Borough Market: Eating (London)

At the end of April I posted a large gallery of photographs taken at London’s Borough Market. In the shadow of Southwark Cathedral and right by London Bridge, Borough Market is a tourist attraction in its own right and the photographs from that first gallery may have given you some sense of how crowded it is on most days. You may have also got the sense that the Borough Market—unlike Montreal’s Jean-Talon market—is not really a farmers’ market: there are in fact very few produce vendors there. What the market is really good for is retail product from small-scale and artisanal producers as well as local fish and meat. It’s also very good for casual eating; of this it may have more than Jean-Talon (though we were, of course, at Jean-Talon at the end of October). The first gallery was focused almost entirely on retail establishments. This gallery—which is even larger—focuses almost entirely on the vendors selling prepared food. 

The pictures were taken on two separate visits a few weeks apart. The first visit was on a Friday when the market was just jammed—it was quite difficult to move around in some parts of it on account of the crush. Our second visit was on a Monday, when not all traders are present (not everyone trades on all days of the week), and it was a much more manageable experience (I had a much nicer time at the Neal’s Yard Dairy branch on this occasion as well and will probably put up a separate post about that later). This is a double-edged sword, of course, for both vendors and shoppers. For the vendors who do open in the first half of the week there are fewer customers; and customers who go on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays miss a lot of what makes the market special—very few of the small-scale cheese-makers are there, for example and also missing (tragically for me) is Mrs. King’s Pork Pies.

Still, whichever day you go, you are likely to find enough food options to make you happy. We were certainly very happy on both occasions—and it was all quite reasonably priced too. If you dare, launch the slideshow below for a captioned walk through most of the market’s food. The things we actually ate are towards the end of each broad category of food.

My plan had been to go back to Borough Market one more time before our time in London ends (just a week and a half now) both to buy some turbot and sole to cook and to score a couple of Mrs King’s pies. But in the wake of the raised terror alert currently in place I’m not certain that it’s the best idea to visit such a densely crowded place. It’s not that the city in general feels very different than it had before the Manchester attack but perhaps because we’re here with our kids (and also with responsibility for other people’s far older kids), or perhaps because we’ve been living in a small town in semi-rural Minnesota for 10 years now, we’re a bit more cautious than we otherwise might be. Let’s see how it goes.


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