New restaurants are so last year. It's 2019, and London's all about food markets and halls, where multiple traders serve their dishes under the same roof. A recent spate of openings has included a Vinegar Yard at London Bridge, Camden's Italian Alley and Market Halls in Fulham and Victoria. Here we take a look at what foodies have to look forward to over the coming months and years. Lunchboxes be damned.
Market Halls West End — late summer 2019
After opening Fulham and Victoria venues in quick succession in 2018, Market Halls is preparing its most central location yet on Holles Street (across two floors of the former BHS Oxford Street building).
The concept is simple — multiple food traders serving their dishes under one roof, with communal seating. Market Hall West End will apparently be the UK's largest food hall, with four bars, 12 kitchens, and seating for 800 hungry people.
The terrace area has been designed with a retractable roof, and they've also found room for an events space, demo kitchen and children's play area in there, suggesting it'll be a family-friendly spot.
Details of vendors and a specific opening date have yet to be announced, but we do know that the bars will focus on British-made beers, spirits and soft drinks. Environmental concerns have been taken into account too, with reusable glasses, plates and cutlery instead of their disposable counterparts.
The same company is launching The Hall just over the Essex border at Lakeside shopping centre — date TBC.
KERB at Seven Dials — September 2019
Known for discovering and supporting budding London street food businesses, KERB is getting its first permanent site, right in the centre of London.
The Seven Dials Market takes over a former banana warehouse close to Neal's Yard, and moves away from the pop-up nature, with artist render images suggesting it'll be more of a traditional marketplace.
Five of the traders appearing at Seven Dials Market have already been revealed; Club Mexicana, Yum Bun, INK, Square Root and Rice Guys are all female-founded. Vegan Mexican food, steamed buns, an Asian-inspired chippy menu and rice bowls can be washed down with soft drinks at Square Root's alcohol-free 'temperance bar'.
Watch this space for further trader details and a launch date.
The Market at 22 Bishopsgate — early 2020
It's a food market in a skyscraper, but don't get too excited — the foodie offerings will be located on the second floor, so no skyline views.
Several food and drink stalls will be rotated regularly to keep things fresh at The Market, which is run by Rhubarb — the company behind dining spots in the Walkie Talkie Sky Garden and Centre Point. The YBFs (Young British Foodies — an organisation seeking recognition for up and coming chefs and food producers) will have an input too, although no specific vendors have been announced yet.
Follow 22 Bishopsgate on Twitter for updates.
Eataly at 135 Bishopsgate — 2020
With sites already up and running across the USA, as well as in Japan and Brazil, Eataly makes its first foray into London at 135 Bishopsgate. The building — running parallel to Liverpool Street station and currently under development — will be home to a 42,000 sq ft market, apparently the 'largest Italian marketplace in the world', across the ground and first floors.
Eating, shopping and learning are all key factors in Eataly's ethos, so expect restaurants and bars alongside deli-style food shops, plus a demo kitchen and cookery school. Access to the market will be via both Bishopsgate and Exchange Square in Broadgate.
Time Out Market, Waterloo — 2021
The former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo station is being converted into a Time Out Market, following the success of a similar foodie location in Lisbon. 17 restaurants, three bars and 500 seats across two floors will feature in the market, which forms part of the larger Waterloo London development.
It's worth noting that at time of writing, the market is still 'subject to licence approval' — a previous plan to open a Time Out Market in Spitalfields was scuppered by a rejected licensing application in 2017.
Mercato Metropolitano — Mayfair, Ilford and Elephant Park
Elephant & Castle behemoth Mercato Metropolitano is much more than a food market, hosting regular events and craft markets, as well as wealth of Italian food and drink, with focus firmly on community and sustainability.
It's branching out, with a Mayfair branch due to open — in a listed former church, no less — in August or September 2019. International food is on the menu, along with a deli, coffee shops, patisserie, cocktail bar, and even a florist.
Observant regulars may also have noticed that the Mercato Metropolitano website makes mention of two further planned locations — Ilford and MM Factory.
Mercato Metropolitano themselves were reluctant to give us further details about these other locations, but we already know that the Ilford is part of the town's new cultural quarter known as The Spark. The site will have a rooftop urban farm, growing fruit and veg to be cooked up and sold at the market itself. Full plans can be seen here [PDF].
The MM Factory mentioned on the website is a further new location, opening at Elephant Park, close to the original Elephant & Castle market. It's being described as a 'dining and community space', offering a supportive social hub alongside the food stalls. Natural grains will be milled on site, and used in bakery, patisserie and pasta products sold there.
No final details or launch dates have been given for Mercato Metropolitano Ilford or MM Factory at Elephant Park yet.