London's best outdoor food markets
With outdoor markets reopening, we reflect on our favourites across the city. From Borough to Brockley via King's Cross and Camden, find street food galore this summer
Market on the Mews at Selfridges
This new weekend market can be found tucked away behind the glossy department store. Here, you can pick up an artisan brew from Brixton-based Assembly Coffee; craft beers from Two Tribes; scoops from sleek Persian-inspired ice-cream parlour Darlish; and freshly baked gourmet goods from the Selfridges Foodhall. There’s also homeware to browse and bold bouquets of seasonal blooms from Moyses Stevens Flowers.
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
Buck Street Market
Another newbie, this Camden market – which launched in March but was forced to close just 10 days later because of coronavirus – has reopened, offering over 80 eco-conscious stalls. The market also boasts the largest rooftop in Camden, with two al-fresco, foliage-adorned bars and a millennial-pink terrace. Food-wise, look forward to zero-waste dining at Wildflower by Adrian Martin, New York style pizza by One Pound Meals author Miguel Barclay and baked goods from Philippe Conticini’s French Patisserie.
Nearest Tube: Camden Town
Seven Dials Market by KERB
It seems there’s just no stopping street food collective KERB. Founded back in 2012 by Petra Barran, KERB has since launched eight popular food markets across London, five of which are still in action. Operating under the name of Seven Dials Market, KERB’s Covent Garden site is the company’s first permanent home and a 22,000 sq ft space spread across two floors, with room for 26 traders and hundreds of visitors.
Replacing its usual food trucks with polished counters, KERB Covent Garden will house a mix of street food traders, deli stalls, a florist and a bookshop. It’s yet to be announced which of KERB’s signature food traders are taking up residence at the new Covent Garden site, but with the likes of award-winning Filipino pop-up BBQ Dreamz and food stall-turned-restaurant Burger & Beyond under the KERB umbrella brand, we’re expecting big, tasty things.
Nearest tube: Covent Garden
Market Hall Victoria
Do you remember Pacha, the London spin-off of the Ibiza super club, situated in a former bus depot in the Victoria district? The club shut its doors for the final time in 2014, which freed up Terminus Place for a new-for-2019 venture: Market Hall (from the founders of Market Hall Fulham). The team have converted the abandoned bays into the ultimate foodie’s paradise. One of the largest food halls in the UK, it contains eleven kitchens, a coffee shop and three bars all spread over three floors.
Among the best of the line-up of traders are: Nonna Tonda, which serves handmade pasta dishes inspired by chef Jamie French’s travels through Italy; Baozi Inn, which provides Londoners with authentic Northern Chinese street food; and Squirrel, which caters to all dietary requirements with its freshly-made, nutritionally-balanced dishes.
Nearest tube: Victoria
Once the most hip area of the city, Camden remains the spiritual home of rock bands, punks and party-loving students. It was famously home to the late singer Amy Winehouse and remains a mecca for her heartbroken fans. Camden Market, which has reopened with all-new social distancing measures in place, is a key attraction of the area. Only a decade or so ago, hungry visitors would be lucky to find themselves tucking into anything other than GMO-smothered chicken feet here. Thankfully, an influx of impressive street food traders have since descended, bringing with them first-rate dishes from around the world: from New York-style salt beef sandwiches to Vietnamese noodles, Venezualan hot pockets and authentic Portugese pastel de nata. While there, keep an eye out for vintage steals, and take your time sifting through boxes in the many independent record stores which line the streets.
Nearest tube: Camden Town
Vinegar Yard, a new out and indoor market from the team behind Flat Iron Square, opened in the spring of 2019. And, with its sprawling outdoor tables – ideal for drinking a pint of pale ale in the sun – it became an instant hit.
Here you can feast on an eclectic line-up of street food stalls in an outdoor garden with prime views of the Shard. Baba G’s, winner of Million Pound Menu and inventor of the ‘naanwich’ brings Indian-inspired burgers and sandwiches to the market. While things get fiery with Up In My Grill, the Argentinian-inspired flame-grilled steak specialists. Discover Italian street food with Sugo’s meaty ciabattas filled with vegetable sauces. Or head to Nanny Bill’s, for gravy-dipped burgers and crunchy croquettes. And to wash it all down? Enjoy craft beers from local London breweries and coffee by The Gentlemen Baristas.
Nearest Tube: London Bridge
Maltby Street Market
Possibly the best place to while away a weekend morning. Saturdays are best, with a slightly bigger market and buzzier atmosphere. Go early to avoid the crowds and tuck into treats from the Gyoza Guys, Bad Brownie and the Shoal Food seafood shack. Though we have to admit, Culture Whisper never gets much further than St John’s famous doughnuts before ducking straight into Little Bird for a gin-based pick-me-up. When you’re full to bursting pick up some artisan treats from Maltby and Greek, before browsing the vintage wares at Lassco.
Nearest tube: London Bridge
As well as the usual club of stellar foodie pop-ups, Pop Brixton and its incredible maze of shipping containers hosts all sorts of independent businesses, charitable projects and workshops, including urban garden PopFarm, traditional barber London Barberhood and a community free space. Food-wise, the star of the show is Smoke and Salt, who plate up nosh produced using ancient techniques like smoking, fermenting and brining. While newbie restaurant Roe is turning heads with their reasonably-priced and delectable-tasting small plates. Other things to try include Venezuelan street food from Petare and modern Cantonese cuisine from Duck Duck Goose. Wash it down with craft beer or organic wine from the Brixton Port Authority.
Nearest tube: Brixton
More gourmet groceries to take home and cook than hot, eat-it-on-the-spot delights, Canopy Market in King’s Cross has long been attracting Londoners from all over the city keen to get their hands on locally-sourced farm produce as well as artisan condiments and some of the city’s finest grag-and-go sugary treats (the delectable Crosstown Doughnuts has a stand here). This summer, the Friday – Sunday market has moved around the corner and down the hill to Coal Drop’s Yard. As well as fresh food, look out for a selection of stalls selling arts and crafts, jewellery, ceramics and homeware.
Nearest tube: King’s Cross
Flat Iron Square
Located under the railway arches not far from Borough Market, this little gem is at its most buzzy on a Friday evening, though there’s a lovely little flea market at the weekend and gorgeous pastries in the mornings from Burnt Lemon Bakery if you’re more of a lark. During the daytime, head outside to find super banh mi at Bittenclub and Levantine fare from Laffa. Favourites from under the arches themselves include vegan ramen from Tatami Ramen and Baz and Fred’s famous pizzas. Check out the fried chicken from Mother Clucker too.
Nearest tube: London Bridge
Market Hall – Fulham
Market Hall in Fulham gets brownie points for being the prettiest of the bunch. Housed in the entrance hall of an old Edwardian Underground station, the building retains much of its original ornate features and the old ticket booths have been cleverly integrated into the bar. Start your trip here with a coffee from Press Coffee. For lunch, try Mexican BBQ at Hot Box, the crowdfunding sensation Fanny’s Kebabs (their Soho pop-up was a sell-out for good reason) or old favourites Ahi Poke. For pudding, Love Churros' warm, doughy delights are the dish of the day. And, Market Hall is a dog friendly space to boot.
Nearest tube: Fulham Broadway
Whitecross Street Market
Whitecross Street has long been the preserve of hungry city workers at the end of a stressful week. Occupying a long road between the Barbican and Old Street, this is an old-school food truck and market stall set-up, rather than the more contrived modern market spaces that have been popping up elsewhere. Top stops include venison burgers from the Wild Game Co, Korean bibimbap wraps from Bubble Wrap, nourishing goodness from Buddha Bowl and, of course, the legendary burritos from Luardos.
Nearest tube: Barbican
The offspring of a successful Milanese pop-up, this Italian-flavoured venue is the perfect spot for after-work drinks or even a casual first date. Although the food isn’t exclusively Italian (Champagne + Fromage flies the flag for France) the best things are undoubtedly the wood fired sourdough pizzas from Fresco and the gorgeous gelato from Badiani. There’s also regular exhibitions and music events, and Backyard Cinema have set up camp on site so there’s really no need to leave.
Nearest tube: Elephant and Castle
Hidden behind the vibrant Deptford High Street is a relatively new and glossy complex, Deptford Market Yard, which plays home once a week to Deptford Bites. Here, some seriously exciting street food traders cook up a storm on Saturdays. From Lovely Bunch of Coconuts’ Mauritian-inspired barbecue delights to savory artisan waffles from Matilda’s Waffle Boutique, this forward-looking market is an adventurous foodie’s dream.
Nearest station: Deptford overground
Wander down to Lewisham College Car park on a Saturday lunchtime for some of the tastiest food in London. It’s cash only, but don’t let that put you off. It’s all about the artisan products at Brockley Market, from biscuits and cakes to plants and flowers, by way of cured meats and natural wines. The street food is superb, with wraps from Mike + Ollie, as well as sandwiches from Sub Cult, and you can wash it all down with a lovely cuppa from Culture Whisper favourites Good & Proper Tea, who park their Citroën-H mobile tea bar there every weekend.
Nearest Tube: St Johns (National Rail) / Lewisham (Rail / DLR)
KERB King's Cross
KERB is becoming a bit of an institution, with branches popping up all over the city, from Paddington to Camden. Culture Whisper’s favourite site is the original at King's Cross, where the market sets up shop every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday lunchtimes in the pretty Granary Square. For something light, look to the bowls from Hanoi Kitchen or Lords of Poke, while vegans should check out the yummy offering at Little Leaf Pizza and those after something hearty to cure a hangover should try a toastie from Meltsmiths.
Nearest tube: Kings Cross
Borough Market is undeniably the mother of all London food markets and the one to approach with a strategy. It is, understandably, always packed to the hilt with throngs of tourists, so the best way to enjoy it is to embrace the crush. Check out the utterly amazing began burgers from Big V London, Gourmet Goat’s kid cuisine, and the legendary raclette from Kappacasein. But if you can’t face the queues the best thing is to move away from the hot street food traders and wander the artisan suppliers, making your way through the free samples and other assorted treats. Culture Whisper’s favourites include rye bread from Karaway, Mini Magoo’s granola, all things eggy and breadcrumbed from Scotchtails and Greedy Goat Ice Cream. (Goat is on-trend it seems.)
Nearest tube: London Bridge
Broadway Market is one of the oldest food routes in London and The Cat & Mutton pub at the top of the market dates back to the days of using boats called 'cats' on the Thames to transport sheep. As well as buying fresh, locally-farmed produce to take home, expect to find a host of street food traders vying for your attention. The Japanese wraps from Temaki Bros, toasties from Deeney’s and yummy morsels from Gujarati Rasoi are some of our favourites.
Nearest tube: Bethnal Green
Street Feast - Dinerama
One for balmy summer evenings, Street Feast's Dinerama site is an impressive space and a fun place for dinner and drinks before a night out in Shoreditch or Old Street. Less artisan, more fun, there’s music, food and bars serving an eclectic range of drinks. Check out the steamed dumplings from Yumplings or the veggie taco delights of Club Mexicana, before settling down in Winerama.
Where: Nearest tube: Shoreditch High Street (Overground) / Old Street