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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 (http://www.fuzzysgrub.com/index.html) and El Vergel on Lant St (http://www.elvergel.co.uk/) 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.

                2. The huge sausage rolls at The Ginger Pig are the best I've ever had.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: dowal

                    My boyf swears by the sausage rolls from Elizabeth Kings'; but he's from Nottingham so there may be some bias at work! With you on the racelette stall, the pickles, potato & cheese plate is to die for. Have you tried the wurst from the german deli stand? I hear they have a shop on Park street, near Monmouth coffee, planning to go for weisswurst & leberkase to cook at home, but the smell of frying onions and nurnberg rostbratwurst is so tempting!

                    1. re: babybat

                      The german deli stall does indeed have a shop, but they don't sell grilled sausages there, just raw ones for home cooking. I'm hoping to try them soon.

                  2. A few more to add:

                    • Pieminister
                    Lots of tarragon in the tarragon and chicken pie. Nothing out of this world but certainly nothing bad.

                    • Stillfield Farms
                    I liked the crumbly crust, but the wild boar filling of the pie didn't seem that robustly flavoured.

                    • Raclette Stall
                    Finally got the raclette: potatoes with hot melted cheese and pickles. No complaints at all, but I do prefer their melted cheese sandwich by quite a bit.

                    • Fusebox (again)
                    Scores points for good crispy skinned pork - lots of meat with a thinnish but luxuriant layer of fat.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: limster

                      I know this isn't lunch fare, but since you're in Borough market, do check out the seasalt caramel fudge from Burnt Sugar, it's amazing! They did a really good chocolate and fig fudge over christmas, but I don't know if they're still offering it - worth a try if they are.

                        1. re: babybat

                          Second the fudge recommendation...also try the brownie from Cinnamon Tree Bakery. It is way better than Flour Power version.

                        2. re: limster

                          They are still offering the Figgy Pudding fudge and it is wonderful. I adore it! I wish I could make it myself so I could have it all the time.

                        3. A couple more:

                          • Roast (stall, not restaurant)
                          Surprisingly good salt beef -- firm but tender and dense with flavour. Unfortuntately verwhelmed with mustard in the sandwich.

                          • Applebee's Fish
                          A "cajun" (meaning spicy and sweet in their book) wrap -- but with a reasonable amount of salmon and tuna. Not to die for.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: limster

                            Re: Applebee's Fish - one of yesterday's specials was tempura cod with chips and tartare sauce. It was wonderful - really fresh, chunky cod in a light, crisp batter; and the chips were perfect.

                            The stall next door (not sure if it's connected) was doing pots of garlic and cajun prawns which must have been good because there was a steady queue from 12 to 2pm!

                            1. re: DollyDagger

                              I was at the stall next door (closer to Borough High Street), not in the main restaurant. I assumed that they're connected, as they both have the same name on the awning.

                              1. re: limster

                                Ah I didn't see the awning - too busy picking out my salmon I guess!

                                I'd recommend eating inside Applebee's anyway - the generous portion of cod and chips was only £13.90 and worth every penny. We were headed for Tapas Brindisi but it was packed - must go earlier next time.

                                1. re: DollyDagger

                                  Dolly, I was at Tapas Brindisi on Friday with a visiting friend. We got there very early - right before 12 and sat by the window. By 12:15 or so it was packed, but it's a small space as you know. Our lunch was terrific, but your cod sounds pretty darn yummy, too!

                          2. Some more odds and ends:

                            • Fish! (the fish and chips stall, not the restaurant)
                            Refried haddock and chips. Thumbs down!

                            • Veggie Table
                            Nice salads - classic pairing of beet and goat cheese; chickpeas with raisins, almonds, mint and parsley, a copy of middle eastern/north african flavours; a quinoa mushroom patty that was lighted browned and quite meaty, probably my favourite; pretty good fingerling potato and lastly a bright carrot and orange salad. Not bad, not the best vegetables you'll ever get. I'd probably give the folks at Rainforest Creations, in Spitalfields market a slight edge.

                            • Three posh bangers
                            Not bad sandwich with 3 types of sausages: one with pork and mustard seed, another that's just regular pink pork, and the last a spicy reddish sausage, not exactly chorizo.

                            1. Now that I'm settled in South London, I journeyed out on my bicycle to the market on Friday and stumbled across a couple of very tasty bargins.

                              De Gustibus (the stall, not the store front) was selling roast pork and salt beef sandwiches for £4-4.30. These were massive and the meat was beautifully cooked and flavourful. Choice of standard and interesting condiments served on a lovely role with mixed salad.

                              Real France is now doing 2 largish scoops of ice cream for £2.50. I couldn't say no to the salted caramel and the chocolate hit the spot. Going back to try the lemon merguine and raspberry sorbet.

                              Burnt Sugar was delicious as always. The stall is tucked away, but there is no better British fudge and it is earth/farmer friendly. The coconut ice is my favourite.

                              1. For lunch not in but near Borough Market (approximately 5-10 mins away), I'd recommend the new prosciuttio and wine bar on Canvey Street. Cheaper than most places in the market itself and definitely somewhere I'd go back to.

                                Full review here: http://www.london-eating.co.uk/34810.htm

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: DollyDagger

                                  I've mostly been eating the sweet things at Viva Verdi, the prosciutto bar you mentioned am have been thinking about heading over dinner to sample their cured meats. They also make piadina, a crepe like flatbread from Emilia-Romagna, like the ones at Piada in Soho. Viva Verdi's version has very slightly more heft, and perhaps not as light, but is a little more grainy (in a good way) and crumbly. Had mine with whipped cream, bananas and nutella. A solid espresso (Lavazza). I really liked their ricotta cake, dense and mildly crumbly, and given a floral perfume from mille fleurie (an floral essence of some sort, according to the folks there).

                                  I also enjoy Table on Southwark Bridge Road, as well as Tsuru (for curry katsu), next to Viva Verdi.

                                  Have you tried the a new pub that opened there (The Refinery) or the Moroccan/Mediterrenean place (Del'Aziz)? Love to hear more!

                                  1. re: limster

                                    Limster,thank you for all the wonderful tips,particularly re:canele' (i love them).
                                    Londonlinguist,sadly i have to agree with regard to Patisserie Lila.Very unwelcoming...