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Experience

Love at first bite: match with your perfect street food market

From the low-key lunch spot to the hype-generating hub, we’ve rounded up the best markets in London for every foodie personality

05.06.2021

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While terraces can be marvellous, a typical British Spring doesn’t usually boast terribly tempting weather for dining alfresco. So what to do, if you want to go out but don’t fancy sitting in a pub garden, slowly but steadily falling victim to frostbite? Happily, there is a solution: the street food market, a category in which London excels. Easily navigated at a brisk pace to ward off the chill, open-air (and therefore, mostly open) and home to some of the capital’s best and most adventurous food, markets are a win-win option. Whether you’re an organic-only north Londoner or more of a dirty-burger-with-extra-fries kind of person, we’ve rounded up the best the city has to offer.

Who? The discerning classicist

What? Maltby Street Market

@maltbystmarket

Hidden down a somewhat uninspiring alley in Bermondsey lined with railway arches is the standout brilliant Maltby Street Market, home to a constantly changing mix of traders. Smaller and quirkier than nearby Borough Market, this is one for you if you like a classic market feel, without an overwhelming choice of stalls. Make sure you drop by Bad Brownie for a sugar hit, The Cheese Truck for to-die-for toasties and – just as you’re feeling a little overindulged – Bumpin’ Rinds, purveyors of fresh juice, for a health reset.

Open Saturdays 10-5pm, Sundays 11-4pm | Maltby Street, SE1 3PA

Who? The minimalist magpie

What? Netil Market

@netilmarket

Those seeking a more under-the-radar option in London Fields should bypass Broadway Market and head straight to Netil Market around the corner. A lowkey, cool gem that’s open every Saturday, expect to find stalls ranging from vintage homeware and jewellery to top-tier street food. Many stalwarts of the London foodie scene made their names here, including BAO and Lucky Chip. Drop by Diwine Grapes, the sister-run, boutique wine shop and Italian deli, before a trip to Palm Greens, which does the most flavour-packed salads around.

Open Saturdays 11am-6pm | 13-23 Westgate Street, E8 3RL Who? The lunch break lover

Who? The lunch break lover

What? Street Food Union

@streetfoodunion_soho

If you happen to find yourself in Soho around lunchtime, thank your lucky stars that Street Food Union’s Rupert Street Market exists. Frankly, we’re surprised it does: food this delicious and affordable in central London just feels too good to be true. Grab a sandwich from Che Sandwich and be prepared to kiss goodbye to your usual supermarket choice, or try Lil’ Falafel for one of their ten-out-of-ten wraps.

Open Monday-Friday, 11.30am-2.30pm | 51-53 Rupert Street, W1D 7PQ

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Who? The eternal hypebeast

What? Leather Lane Market

An oldie but a goodie, Leather Lane Market in Holborn has been around for 400-odd years and still deserves its reputation as one of London’s very best markets. Once known (unsurprisingly, given its name) for shoes, it’s now earned a reputation for kickstarting some of the city’s best street food successes, like Daddy Donkey and Crosstown Doughnuts. If you consider yourself to have a good eye for the next big thing, spend an afternoon wandering the stalls here.

Open Monday-Friday, 10am-3pm | Leather Lane, EC1N 7TJ

Who? The Italian enthusiast

What? Mercato Metropolitano

@mercatometropolitano

Honestly, there’s hardly any need to book a flight to Italy this summer if you can get yourself to Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle. This is a behemoth of a space (45,000 square foot, to be exact) housing over 40 vendors, a micro-brewery, a cinema, a barber, a co-working space, a mushroom farm and a few community projects to boot. Phew. Though you’ll find dishes from around the world on offer, as the name would suggest, MM is really a homage to all things Italian: the fresh pasta, mozzarella and gelato are wildly good, and the artisanal Italian supermarket is just like something you’d find in Florence. Bellissima.

Open daily from 8am-late (11am on weekends) | 42 Newington Causeway, SE1 6DR

Who? The second-hand sourcer

What? North Cross Road Market

A lesser known South London secret, North Cross Road Market in Dulwich deserves more recognition for its enviable mish-mash of stalls selling homeware, street food and fresh produce. As if that weren’t enough, the street is also home to a highly perusable selection of independent shops, to mix things up. All we recommend is that you arrive as early as you can, to get the best deals. You’ll go for a pastry and a browse and end up leaving with six new dining chairs, a bicycle and a loaf of bread – and you won’t regret a single thing.

Saturdays 9am-5pm | Northcross Road, East Dulwich, SE22 9ET

Who? The Goop disciple

What? The Spread, Primrose Hill

@thespreadfood

More of an upscale farmers’ market than your typical street food fest, The Spread on Primrose Hill gathers 53 traders in a school playground every Saturday. It’s well worth a visit to pick up seriously fresh produce (think organic vegetables, cured meats and excellent smoked salmon) and have a browse of the food stalls. We recommend grabbing a crepe or a kebab, before finding yourself a spot on the hill for a picnic. A great lunch and an even better view – how could you say no?

Saturdays 10am-3pm | St Paul’s Schoolyard, Elsworthy Road, NW3 3DS

Who? The trend setter

What? River Walk Market

@riverwalkmarket

Founded by Real Food Festivals, who also run the Canopy Market in King’s Cross, the River Walk Market in Battersea is a relatively new addition to London’s street food scene. Set beside the river, next to the revamped Battersea Power Station, there’s a healthy selection of cheesemakers, bakers, charcuterie traders, sandwich makers and whatever else you fancy on offer. A great option if you’re looking to sound out a future classic. Follow them on Instagram at @riverwalkmarket for an update on opening times, post-pandemic.

Saturdays 10am-3pm | St Paul’s Schoolyard, Elsworthy Road, NW3 3DS

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