I've been working about ten minutes from Borough Market for six months now and despite the fact I've gained a pound for every month, I've become something of an old hand at nimbly navigating the lunchtime crowds. Despite the advertised opening times, you can actually eat in the Market everyday if you are so inclined. Noobs at lunchtime eating at Borough are often blinded by the MIAB offerings (Meat In A Bap) so here's a list of the finest weekday fare:
Monday: Tricky day Monday. There are a few MIAB offerings, the new sausage guys with the grill next to the now derelict Wheatsheaf pub on Stoney Street are open as is the chicken burger place on the east side of the market near the barber shop. Gastronomica, bang smack in the middle of the main market is worth a look. The parma ham and goats cheese piadini are stunning, as are the excellent panini or the kick ass lasagna which moves quick and isn't always available. Otherwise, the Roast takeaway is an option, though it can be cripplingly expensive and a bit unenthusiastic. Hobbs, the roast meat place on Bedale Street is open, but I'm not a fan. Top it off with a flat white at Monmouth and maybe share one of the massive brownies from the Flour Power City Bakery, who run a skeleton crew.
Tuesday: Things pick up a bit on a Tuesday. Furness Fish start up their massive pans of Thai and Caribbean curry, though oddly they don't give you any bread on a Tuesday. Go figure. There are plenty of MIAB options, with MIAB royalty Brindisa firing up the grill for their long serving chorizo and rocket sandwiches.
Wednesday: Things start gearing up for the full market days and I always stroll though hoping a few more people will open up. I'm always hopeful that I'll be able to grab a few empanadas from Portena or some fresh gnocchi from La Tua Pasta and I'm always slightly shocked that they aren't open. A colleague insists on fish and chips from fish! but it's all a bit much for a weekday lunchtime. I'd had high hopes for the rather unfortunately named Best Italian on Park Street, but it seems to be some sort of wooden spoon emporium. Weird. Usually it's a cheeky pint in the Rake and then MIAB.
Thursday: The first full market day of the week and probably the best day of the week to go down there. Everyone is open but the crowds don't really appear. If you've got time to kill then there's a veggie spot that's very popular over by the barber shop but the queue is a killer and they take their own sweet time making everything. La Tua Pasta and Portena are finally open in the southern section of the market, as is another MIAB favourite, the Boston Sausage Company. El Gustubis have started knocking out enormous salt beef sandwiches, however, the queue is something to behold.
Friday: Get down there early if you want to stand any chance of surviving the lunch time crush. The overspill is open under the arches and it's the first stall on the left that should be your first stop. The Damascean Falafel Company. The queue builds up quick but get there around 12.30 and you can tuck into a outstanding number 3 with relative ease. The one with pickles, as pictured. King of the MIAB on a Friday is the German bratwurst place one stall on from the falafel stand. Get ready to wait and be berated by the guy selling mushroom pate next door for blocking his stall in. Worth the wait though and you need the sauerkraut. The raclette dude is outside Brindisa if your heart needs stopping or suck down a couple of Colchester Natives at Richard Haward's Oyster stall.
Saturday: Do not go. It's hellish. If you do, approach from the London Bridge side, go down those stairs past that cafe with the dodgy paella outside and the stall on the corner, before you are sucked into maelstrom under the railway, is a Jamaican pattie stand. Grab a few and scurry off back the way you came.