London

A Guide to Food Halls & Food Courts in London

Foodcourts, foodhalls or indoor foodmarkets…whatever you call them, they have been popping up like crazy in London! Food courts aren’t a new concept, but the trend has changed and instead of inside shopping malls you’ll more likely them in old and unused buildings that have been repurposed into indoor food halls.

Here are some stops for your London food markets itinerary that will cover you from the rain, provide you a seat and fill your stomach with lots of tasty treats.

Seven Dials Market – Covent Garden
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Situated in a former banana warehouse, the Seven Dials Market is a rather impressive looking food market, with eateries which make me want to come back again and again. Vendors include Club Mexicana (vegan Mexican), Pick & Cheese (British cheese) and Nanban (Japanese ramen and curry)

If you can only get one thing: get yourself a chair at the Pick & Cheese conveyor belt!

Mercato Metropolitano Elephant & Castle – Elephant & Castle

food hall london Mercato Metropolitano Elephant & Castle

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This massive indoor and outdoor complex contains an on-site brewery, Italian food shop and over 40 vendor stalls including Hermanos Tacos (Mexican tacos), Guasacaca (Venezuelan arepas) and Ze Spatzle Club (German spatzle). Mercato Metropolitano Elephant & Castle also offer a variety of workshops on their site, so make sure to check out the most recent offerings here.

If you can only get one thing: Try the German pasta dish from Ze Spatzle Club

Mercato Metropolitano Mayfair – Mayfair
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This central London spot is set in a former church and just looks amazing, plus it even has a crypt filled with wine and cheese!! The market consists of several bars, a speciality foods store and seven food vendors including Lala (Turkush pide), Steamy & Co (bao buns) and Fresco (Neapolitan pizza)

If you can only get one thing: Give the pide at Lala a go.

Market Hall Victoria – Victoria

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This food hall paradise is the perfect spot if you’re looking for a place to eat near Victoria Station. In addition to 11 vendors, there are also three bars, a rooftop patio and a coffee shop. Vendors include Soft Serve Society (soft serve ice-cream), Monty’s Deli (deli) and Gopal’s Corner (Malaysian Tamil inspired food).

If you can only get one thing: Go for Monty’s Deli egg and cheese bun!

Market Hall Oxford Street – West End
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The arrival of the Market Hall on Oxford Street introduced some much-needed life into the Oxford Street food scene that always felt a bit short on non-chain options. Hungry shoppers can indulge into a range of cuisines and vendors include Super Tacos (Mexican tacos), Goodbirds (rotisserie chicken) and Yatai (Japanese)

If you can only get one thing: Opt for the chicken katsu sandwich from Yatai.

Market Hall Fulham – Fulham

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This former Edwardian Underground station ticket hall is now a happening spot with a bar, a fitness studio and food vendors including Hotbox (Texan barbeque), Machan (Sri Lankan dishes) and Fanny’s Kebabs (all things kebabs).

If you can only get one thing: an oat latte from Press Coffee.

Amsterdam

Hotel Breakfasts in Amsterdam via Too Good To Go

The Too Good To Go app lets restaurants, bakeries and hotels offer their daily leftovers to you for a very friendly price. Instead of having to throw away their products because they are out of date, they offer you the chance to ‘save’ a meal by buying a Magic Box that you can then pick up at the location in a certain time frame (usually around closing time). What you get will be a surprise – so if that’s not for you, then you might want to leave it. As a big fan of travelling greener, the whole concept is right up my street and I hope it can be for you too.

I got my first taste of the app in London where I’ve used them for cakes at Konditor & Cook and at two of my favourite coffee shops. But what I really really reeeeeallly wanted to try was a hotel breakfast. Sadly, I don’t live or work near a hotel that offers it so I’ve been waiting til the opportunity arose. Thankfully, a while ago I was stayed in a central place in Amsterdam and saw my chance to finally try some nearby hotel breakfasts.

Breakfast buffets are great, and probably everyone’s favourite part of staying at a hotel, but it’s often the case there’s too much food prepared and a chance for lots of food waste. At the moment there are over 1,261 European hotels who have joined Too Good To Go to fight food waste and give us non-guests the chance to enjoy it too.

Here are three Too Good To Go Hotel Breakfasts I picked up in Amsterdam

INK Hotel Amsterdam
This offering was a bit of everything – I don’t think there is a better combination! Bonus point for the cutlery in case you want to have it on the go. I recommend getting a coffee from Stock (bring your own cup of course!) and devouring it on a canal side bench.
Price: €3.99

Hotel Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam
In addition to pastries, muffins and other rolls there are chances you’ll get fresh fruit, fancy cheese and this delicious quinoa and aubergine salad – perfect for lunch. If you bring your own bottle you’ll get juice as well. This is probably the most boujee hotel in Amsterdam so even if you never get to stay at the hotel itself, you’ll be able to say you had breakfast at this 5-star landmark spot.
Price: €5.99

DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station
At the DoubleTree by Hilton you get a box and bag to fill it up yourself! Everything you can image on a breakfast buffet is there from waffles to eggs and fruit. It can almost be too hard to decide how and what you are going to fit in. If you bring a bottle you can top it with one of their juices too. As you can see, you can fit a lot in the boxes and bag, and depending on with how many mouths you have to feed it can last you for up to two whole days!
Price: €4.99

Would I do a Magic Bo again? Yes! I’m practically looking forward to my next trip where I can try all the breakfasts along the way.

Are you familiar with Too Good To Go or a similar concept?

Uncategorised

Places To Visit According To My Sponsored Instagram Ads

Generally it’s rather quiet on my Instagram in terms of adverts, but since January came alone its been non-stop travel/tourism adverts taking over my screen. Here’s the places I really should be going to according to my Instagram ads.

Malta
An actual contender for a culture-meets-beach-trip in Spring or Autumn. On my wishlist are: Rotunda of Mostra, the secret passage in St Gregorys, and of course the Pickly Pear Juice.

St Pancras Hotel
I’ve been wanting to go inside but I thought my only way was via Open House or Afternoon Tea. I haven’t made it to their Open House, and they only do raisin scones so that wouldn’t work for me. But the ad I saw was of the famous staircase and made it look like everyone could just walk in and go up the stairs? Is that how everyone does it?.

Meet van Gogh exhibition at the Southbank
The interactive exhibition allows visitors to explore the work of van Gogh works through a multi-sensory experience where you get to see, touch and listen to Van Gogh’s own thoughts. Sounds good on paper, but I’d much rather go look at the Sunflowers in the National Gallery.

The Faroe Islands
Yes, please! Honestly, if there was a boat from Scotland going I’d be packing right now.

Balkan Campers
Rent a Balkan campervan and drive around sounds like the dream. I actually have a very specific road trip in mind and it does require a campervan, so once I have my driving license and the confidence I’m heading that way.

The Globe
Been there, done that and would do it again. I would love to see the Tempest or A Midsummer Night’s Dream this summer. Just not sure I’m up for sitting on those rather hard wooden benches again.

Visit Wales
I went to Wales and managed to cram in a lot in my day trip, but I would definitely go back and to marvel at Snowdonia National Park, explore Conwy Castle and spot the Whiteford Point Lighthouse.

Australia
Eight years ago I spent about six months in Melbourne for an internship. And unfortunate turn of events meant I was stuck living like a local in Melbourne, not being able to explore the country as I had hoped. I ended up doing day trips from Melbourne and spent one weekend in Sydney, but didn’t see much else. One of my dearest friends moved to Australia and is expecting her first child aaaand Auntie Tea will need to make her way there sometimes and maybe see more of the country, because in this time and age I can’t justify flying halfway the world for such a short stay.

Visit Veneto
Venice is suffering from overtourism, but the Veneto region has so much more to offer. I want to go to Castel Brando, try the local Tiramisù and wander around Lake Misurina. Maybe I can combine it with that Balkan camper trip?

Clifford’s Tower
York’s Clifford’s Tower is actually on my list for when I visit the city at the end of the month. Will report back.

Ecuador
I’d love to! It was once on my go-to list and I even planned my own route that included everything from the rainforest to the Quilotoa loop and the Galapogas Islands. Maybe one day I can make it part of a road trip through South America…?

Royal Opera House
I’ve been to the Royal Opera House for the BAFTA Awards, but not for an opera extravaganza where I can wear one of my over the top dresses. I think I might add this to my London wanderlist.

Citizen M New York
Do I want to go back to New York? I do like Citizen M and as they have two locations in Manhattan, so they actually might be an option if I ever go back, especially as I still need to go to MOMA (it was closed when I went).

London

Things We’ve Lost In London

The streets and neighbourhoods in London keep changing. The recent closure of a fantastic restaurant and the upcoming demolition of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre inspired me to highlight some of those forgotten places in London that we can’t visit anymore.

Long before streaming sites there was Blockbuster to pick up movies and TV show boxes. They also had ridiculously cheap Ben & Jerry’s and sweets and snack deals. Other places that fed my book, music and movie hunger were HMV and Virgin Megastore, which had massives branches on Picaddily Circus and Tottenham Court Road with listening posts to check out new music. RIP.

I’m also sad that The Heygate Estate is gone. It was a Brutalist gem that housed over 1000 families, but has since been flattened to make place for 360 new identikit flats, just one of the too many in London. It will live on in the memories of its residents as well as the movies and shows that it was featured on, such as Attack the Block.

Watching a football game in traditional stadiums has changed over the years. Arsenal’s home base Highbury and West Ham’s Boleyn Ground were scrapped and replaced by new developments and the holy ground is now much more modern, grand and generic.

While the Millenium Dome’s white shell still remains over the top of the O2 Arena – today known for its giant events space, cinema and countless restaurants – it was originally famous as the site of the Millennium Experience – a massive celebration for the year 2000 comprising interactive exhibits, art and music.

Then there is the London Astoria, a venue in Soho and a cinema and ballroom before that. It sadly had to go down to make way for the Crossrail train project in 2009. Other London venues that have closed have included the Hammersmith Palais (2007), the Mean Fiddler (2009), The Luminaire (2010), Earl’s Court (2014), Madame JoJo’s (2014), The Good Ship (2017) and the Borderline (2019).

Battersea Power Station is probably my favourite London building and my biggest regret is not getting in queue for Open House several years back. The former coal-fired power station is being re-developed as Apple’s European head office and I’m sure they’ll open up for Open House in the future again, so fingers crossed!.

Cantina Luredo had 7(!) different types of guacamoles on their menu and it was my intention to savour them all with nachos in hand. When I walked by the other day I saw place was permanently closed and I won’t be getting my guacamole fix after all.

London

Captured: London in January

Mercato Mayfair

All I want is to spend all of January in bed and catching up on films and series. But despite this, I forced myself to face the January sadness and leave the streaming services for a few hours and do something. It brought me to indoor foodmarkets, foodhalls and foodcourts.

I covered my love/hate relationship with the House of Illustration here. The Cuba: Cold War Graphics exhibition had little background information, which is something you need as the posters on display don’t speak for themselves. But I guess they get some bonus points for managing to find these posters featuring women rebels.

I don’t really get to visit Mayfair so it’s nice to walk around and spot things, like this little peaceful corner in Grosvenor Square.

Mercato Mayfair
The reason for my trek to Mayfair was to check out the new Mercato food hall! Their second location opened last year and is housed in a former church. Yes… it looks amazing as it sounds.

Mercato Mayfair
Where else can you better share coffee, croissants and confessions than in a former confessional?

market hall oxford street
Not too far away from there is yet another food market – Market Hall Oxford Street. Apart from the go-to chain joints there’s not really too many options all in one place in the area. Until now that is!

market hall oxford street

It’s located in an old warehouse and very industrial and offers around 15 vendors cooking up tasty food of all cuisines from Mexico, Italy, Japan and more. The katsu curry sandwich was a sure-fire winner.

fulham palace and gardens

A walk in Bishops Park brought me to Fulham House and Garden, a historic house that was once the home of the Bishops of London and has now opened its doors to the public.

My favourite place in historic houses I visit are always the libraries. This one with a secret door has to be my favourite! Though it might be a tie with the pink/blue one in Kenwood House.

fulham palace and gardens

I can’t wait to go back in spring to see the gardens in full bloom. Maybe even bring a blanket, some sandwiches and wine for a picnic.

market hall fulham

My indoor food market hopping also brought me to Market Hall Fulham, which is smaller than its Oxford Street and Victoria counterparts, but might be fun to check out if you are near the area.
market hall fulhamIt seems you can’t open a foodhall in London without it being in a unique location. This venue is in the former entrance hall of an Edwardian Underground station, if only all public transport locations were this amazing.

How was your January?