love of food and drink and enthusiasm for fine aesthetics together.
Moreover, the emphasis is very much on sustainability at this destination – to be found just down the road from Craven Cottage, home to Fulham FC, (the oldest football club in London) – for, not only has its building’s listed features been restored to their former glory but also all tableware is disposable. Admirable, indeed!
Berwick Street Market
(Berwick Street W1F 0PH/ open: 8am-6pm Monday Saturday)
Finally, in some ways this one isn’t exactly what you’d class as ‘lesser known’ in the London market stall scene (after all, if you’re regular visitor to the oh-so lively, diverse Soho district, you’re bound to have walked past it several times), yet it’s an undoubted old-school open-air market and it’s to be found slap-bang in the centre of the West End, at that. An historic centre then for the vending of traditional fruit and veg, its 20 or so stalls clustered at the end of Berwick Street keep alive a market-trading tradition on this spot that stretches back to the 18th Century, yet in recent years it’s developed a fine name in the street food stakes too. Which is a moot point because ‘traditional’ might not be the most apt term to describe it today, owing to the fact that (like so much of that surrounds it), it’s been a – delete as appropriate – benefactor/ victim of gentrification, ensuring that street food now, indeed, rules the roost, with stalls and pop ups from the likes of Wow Shees’s Egyptian pittas, Freebird Burritos, indie farmers’ Soho Dairy and The Jerk Drum’s Caribbean. But, boy, are their wares tasty!