Our Favourite Markets (near the Farringdon office)
As it turns out, the &You team are quite fond of talking about food. Which types of food? Well, we’ve had long debates over the prime consistency of hummus, how best to marinade a barbeque pork loin, and whether scotch eggs really are the next big hipster thing - while booking a meal out is met with the same serious attention as organising an integrated marketing campaign.
Once, we tried dipping a prawn cracker into chocolate sauce (to prove that the salt/sweet combo could be delicious), and then went back to our spreadsheets like nothing happened.
So, when our Catherine declared that she was taking part in ‘Veganuary’, we were both proud and a little sceptical (she’s smashing it, by the way). In a dynamic and cosmopolitan district like Farringdon, we’re spoiled for lunch-time options. Michelin star restaurants sit next to long established Italian delis. And chain favourites (Pret-a-Manger, Leon…) whip up the too-busy-to-lunch-properly trade, amongst the cream of EC1 gastronomy: our street-food markets!
Here’s an introduction to some of the best street food within a 10-minute walk from our office - just be sure to stop by for a quick coffee and a chat before you go home.
Leather Lane Market
This market has been feeding people for over 400 years. Once part of a notorious Italian and Jewish slum that stretched most famously through Saffron Hill and Frying Pan Alley – Dickens’ inspiration for Oliver Twist! – You’re more likely to see North-African salad bars or rub shoulders with trendy digital marketing types. But that doesn’t mean Leather Lane has lost any of its swaggering Dickensian charm; fruit stall hawkers yell avocado prices, as local members of the Yiddish community greet each other in the street. If you’re wanting to take lunch-time easy, Leather Lane is where we’d suggest you go. Find a spot by the pavement (like the rest of us), tear the paper off of the falafel wrap and watch the people, and pigeons, go by.
What to Eat:
Astro-Vegan – Exclusively vegan, they’re popular for polenta frittatas and north Italian salads.
Tony’s Mediterranean – A local favourite –1) choose a plastic container (three sizes), 2) Attack the buffet (full of home cooked North African dishes) 3) go back for more.
Grill My Cheese – You laugh. It’s just grilled cheese, you say. But this tiny stall - set up by two enterprising sisters - has long queues for a reason. The cheese and bread is of high quality, and the recipes are experimental.
Jerkkies – What would Leather Lane market be like without Jerkkies’ pounding sound system? Probably one of the most popular stalls, this Caribbean favourite is like something straight out of Notting Hill Carnival. Every day.
Exmouth Street is a bit like Monmouth Street, or Neal’s Yard. With the fairy lights, the patisseries and adorable Victorian shop signs, it all seems a bit too Instagram ready. A bit too romantic. But fear not, once the hub of London’s wealthier Italian community, Exmouth market is where the exciting stuff is happening. This is where people go to eat well, and then maybe - just because they can - take that birds-eye snap of brunch. Hashtag #Hungry.
What to Eat:
Trastevere – Probably one of the homeliest market stalls in the city. Be an Italian grandchild for five minutes (and just five pounds), as these two sweet Roman grandparents serve you dishes exclusively from the district of Trastevere. Big portions.
Morito – Moro is one of the most popular Lebanese restaurants in London. Morito is their bite sized stand down the road. What could go wrong?
Café Kick – Gastronomically speaking, this unassuming little bistro serves some of the most creative (and healthy) dishes in the street, with a menu that changes every day. Alcoholically speaking, you should come back after work…
Crepes – Unsurprisingly, this stall is well-known for their crepes. France’s greatest export since Johnny Halliday is served either savoury or sweet. Bon goute!
Whitecross Street Market
If Leather Lane is a pint of bitter, and Exmouth Street is a vintage red wine, then surely Whitecross Street is the flat-white. Situated near the Barbican art gallery, and only a ten-minute walk away from our doors, Whitecross Street market is where you go for a fix of Shoreditch on a Wednesday afternoon. Where Whitecross Street wins is the quality of the food. Compared to the first two, options here are more diverse and creative; the food looks better. What the market has in choice it lacks in atmosphere, and Whitecross Street can be overwhelmingly busy at lunchtimes. This is also where you’re likely to spend the most time queuing up, frustrated that you can’t try a bit of everything from each trader. Can you?
What to Eat:
There are far too many options. But some personal favourites:
Brazil Flavour – If you can hear a loud Brazilian accent half-way up the market, then you’re incredibly close to Rogerio’s tapioca stall (and in good company). A crowd-pleaser, BF is all about putting healthy ingredients into melted tapioca toasties.
Bubble Wrap – We’re a bit Korean-food-crazy in London these days, and word on the street (Whitecross Street, that is) is that Bubble Wrap is one of the best places to get this tasty rice, pickled vegetable and egg bowl (called ‘bibimbap’) on the go.
Luardo’s Burritos – Luardo’s is a safe option in a district that feels slightly over complimented with standard-fare Mexican food. But don’t take it from us; Luardo’s website says that they make, ‘Probably Europe’s best burritos’. You decide.
Hungry yet? We are. Be sure to try any of these great markets when visiting our Charterhouse Street offices – or better still, we’ll be happy to join you for lunch.
As long as you don’t mind sharing, of course.