“Our ambition is to build not only a home for excellent, independent food businesses to grow, but a welcoming, open space for everyone to enjoy a big slice of London.” Petra Barran, KERB founder
Housed in an old banana and cucumber warehouse, Seven Dials Market is London’s first covered food market in the West End. Covent Garden and Neals Yard are nearby and the location guarantees the market a steady stream of curious, hungry visitors.
The market is the brainchild of KERB who have been at the forefront of the capital’s street food scene for many years. It’s cool, it’s trendy and it’s popular so it’s no wonder it’s home to some of London’s best new and established food vendors. The market, that opened just over a year ago, is KERB’s first foray into indoor food markets and it’s definitely been a success despite COVID hitting earlier this year.
Personally I’m not a fan of a food court set-up but this market is nothing like your average mall based fast food affair, instead it’s an elevated idea giving independent concepts a place to showcase their wares. We tried dishes from three of the restaurants, a toasted cheese sandwich from Pick & Cheese, bao buns from Yum Bun and London Lamb Curry noodles from NanBan washed down with a craft IPA.
Pick & Cheese offers a conveyor belt of cheese by The Cheese Bar whose flagship restaurant is located in Camden Market. British cheeses are combined with locally sourced ingredients to take classic dishes up a notch. I can recommend their indulgent, calorific toasted cheese sandwich that’s perfect for lunch.
Award winning Yum Bun is known for its hand-made steamed yum buns and steamed dumplings. They offer a great deal, their Bun Box that includes 2 buns of choice, 2 crispy veg gyoza and a side of crunchy asian slaw. NanBan offers Japanese soul food like ramen and noodles along with katsu curries, vegan options and a whole host of sides. Independent drinks companies offer a huge selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks with coffee, soft drinks, mocktails, cocktails, spirits, wines and beers available.
Other food options include Club Mexicana’s vegan-Mex flavours with vegan wines, beer and frozen Margaritas and the Truffalo Burger, Seven Dials burger and crispy fries from Truffle Burger. Part of the Franco Manca pizza family, Strozzapreti keeps things Italian with its handmade pasta and El Pollote is the place for Latino fried chicken and yuca fries. Gipsy Hill Brewing serves their own craft beer in cans emblazoned with funky bespoke artwork.
In honour of the building’s history, the two-storey space is divided into the Banana Warehouse, where the street food traders are based and Cucumber Alley is the home of fresh produce. The space has been redeveloped but has retained its industrial feel with cast iron beams and exposed brick but its colourful pink and yellow pop art has given it modern vibes. There’s plenty of smaller seating areas and bigger communal tables spread across the two levels.
The botanical lined Cucumber Alley is home to Crown & Queue who produce traditional cured meats, Hackney Gelato who offer Italian ice cream and the Cucumber General Store that has a varied product range. Specialist stores include Wheelcake Island with its filled fluffy Taiwanese pancakes and Lithuanian rye bread and brioche from Karaway. Flowers and plants can be found at The English Flowerhouse and the Market Bookshop sells books by day and can be hired as a private room at night.
Under the current covid restrictions food and drink orders are made via a QR code on the table, payment is online and everything is delivered to the table. Bookings are limited to 6 people and booking in advance is advised, alternatively you can join the virtual queue and take your chances as we did. The market is operating a one way system and masks must be worn when not at your table. Sanitation stations are available throughout the market.
Seven Dials Market
Location: Earlham Street, London. WC2H 9LX
Opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday 12 noon – 10pm, Sunday 12 noon – 6pm
Book online HERE
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2020. All rights reserved. Additional photos used with courtesy of Seven Dials Market and respective venues.