If, like me, you’re a big lover of food, history and London, then the Food Tour of London’s Markets will appeal to you as much as it did to me. Brixton is an area of the capital that I haven’t ventured into, but as our tour guide, John, explained, even a Brixton local would learn something new during the tour – whether that’s a new place to eat or a slice of history, there’s something for everyone!
Starting outside Starbucks by Brixton Station (the first and last big corporate name on the tour), Poppy and I got acquainted with John and the rest of the group before heading off towards the first stop, the A & C Deli. On the way, John explained a lot about the area, and how it had developed over the years to be the cultural hub it is now. Brixton used to be an incredibly affluent town, being the first to use electricity in the country, and was a major component in the 1981 riots, known as the ‘Brixton Uprising’.
At the A & C Deli, we were treated to a delicious egg tart, known as Pastel de Nata, which is famous in Portugal, where it was invented. Monks who had an abundance of egg yolks would make these tarts to sell at the market, in order to raise funds for the monastery. The recipe became so famous that it’s now guarded under lock and key, and The Guardian voted it the best place to eat a custard tart in the world!
Across the road from the A & C Deli was First Choice Bakery, a Caribbean establishment that proudly produces the finest Jamaican patties in the UK. Here we sampled a delightfully spicy saltfish and callaloo patty, washed down with a weird but wonderful Guinness punch! We also discovered John knows just as much about Caribbean food as he does about Brixton, which formed a great representation of the cultures within the town.
Around the corner was Brixton Village, which turned out to be my favourite part of the tour. Every establishment within the village used authentic ingredients and produce sourced from local farms, making it a tiny eco-system of its own! Although we didn’t visit any of the places, I’m definitely keen to go back one day and eat at some of the restaurants and bars. There was Honest Burgers, which as you can see from this Metro review, is something rather special, the Burnt Toast Café famous for its sourdough bread, Lab-G which makes inventive, innovative ice-cream, and many more. If you’re going for an evening out in Brixton Village, John recommended visiting more than one place, almost tapas style, to get the most from the experience.
Moving on, there was a short walk down the road to Market Row. On the way we passed beautiful murals, which John had plenty to say about, and whacky plaques that fully represented the personality of Brixton! After quite a lot of walking and eating, we were treated to a lovely sit-down tasting in The Salon, a gorgeous café/restaurant in the heart of the Row. There we sampled a divine range of cheese, ham and craft ales, before heading round the corner to Ms Cupcakes, where we tried a vegan rhubarb and custard cupcake. Bliss!
Strolling down the famous Electric Avenue (so named because it was the first market street in London to be lit by electricity), we hopped on a bus and headed to Borough Market. In the shadow of The Shard and blanketed by London Bridge station, Borough Market was alive with delicious smells and food sellers. Because we had arrived at lunch time, there were countless people milling around eating food – we couldn’t wait to try some! John had so much knowledge to divulge about the stalls and local establishments, but it would be Brindisa where we got our next tasting. Here we received a juicy chorizo, roasted pepper and rocket gourmet sandwich, the perfect finish to the savoury treats.
Rounding the corner was a familiar face, Artisan Du Chocolat! An establishment I visited on the Chelsea Chocolate Tour, they also hold a stall at Borough Market, where we sampled the famous liquid salted caramels that were created for Gordon Ramsey by Gerard Coleman. What a delicious way to end the tour! This experience is unmissable if you’re heading to London as a tourist, or even if you’ve lived there your entire life. John emailed us all a list of the places we visited in case we wanted to go back, as well as additional information about the town. For the perfect combination of sightseeing, food tasting and historical knowledge, the London Food Tour is a must!
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