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Nov 25, 2007 07:32 AM

Lunch around Borough Market, London

• Konditor & Cooks
A competent egg sandwich, perked up with bacon. Soft but otherwise undistinguished malt bread.

• The Tasting Room
A firm cibatta with a filling of ordinary tomato, very thin slices of mozzerella that do not do justice to the texture of the cheese and basil.

• FuseBox
Lots of Thai basil and coconut milk fragrance on the green Thai chicken curry, and points for at least including slivers of red chilli for a shadow of heat. Obviously it should be a lot hotter spice-wise, but it doesn't look like the type of place that one expects Thai spiciness. However, the rice is undercooked and this tends toward one of the pricier lunch options.

• De Gustibus
Have a sandwich made to one's specifications here. Walnut bread was very good, the honey mustard chicken very tasty, with a more mellow than sharp mustard flavour. Dressed it with greens and tomatoes. Probably my favourite experience in the area so far. Will have to see if they hold up. They also have a stall inside the Market. And a nice choclate dipped brownie, good moistness and pleasant chocolate flavour.

• Hobbs
Deep flavour in the beef, basic horseradish. Reasonable bread. Very likable.

• Falafel stall in the Market (Fridays)
A tasty and warm falafel wrap. I think I'd get it with pickles next time (if I ever get back to it). The flourish of shredded carrots etc seem unnecessary but not too much of a distraction.

• Westcountry Venison
A solid grilled venison sausage, elevated by caramelized onions and the brightness of cranberry sauce.

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    1. re: zuriga1

      Not really, just the day-to-day requirements for 3 meals per day. Just trying a different place or a different dish each time, it adds up slowly but it does add up.

      1. re: limster

        Thanks for the tips. I haven't been to that area for awhile but will try to get there more often. Plus, my son is arriving in a few weeks and I'll sound so smart. :-) Hobbs will be a real treat as my husband doesn't eat beef very often.

    2. Nice reviews, thanks! Two suggestions - Fuzzy's Grub on Tooley St ( and El Vergel on Lant St ( both are a short walk, and both do great lunch menus. I also really like the sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches and raclette from the place near the cathedral, hth!

      1 Reply
      1. re: babybat

        Many thanks for the suggestions -- will try them soon!

      2. Some more:

        • Artisan du Chocolat
        They sell loose bags of bon bons at £2, a Forest Gumpian mix of "You never know what you're gonna get." The ones I got were little squares with very well tempered chocolate, a thin fragile shell encasing fairly smooth ganache that was were flavoured with different kinds of fruit. An even flavour in the medium textured hot chocolate, balancing bright fruit and a mild bitter earth. There was a certain "chewy" or "starchy" texture in the hot chocolate that made me wonder if there were thickeners added, but it's probably a fragment of my imagination.

        • Real France
        A decent creme caramel with rich dark caramel liquid. Served in a little glass pot that makes it chuggable. Good deal for £1.

        • Temptations Ltd
        I liked the soft slightly spongy coriander pancake (even though the coriander flavour was subtle). The filling of potato, onion and mushroom was ok, sour and spicy.

        • Arabica (the falafel stand mentioned above)
        Enjoyed the aubergine kibeh, a sweet soft core of aubergines in encased in fried buckwheat.

        • Wyndham House Poultry
        Dry, slightly string chicken breast in a tortilla with a one-dimensional salsa. Perhaps their chicken burgers are better.

        • NorthField Farm
        A savoury lamb burger, enhanced by the sweet and sour relish and grilled onions.

        • Jade
        Basic cafeteria-style food, beef stroganoff that was hearty, neither soulful nor offensive.

        • Wild boar sausage place (sorry will get the name the next time)
        Pretty good grilled sausage in a bun with greens (rocket?) and a few standard condiments/sauces to choose from. Relatively inexpensive compared to the other stalls iirc.

        • Ion Patisserie
        The eclair was not bad, an ok chocolate covering, basic choux pastry, and a cornstarchy vanilla filling.

        • Flour Power Bakery
        A fine choc brownie, moist and slightly fudgy, but nothing extraordinary.

        1. Another installment:

          • Artisan Foods
          The dense chocolate tart (a couple notches away from eating a chocolate bar) is a good deal at £1.50. The crust is fine, not as light as one might have hoped, but still fairly crisp and a pinch of salt in it goes a long way to complement the chocolate.

          • Folie
          The cannele de bordeaux were decent -- good soft vanilla-ey cores, but the outside needed a bit more caramelization to give it a crunchy shell.

          • Total Organics
          Mulled apple cider was one the thin side.

          • Greek Connection
          Nice feta, decent tzatziki -- garlicky without excess -- and tough bits of lamb with ok flavour.

          • Quartier du Marche
          A hearty cassoulet with good duck confit and sausages, beans soft but not mushy. One could quibble about the of a breadcrumb cover, but for £4.50 I think it's a good deal.

          • Patisserie Lila
          An ok plum danish -- could be lighter, more flakey.

          • Maria’s Market Café
          An above average lamb sandwich with mint and sauce and greens.

          • Brood Cafe
          An oily paella with a surprisingly good amount of fish, mussels, squid, sausage. Tasty and decent ofr the price. The chorizo upgrade wasn't really worth it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: limster

            Had a "bacon & bubble" barm (or bap if the alliteration is better) from Maria's on arrival on Saturday. It was a good second breakfast. Coffee was vile - more like hot frothy milk.

            Have commented favourably in my "report back" thread on Brindisa's chorizo sandwich. Best thing I've eaten standing up for a long while.

            1. re: Harters

              I used to go to Maria's when she had a cafe on Park St back in the good old days before Borough was over-run by tourists. i actually quite like my coffee like that (oh the shame - will probably be chucked off the boards for admitting that).

            2. re: limster

              “Patisserie Lila” place is a good example for how a seriously bad place can still make good business: Because the “Patisserie Lila” is conveniently located near the bustling, fashionable Borough Market, passer-bys will always be lured in – just like it happened to us. Once inside, however, we experienced a service that could hardly have been worse: As we were “only two people”, the sour-faced waitress asked us to join people at another table – which surprised us but it did not put us off. When we had a look at the menu, we were a bit shocked by the rather unreasonably high prices – but we ordered a coffee and chocolate cookies anyway; only to be told by a truly pissed-off waitress that we had to order more to stay which we found very odd indeed. When we pointed out that we were not too hungry really, we were told to leave. Quite an experience! Don’t go – this place is the worst rip-off I have experienced since I came to London in 2004.

            3. Another installment:

              • Syrian felafel stand on London Bridge (on the South Side)
              Liked the (fava) felafel warap here a shade more than the version at Arabica's in the Borough Market. They're all prefried, but this stand's edge comes from the other stuff in the wrap -- better edited, no random veggies, instead the tahini, parsley etc are more coherent.

              • Sandwich place next to Paul Smith
              An undistinguished chicken escalope sandwich.

              • Sandwich place next to Brood Cafe
              A basic chicken salad sandwich, not bad or anything, but again, undistinguished.

              • Parma Ham Co.
              Two salads in a box separated by a nice piece of rosemary focaccia - an enjoyable combo of mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil, and an ok mix of greens with unripe avocado. 4 or 5 slices of parma ham draped over the salads, pretty good. Not a bad deal overall.

              • Brindisa Stall
              The chorizo sandwich is still as good as I remember -- sharp bitter rocket, sweet and slightly smoky red peppers, a very solid chorizo.

              • Bakery next to Parma Ham Co.
              A decent sticky and dense filling in their flaky eccles pie.

              • Roast stall
              A basic pork sausage roll, rosy and moist sausage, serviceable pastry shell.

              • Natural Smoothie Co.
              Unmemorable -- the smoothie I picked was mostly orange juice, couldn't taste any of the other tropical fruits (papaya? etc...), almost no yogurt (if any). They do press the juices at the stand, might look into trying other smoothies in the future, but no rush.

              • Raclette and melted cheese sandwich stall
              Probably one of the best stalls there - amazing, complex melted cheese (cheddar?) with just the right expression of sharpness. Elegant and judiciously deployed sweetness from leeks and onions. Gorgeous bread - impeccable flavour, texture, that tinge of sour softness. Will try the raclette next.

              2 Replies
              1. re: limster

                Re the melted cheese stall. Yes, they use Montgomery cheddar and the bread is from Poilane. That sandwich now what I use to measure all toasted cheese sandwiches by.

                1. re: limster

                  I finally made it to the market today. The line at Hobbs was too long, so I settled for a souvlaki because I was in the mood for some garlicky tzitikis. (I'm sure that is not the spelling!). I should have gone with the melted cheese and will try that or the coriander pancake next time. I thought the fellow selling balsamics and oils had very good products. I'll take some home next time, but had just been to Oxford St.