Described by its founders as a cross between a farmer’s market and a supermarket, Union Market opened up earlier this year in the former ticket hall of Fulham Broadway station.
The Grade II-listed hall, which was closed in 2003 and replaced by a hideous shopping centre-cum-entranceway, had a mercifully brief life as a branch of TGI Fridays before re-opening in its current guise this July. The focus is very much on traditional British foods, with the usual gamut of goods you’d find in any posh food shop worth its kosher salt: cheese from Neal’s Yard, cakes and breads from The Bread Factory, pasta from the Fresh Pasta Company, et al. Alongside a grocery selling the increasingly familiar blend of esoteric goods and traditional household larder-stockers, albeit mostly at a more inflated price than you’d get at Sainsbury’s, Union Market, for all the owners talk of being a “new and unique food retail proposition”, actually fits nicely into the niche carved out in recent years by Whole Foods and Planet Organic.
What sets it apart, of course, is the location: the ticket hall dates from 1905 and many of the original features are still in place. The main hall is well-lit by a glass atrium, and benches for dining inside are set alongside the old wood-paneleld ticket windows, which also feature a series of photographs of how the hall used to look. Perhaps the highlight is the wine area at the back, entered by passing through a pair of stone columns.
The look has been complemented by a refit which emphasises the rustic; anachronistic touches like blackboard, faux-period signage and vintage-inspired posters may seem a little hokey, but on the whole it gives Union Market a distinctive edge which may help as it tries to catch the attention of residents in one of London’s wealthier areas.
Union Market, 472 Fulham Road, beside Fulham Broadway station. Open seven days a week.