Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Free and weekly at Southbank (Fri 12-8pm, Sat 11am – 8pm, Sun 12-6pm)
I’m so pleased that this food market is now on every weekend over summer! This little collection of some of the best independent, artisan food and drink producers offers the tastiest fast and affordable food on the Southbank – no need for a visit to the chain restaurants of Giraffe, Wagamama’s et al if you just want to grab a bite to eat, and want a little more choice than the (albeit very nice) English fare at nearby Canteen.
The Real Food Market features food from all corners of the globe (English, Spanish, Polish, Thai, North African, South American…) with a bias towards locally and sustainably produced food – think saltmarsh lamb burgers, fresh mussels and artisan cheeses. Stall holders can vary slightly week to week but you’ll probably find producers such as Jamon Jamon (with their huge dishes of paella), The Borough Cheese Company (selling French Mountain cheese), On Patisserie (with their pretty and innovative macaroons), The Polish Deli (selling smoked sausages and grilled chicken), The Thoroughly Wild Meat Company (serving delicious saltmarsh lamb and mutton), and Meantime Brewery (try their fab London Pale Ale). A previous trip over Jubilee weekend also found cream teas, crepes and Camden Town Brewery in action.
On this visit, we tried the North African lamb wraps from the Community Kitchen which were so tasty and filling (and only £6 each) that we didn’t have room for dinner later that evening!
Several stalls sell packaged or bottled food and drink to take home (they can make great gifts – a good opportunity to buy direct from the producer instead of seeking out a stockist). I find it best for grabbing a bite to eat then sitting near the Hayward Gallery (preferably in the sun!) overlooking the river. Tip: Go when you’re hungry and persuade whoever you’re with to order from a different stall to you – you’ll want to try as many different offerings as possible!
Recommended for… A more original alternative to the chain restaurants of Southbank
Be aware that… Stall holders can change each week so don’t rely on your favourite always being there!
- Promoting sustainable, environmentally and socially-responsible and ethically-produced food (e.g. organically-reared meats, handmade products, traditional beers, ales and cider)
- Emphasis on locally produced, sourced and artisanal food
- Supporting independent producers directly
Date of visit: June 2012