Borough is one of my fave places. I think I take most people who visit down to this part of London to explore the market, get in on the hustle and bustle, and to try some of the variety of street food, or buy a few bits to take home (if they make it that far!). But I always know Borough is busy. Ranging from just a little pushy, weaving in and out of people to truly chaotic. So finding a spot to just stop and enjoy your food is a tough one. Even the pubs/restaurants in the area tend to get packed quite quickly, especially if they’ve gotten big reputations like Padella. This spot however was seriously different. It was so peaceful on the Saturday afternoon we visited. Chilled, quiet and cosy, yet it overlooks one of the busiest markets in the capital…
The Market Porter, part of the Market Taverns, is actually one bustling pub. But hidden upstairs is a quaint old-fashioned pub style dining room.
The staff were friendly from the off, offering help and ensuring we hadn’t forgotten to check out the specials board. The sign of a good spot, and things not to be missed. I love a specials board, as in my mind it shows they’re always trying to add something new/different, so even if/when you go back, there should be something new to try. Even alongside a seasonal menu.
The seasonal menu features roughly six starters…
…plus there were a couple on the specials board when we visited – don’t forget to check that board! They weren’t the usuals you’d find on a gastro pub menu, including a thai beef salad and arancini.
The Hot Smoked Salmon Scotch Egg was fantastic. The smoked salmon was full of flavour, tender and flaky, and had a beautiful light bread coating, and soft boiled egg inside. The horseradish and curried fennel mayo which accompanied the scotch egg, was creamy and rich in flavour, complimenting it well. This one was quite a big starter but a must-try.
The Toasted Sourdough topped with Creamed Mushrooms and Onion Crust did not disappoint either. The mushrooms were rich in that signature umami flavour, weren’t overly creamy, and there were plenty of them. Another fab starter.
The eight mains on the menu when we visited, gave off more of that gastro pub feel…
…with Beer Battered Haddock, a Rib Eye Steak, Market Porter Pie and a Chicken Kiev making an appearance. The special board on our visit featured another beef number and The Market Fish Special – Seabass with Sweet Carrot Puree, which we could not resist.
The Seabass was delicate, with a fab crispy skin. It had a superb flavour. The Sweet Carrot Puree was indeed sweet, very smooth and went beautiful with the Seabass and greens. It’s quite a light meal, so sides are a must if you’re hungry.
The Chips, neither thin and crispy nor thick and chunky, were crisp yet fluffy, and perfect for picking/sharing. The Daily Veg was a portion of Tenderstem broccoli when we visited, and it was served delightfully a la dente.
The Kale & Pumpkin Risotto with Chestnut Sage and Parmesan was a delicious creamy, soft, autumnal dish. The chestnut pieces were plentiful, and the long strips of parmesan delicately placed on top added a rich, melty, cheesiness. It might be the only veggie option on the menu right now, but it’s one fantastic one!
There are a small handful of desserts.
Pretty much those you’d expect from a gastro pub, including crumble and custard, cheesecake and sticky toffee pudding. The Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream, obviously caught our attention being lovers of a good one. Unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to others, a little dry and not overly sticky. But the butterscotch sauce was fantastic and the vanilla ice cream beautifully potent in flavour and super creamy. It was still a nice end to the meal.
Being a pub too, The Market Porter offers twelve traditional, award-winning ales as well as a selection of wines, soft drinks and a handful of cocktails. The classic Aperol Spritz was perfectly prepared, as we clutched onto the end of the warm autumn weather. The Twinkle however stole the show – a mix of Champagne, vodka and elderflower, it was lightly sparkling and beautifully refreshing. If you’re not an ale lover, and are a little impartial to a fizz, I’d definitely recommend a Twinkle.
- Price: pretty reasonable at between £6.50 and £9 for starters, £12.50 and £21.50 (steak) for mains and £6 for dessert.
- Food: delicious, fresh. Mainly gastro pub options, but there are some beauties in there too. Try the smoked salmon scotch egg and the risotto!
- Drinks: a large selection of ales and wine, and a handful of cocktails. The Twinkle is the one.
- Atmosphere: a fab hidden quiet and cosy spot overlooking Borough Market. Think traditional pub vibes. It’s one to escape the hustle and bustle of the area.
- Wait: it was pretty quiet when we visited one Saturday early evening. I get the feeling this is a hidden gem. Do book if you can, as once this spot is uncovered, I have a feelings no it could get busier.
Have you found any hidden spots recently?
*I was invited along to review for East London Girl, but it was SO good I wanted to share with you too!