London is a wonderful city no matter what the time of year. Sure, it can get cold and rainy but that’s a perfect excuse to stay inside and discover some of London’s culinary treasures. I spent a good amount of time working in London and had the chance to explore some of the local markets. I’d highly recommend checking them out if you’re looking for cost effective options!
London’s Borough Market: If you’ve never been to London’s Borough Market it’s worth a visit when you’re in London. The market is full of vendors selling fresh foods, flowers, and local fare. The smells are marvellous and at times overwhelming (there are some very unusual cheese vendors!) You can find every type of food you’d ever want and a free sample of just about everything. The market is located at 8 Southwark Street. You can take the Tube to the London Bridge Station using the Northern or Jubilee lines. You’ll exit the Tube towards Borough/High Street and then towards London Bridge Street/Southwark St. The Market is about 1 block southwest of the tube station.
Should you choose not to eat directly from the stalls, there are plenty of restaurants – many of which are quite busy a peak times. Baxter’s Cafe is only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but is worth the trip. They have really unusual lunch fare sourced directly from the market. Roast, which is located in the Floral Hall Building of the market, is often talked about as one of the better restaurants in area. However, I went for Sunday brunch and really wasn’t overly impressed. The fare is deemed “British food done well” and I’ll give it British – but not sure about the done well part. My eggs were runny for example. The restaurant was packed and locals seemed to be enjoying the traditionally British menu.
The Turkish Deli has the largest selection of olives I’ve ever seen – and they’re good – but not cheap. I also had an amazing lamb burger at a stall called the Exotic Meat Company. There you can buy almost any type of meat – Ostrich anyone? They have a hot food grill that serves burgers and sausages. Bear’s Rotisserie has the most amazing chicken. You should check them out, but they’re only open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Now, at the start of this post I said I may be unlucky that my office is two blocks away – why unlucky you ask? Because I’ll probably visit a new stall every day I’m in London! Yeah, it’s a good and bad thing.
Nobu London: I love Nobu. There’s just no way around it, it’s one of my favourites. I was very excited to share a meal there with some colleagues who had never been. We started with some sushi – yellow tail and scallions, spicy tuna, salmon roll and soft crab roll. The rolls were delicious, especially the yellow tail. Then we had some rock shrimp tempura with three dipping sauces – a ponzu citrus sauce, a spicy aioli and a mildly spicy habanera pepper sauce. It’s one of my favourites and it was just as good as I had remembered. We had some great tempura vegetables – the highlight was the pumpkin. The absolute highlight of the dinner was the anticucho style Tea-smoked lamb with ancho chilli sauce. It was one of the most amazing dishes I’ve ever had. It was the first time I’ve had the dish and I can promise it won’t be the last. I’m hooked!
One thing you might not expect at Nobu are outrageous desserts. We had the chocolate bento box – a flourless chocolate fondant cake with green tea ice cream; a fuji apple crumble – seared fuji apples with sesame oil, miso salt, toffee, peanut butter ice cream, and coconut crumble and the warm chocolate santandagi – warm chocolate filled donuts with caramelized pistachio and almond ice cream. The fuji apple crumble is absolutely amazing.
Nobu has locations around the world, if you’re ever near one, check it out! I’ve always been a fan and this visit wasn’t any different. Nobu isn’t cheap – no matter where you are – but the London prices are exceptionally high – especially when you add drinks to the mix. Sitting alone at the Sushi bar with 1 or 2 rolls is much more affordable.