My Food Fix in London, England: Borough Market

During my short visit to London, I knew I had to check out the famous Borough Market before I left. Let’s just say that if I lived in London and was extremely wealthy, I’d totally go to there every day (but maybe skip on weekends because it gets incredibly busy). I went on a Saturday morning which tends to be their busiest day, and I can confirm: it was indeed busy. Business aside, I still had a great time meandering through the different food stalls. Stalls range from not only fresh fruit and veg, meat, poultry, cheese (er my gawd the cheese), baked  goods, cured meats, and desserts and sweets, but also a variety of street food vendors.

As soon as I walked in, I was met by these amazing chunks of 24-30 month aged parmesan.

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I think I saw a cheese vendor around ever corner.
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Piles and piles of colourful turkish delight.

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And plenty of sweet baked goods too.
IMG_3528London in general can put a dent in your wallet (an all day tube pass cost me $24AUD!), and the Borough market is no exception. That said, you can totally get away with just trying free samples and feeling fairly satisfied. Most vendors offer free samples to lure in potential customers. Overall, I tried a few different types of sausage, burger meat, paella, so much cheese, salami and turkish delight all for free. Because of this, I ended up only needing to buy one dish. So, although it can get quite expensive, you can work your way around by being aggressive and pushing people out of the way when the food vendors bring out free tasters.

There was an amazing variety of different foods. If I had an extra day in London, I would totally come back to try a salt beef sandwich.

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There were plenty of Indian options too. Pictured below are vegetable fritters and samosas. IMG_3522

These mini coconut pancakes looked really interesting too. I think they were Thai kanom krok. They kind of look like Asian-Dutch pancakes, hey.IMG_3518

I recently went to Spain (after I visited the Borough market), so I have a particular soft spot for the moreish, carb-loaded dish and am currently drooling as I write this.
IMG_3500When I was walking around, I spotted quite a number of people chowing down on a delicious looking, giant bread roll filled with some sort of meat. From their expressions, I knew I had to find this beauty and after circling the market twice, I finally found it.

Hog roast roll

Succulent cubes of roasted hog meat served with fresh rocket and topped with a small handful of crispy crackling. The pork was really tender and well seasoned, and the rocket was a nice accompaniment to cut through the rich, fatty pork. Also, the soft sourdough bread acted as the perfect vehicle to soak up the pork juices (mmm pork juices). I thought some aioli and/or mustard would have been nice to add some tanginess, but overall it was really tasty. It was giant too, so it was extremely filling and well worth the £6.

Hog roast roll

It turns out I only took a photo of the whole hog on my phone, so I apologise for the camera quality. That said, the photo of the roll above is also from my phone and I think it looks amazing (not to toot my own phone or anything).

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Normally the market is open every Monday to Saturday, but in December, it’s open every day until Christmas eve. If you make it to London, I’d definitely recommend a stroll through Borough market, even if it is just to try the free samples!

Details for Borough Market

Opening hours:

Monday – Thursday

10:00am – 5:00pm

Friday

10:00am – 6:00pm

Saturday

8:00am – 5:00pm

Sunday

Closed

Address:

8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, UK

Lunch at the Cupping Room

It had been a while since I visited the celebrated cafe, mainly because it’s so popular the wait queues are ridiculously long on the weekends. Luckily for me, I had a Thursday off work so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to visit the cafe during less busy times. Unfortunately I went a couple weeks before they launched their Spring menu, so a few of the items below are no longer available (the salted caramel and popcorn milkshake and fruit toast still are!)… but you can still ogle at the photos!

Salted Caramel and Popcorn Milkshake

Salted caramel has probably become one of the most popular dessert flavours over the past few years, and I can totally see why.  It’s that combination of sugar and salt that makes it so moorish. Surprisingly, I took a while to drink the entire milkshake as I was preoccupied by the amount of food we’d ordered, but as it sat there waiting to be drunk, the popcorn itself soaked up the liquid while the caramel coating remained crunchy. Each popcorn sort of turned into some crunchy explosion of salted popcorn milkshake. The milkshake itself was really thick too, so it remained cold until the end. It is very sweet, but what else can you expect from a salted caramel milkshake?

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Red Velvet Milkshake

Basically a decadent chocolate milkshake accompanied by a classic red cherry on top, this was absolutely delicious. My friend ordered this one and as soon as I had a sip, I was instantly jealous—this was definitely my favourite between the two milkshakes. It wasn’t overly sweet and there were little chunks of chocolate in amongst the smooth and slightly tangy milkshake—I believe it had a bit of sour cream in it. Unfortunately this isn’t available in their Spring menu, but maybe we can petition to get it back?

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Charshu Pork

A thirty six hour sous-vide pork belly dish that came with garlic puree, half a soy boiled egg, dollops of kewpie mayo, crunchy charred cabbage and a salmon rice cake. The pork was relatively tender but there was a bit too much fat that hadn’t cooked away or rendered down—I’m pretty easy when it comes to pork belly but I do prefer crispy or rendered skin over solid fat. Apart from this, I couldn’t fault any of the other elements. The cabbage was still crunchy and had a good savoury flavour. The egg was slightly over runny (which I prefer), but my favourite component was the salmon rice cake. It had a crunchy exterior and a soft and flavoursome interior which went really well with the creamy kewpie.

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Baked Eggs

The Cupping Room’s baked eggs came with mushroom, silver-beet, leek and double brie, and olive tapenade and toasted sourdough on the side. The baked eggs itself had a super intense mushroomy, savoury, salty flavour, so I thought the olive tapenade was unnecessary as a side dish. The brie helped cut through the intensity of the mushrooms and was a nice addition. I was expecting the dish to come with more sauce to mop up with the freshly toasted bread, but it was actually quite dry. Despite this, it was still a really tasty dish.

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Pumpkin

This was the one dish I came to the Cupping Room for after seeing a post on Instagram (I swear I don’t spend THAT much time on the gram…). This dish consisted of herb-crusted roasted pumpkin, lentils, quinoa, cottage cheese, pickled heirloom radish, orange segments, roasted pepitas and lemon and tahini vinaigrette. With three huge wedges of tender roasted pumpkin, it was more substantial than I initially anticipated. The cottage cheese didn’t add much in terms of taste, and because the other elements weren’t inherently salty I would have preferred some feta or pan-fried halloumi to lift it’s flavour profile. I thought the pickled radishes and orange segments were a really nice addition as they added level of sweet tanginess to the dish.

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Hotcakes

I’m not a huge fan of sweet breakfasts, but my friends insisted on ordering this dish. The dish came with two thick hotcakes, apple and rhubarb jam, a dollop of orange marscarpone, granola and Canadian maple syrup. The hotcakes themselves were fluffy and the granola had a nice spiced flavour but it had bits of dried fruit that were potentially over-dried during the toasting of the granola—rather than soft, chewy pieces of fruit, they were hard and tough. I couldn’t see or taste any rhubarb in the apple and rhubarb jam, but it wasn’t overly sweet and still had a nice mellow flavour. I thought there was way too much maple syrup in the dish, but the orange marscarpone was a nice addition to help cut through that.

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Fruit Toast

On top of everything, we also ordered the Three Mills fruit toast with cottage cheese, banana and honey. Unfortunately, the banana was a bit overpowering so I couldn’t taste the cottage cheese or the fruit toast itself. I do love banana, so it was still enjoyable to eat but for the sake of the toast I would have left the banana out or put it on the side. I think they now serve their fruit toast with strawberries, ricotta, honey and almond instead, which I think is a good move—it sounds amazing!

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I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad experience at The Cupping Room. They not only produce tasty food, but are consistent, innovative and seasonally change their menu. If you haven’t tried them out (although I doubt you haven’t), give them ago!

Details for the Cupping Room:

Opening hours:

Weekdays

7:00am – 4:00pm

Weekends and public holidays

8:00am – 3:00pm

Address:

1/1-13 University Ave, Canberra