We’ve always been a fan of markets (from Barcelona’s La Boqueria and Lisbon’s Time Out Market to Bang Bang Oriental and Mercato Metropolitano closer to home) and street food. Now food halls are bringing something else to the mix. Combining the atmosphere of farmer’s markets with cutlery, crockery, glassware and the fact the sites are all indoors, this is less about rough-and-ready vibes and more about sampling as many specialities as you can in a focused setting.
Market Halls are the ones to get to know. Headed up by property investor Andy Lewis-Pratt and Pitt Cue’s Simon Anderson, Market Halls will arrive in Fulham’s old tube station, the former Pacha spot at Victoria and an ex-department store on Oxford Street. As well as a dining hub, the Market Halls will house demo kitchens, event spaces and markets for local producers.
After a few attempts at a London debut, Eataly is now set to arrive at 135 Bishopsgate this year. Expect specialist Italian produce (black truffles, Piemonte balsamic vinegar and cannoli) and a free food ‘university’ offering lessons in preparing Italian dishes. With 35 sites worldwide including Tokyo, São Paulo and New York, Eataly’s likely to be a slick operation, especially considering co-founder Andrea Rasca has experience in the city already, launching his Mercato Metropolitano venture in Elephant & Castle in 2016.
And it’s not restricted to London. An ornate meat market dating back to 1858, Manchester’s Mackie Mayor opened in October as a Grade II listed food hall after being abandoned for over a decade. From the same team that created the award-winning Altrincham Market, Mackie Mayor has turned a forgotten hall into a site teeming with an evolving food and drink offering: choose between communal tables or private seating upstairs in the mezzanine, alongside bao, Reserve Wines and French rotisserie.
If you’re impatient for Market Halls and Eataly to arrive, get up to the north to see how it’s done.