Travelling food journalist and street food blogger
Victoria Stewart is a travelling food journalist, a street food blogger, and the former food editor of the Evening Standard newspaper. Now freelance, she writes for a variety of national newspapers and travel magazines including The Times, The Guardian and Conde Nast Traveller.
Found in London Bridge’s newest food hub, Flat Iron Square, Bar Douro is fast becoming an industry and local favourite.
This little gem of a restaurant specialises in serving food from North of Portugal, where owner Max Graham’s family have been producing Churchill’s port for years. Sit at the bar so you can chat to the chefs, admiring the tiles, commissioned specially in Lisbon, order a glass of vinho and some smoked Portuguese sausage and you’ll be ready to settle in for a few hours.
WORLD STREET FOOD MARKET AT ST KATHARINE DOCKS: from 11am until 3pm every Friday on the Marble Quay of the docks, you can find an array of dishes from around the world served up under the Epicurean Events brand. There’s seriously good Malaysian rendang from Makatcha, yielding beef Venezuelan arepas at Guasacaca, Chic P’s ‘rescued’ chickpea hummuses, and decent renditions of Portuguese custard tarts from Claude’s Boulangerie. Go early so they don’t sell out of grub and, if you need to sit down while you stuff your face, buy a drink at The Dickens Inn and take a seat outside
FLAT IRON SQUARE: This is the latest food hub in the area and there’s a range of stuff to try here before or after you go to a gig at Omeara under one of the arches, or a show at the Tate Modern. There’s a great range of craft beers in the main bar, and while you’ll see all sorts from pizza to tapas, Mike & Ollie’s Manti - handmade Turkish dumplings - are the things to eat, the highlight being the incredibly garlic yoghurt and all the fresh dill on top.
MALTBY STREET MARKET: Where to start? This is a hectic piece of deliciousness all stuffed down the alleyway that runs alongside a series of railway arches. What started as a place for former Borough Market traders to trade in (many of these guys now have their HQs at Spa Terminus around the corner), it’s now a fully functioning street food and restaurant hub that opens at weekends. Go early doors - no, really, it gets vv busy - and make sure you pick up some doughnuts at St John Bread & Wine, some hot tartiflette from Comptoir Gourmand, Tandoori bread with toppings from Devi’s and a salted caramel brownie from Bad Brownies. Still got room? Chuck back a Little Bird G&T and a couple of oysters from next door, then…
SPA TERMINUS MARKET: During the week this place is an assortment of closed-off railway arches filled with some fine London producers (Kappacasein Dairy, British cured meat maker Crown & Cue, Southerdern Bakery and the Ice Cream Union, and so on) getting on with doing what they do best - producing. On Saturday mornings, however, some of them open their doors and sell their wares. Go check ‘em out.
JOSE TAPAS BAR: People will always want to send you to visit this little tapas bar on Bermondsey Street for delicious Spanish tapas - and with good reason. Go early to guarantee finding a spare table to stand at, and settle into a glass of sherry and a few snacks. These are sublime - try the Jamón Ibérico, croquetas, pan con tomate, gambas al ajillo and the fried goat’s cheese with honey then get stuck into a salty chocolate pot made with olive oil.
PIQUE NIQUE: The other delight on Bermondsey Street is the little French bistro secret (that is no secret anymore), Casse Croute. My real penchant, however, is for le sandwich beurre jambon at CC’s sister restaurant Pique Nique, which is situated about four minutes’ walk away and tucked next to the tennis courts inside Tanner Street Park. The sandwich is so simple, just ham, wedges of butter and a couple of cornichons thrown in for good measure, but it’s such a treat, and makes an ideal quick lunch if you’re in the area. If you want to stay longer, there’s a whole menu of rotisserie chicken to tuck into.
BOROUGH MARKET: There simply isn’t space here to tell you everything about this market, so do have a proper readthrough of the comprehensive guide to this brilliant place offered on the website. Otherwise, I’ll leave you with the things I can’t resist coming in to buy when I’m nearby: I adore the doughnuts and sourdough from Bread Ahead Bakery, the rye chimney bread at Karaway Bakery, the fennel-infused cured salami at Cannon & Cannon and the tortelloni pumpkin from La Tua Pasta. If you’re sticking around, though, the grilled cheese toastie from Kappacasein, the wraps from Gourmet Goat, and the piadini from Gastronomica are worth making time for.
ELLIOTS CAFE: This is a consistently good London Bridge staple, and I can’t say for certain what you’ll get here as the menu changes to reflect the seasonal produce available in the market, which you can see from the window. But whatever you get, and it could be a burger, a fish dish, or some delicious cheese, you’ll be looked after - the (natural) wines are nice, too.
KERB LONDON BRIDGE: This is the latest rendition from the street food operation, Kerb, that started in Kings Cross and has spread across the city. This is a smaller market that only runs from Wednesday to Friday lunchtimes (you can find it near the river tucked between some offices), but there’s usually a decent selection of things to try out from the roster of traders. So far I’ve liked what I’ve had from Gyoza Guys and London’s best vegan street food stall, Biff’s Jack shack.
ROCHELLE CANTEEN: The original version of this lovely place remained a secret stalwart for years, being stuck behind a wall behind the main drag of Shoreditch and open only on weekdays (owners Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson have now extended its opening hours). More recently, however, the pair has taken over and transformed a corner of the ICA, near Trafalgar Square, to serve their short menu of reliably delicious and straightforward British and European dishes. Go!