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London's hottest food halls

Helen Alexander

Senior Contributor

Forget expensive restaurants and fine-dining destinations, Londoners are flocking to newly opened food halls for a taste of some of the city’s most iconic dishes. From morning coffee to evening cocktails, these covered, street-food style markets make sure the transition from day to night is always delicious.

Go bananas in Covent Garden

As one of London’s street-food stalwarts, the Kerb team have been popping up across the city – from London Bridge to Kings Cross – for years. However, their latest offering, Kerb at Seven Dials Markets, is extra-special as it represents their first indoor space. Sitting in what was once a fruit and vegetable storage space on Earlham Street, the pastel-coloured interior of the two-storey Banana Warehouse is home to kitchens, communal seating and a cute bookshop downstairs and countertop cafes upstairs.

One of the biggest attractions has to be the cheese conveyor belt (yes, you read that correctly) at Pick & Cheese. If you can resist the sushi-style selection of British cheeses, there’s also Monty’s Deli, where salt beef, latkes and Reuben sandwiches are the order of the day, while all things fishy are being served up at Ink – expect crispy calamari, battered cod and some of the best chips in town. Before you leave, swing by Cucumber Alley for small-batch ice cream from Hackney Gelato and plenty of local producers selling their wares.  

Pick & Cheese, Kerb Seven Dials

Credit: Nic Crilly Hargrave

Famous chefs make a West End appearance

Possibly the most sophisticated spot on the list, Arcade Food Theatre sits at the bottom of the iconic Centre Point building, which is located at the intersection of Tottenham Court Road and New Oxford Street. Not only is this a seriously stylish space, but the seven open kitchens are also run by some of the city’s most coveted chefs.

Head to Oklava for a taste of Selin Kiazim’s take on Turkish-Cypriot cuisine and feast on authentic Mexican tacos and house-made tortillas from the El Pastor at Pastorcito.

For something a little bit different, venture upstairs to The Loft. This incubator space on the mezzanine level was established to showcase some of the city’s most exciting emerging culinary concepts, and that’s exactly what the duo behind cult pop-up TĀTĀ Eatery are doing at TŌU. Their decadent Iberian Katsu Sando is already the stuff of culinary legend among locals in the know. 

Arcade

All aboard Victoria’s all-day dining sensation

Swoon over original features while savouring your lunch just seconds from Victoria train and tube station. Sitting in an old Edwardian arcade, Market Halls has been returned to its former glory and kitted out with marble-topped communal tables and 11 seriously delicious resident kitchens.

Order Malaysian-Tamil cuisine from Gopal’s Corner – the spin-off of London’s beloved cheap eat Roti King serves a mean laksa, mee goreng mamak and murtabak – or picture-perfect dim sum at Baoziinn. Try to resist snapping a shot of a steaming basket of ruby prawn dumplings in beetroot dough or custard baozi in orange carrot dough when they arrive at your table.

Globe-trotting eats aside, the indoor and rooftop bars celebrate British offerings, which include a Market Helles lager that was made in collaboration with North Cornwall brewers Harbour. The Market Halls family also includes a beautifully restored ticket hall next to Fulham Broadway tube station and a sprawling department store on Oxford Street.

Market Hall Victoria

Credit: Christopher Horwood

Up on the roof in Paddington

Escape the busy streets at urban garden Pergola, where drinkers and diners are rewarded with sweeping views of the London skyline from this plant-filled oasis. Whether you are there to soak up the rays from a day bed during summer or immerse yourself in a winter wonderland during colder months, you are in for a street-food feast all year round.

Some of the best burgers in London are being flipped on the grill at Smash Patty (from the crew behind the famous outfit Patty&Bun) while at the Babek Brothers’ charcoal fire you’ll find upmarket kebabs and addictive halloumi fries. Over at Olympia in west London, Pergola has a second leafy location serving Chinese baos and dumplings from Mamalan and pastrami sandwiches from Salt Shed. 

East London’s market within a market

From antiques and rare records to vintage fashion and ceramics, Old Spitalfields Market has been home to a variety of traders for decades. And while there have always been restaurants, coffee shops and stalls dotted around the undercover complex, the recent opening of The Kitchens took the food offered to the next level.

Sitting in purpose-built, wooden stands at the centre of the market, and surrounded by heated communal tables, you’ll find an eclectic mix of cuisines on offer. From Ricebrother’s moon cakes, soy sauce chicken and Chinese BBQ pork rice bowls, and savoury tofu puddings to the Chinese jianbing pancakes served at Pleasant Lady.

Recently causing a stir was the opening of Dumpling Shack’s hand-pulled noodle kitchen – Fen Noodles – where office workers and tourists queue up every lunch to slurp a bowl of spicy dry lamb or garlic aubergine noodles. 

Spitalfields, London

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