Borough Market is London’s oldest food market, having been trading for over 1,000 years. But despite its age, the world-famous market is constantly evolving.
Next week, it will launch its first ever street food hall and communal dining space, with over 20 stalls and stands confirmed.
Several fashionable (and upcoming) trends can be seen among Borough Market’s launch line-up, ranging from lesser-known Japanese dishes to Iraqi street food.
In our recent Food Trends 2020 report, we explained why several Asian cuisines will come to the fore next year. Japanese is the stand-out candidate, partly due to the increased exposure from sporting events, with dishes and ingredients beyond the norm expected to emerge into the mainstream.
At Borough Market Kitchen, a number of brands – some new and some already famous – align with these predictions.
Pochi, for example, seem to be right on trend with their continuing mission to highlight some of Japan’s lesser-known dishes – dishes such as ‘nasu’ (fried aubergine marinated in soy-vinegar sauce and sprinkled with sesame); ‘kakani’ (braised pork belly with spring onion); and ‘buta’ (soy-ginger pork mince with Japanese mayo).
Oroshi, which specialises in Japanese robata-grilled meat, will be making their Borough Market debut, alongside Khanom Krok (named after, and focusing on, the traditional Thai coconut pudding made in special dimpled pans) and Joli, which is flying the flag for Malaysian cuisine with classic dishes like rendang and laksa.
One of the project’s headliners is Mei Mei, the 12-seater stand from Elizabeth Haigh (formerly of the Michelin-starred Pidgin in Hackney). Drawing upon hawker culture, her venture dwells on dishes from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, the signature dish being Hainanese chicken rice. Haigh is using Ginger Pig Yorkshire chickens and ingredients sourced straight from the market.
In fact, around 30% of the total ingredients used across all the stalls and stands will come from Borough Market proper, which has put a ban on single-use plastic in the new space. The tables and seating, meanwhile, have been constructed from recycled materials.
Another point of note is the number of representatives from the Levant. Arabica, who are well known around the market for their mezze and stone-baked bread, will be joined by Shuk and their modern Israeli menu, which includes seasonal salads and pittas stuffed with lamb, chicken and/or pork.
Juma Kitchen – an Iraqi supper club and stall – will be opening its first permanent bricks-and-mortar unit in Borough Market Kitchen. Their concept is centred around kubba, a typical Levantine mezze dish that Juma make with finely ground lamb, a host of Middle Eastern spices and homemade basmati rice shells.
Elpiniki, a Greek-Cypriot stall that recently rebranded from bring a goat-focused venture, also joins the roster with a host of vegetarian and generally omnivorous Eastern Mediterranean dishes.
There’s little South American presence in the Borough Market Kitchen line-up and, even more noticeably, no dedicated vegan stall or stand (apart from Horn Ok Please, who’ve been peddling meat-free Indian in the market for a while now and will be moving over to the new dining space next week).
Innovative scotch eggs come from Scotchtails; fillings include black pudding, chorizo, and lamb with mint. Salt beef is Nana Fanny’s niche, while pintxos (small snacks) will be showcased at Batera by Mimo, the award-winning Basque cookery school and chef’s table.
Mimo talked to Food Spark only last month about the growing trends with Basque food in the UK, with their pintxos selection at Batera to include olive oil confit cod with piperade, leek and black olive confit; crab dressed in smoked oil and lemon zest with a spicy miso mayonnaise; and guindillas (a species of chilli pepper) and pike caviar.