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The Best Market Cafes in London

This big echoey space overlooking the canal at the southern end of Broadway Market is staffed by people who are trendier than you. It’s run by Hugo Warner, who used to be the ‘ugo’ bit of Benugo, and the menu has everything from devilled kidneys on toast to pecorino salads.

Food

Borough Market is a mecca of food, with myriad hot kitchens and actual restaurants jostling for space alongside fresh produce stalls. But it’s also a lot to take in — the options are endless and, as you might expect, some are better than others.

Luckily, this place is one of the good ones. Set up by Hugo Warner, the former “ugo” bit of Benugo (which he left a couple of years ago), and based in Broadway Market, it recreates a sort of Italian-meets-Britain cafe vibe that’s perfectly in tune with the stalls around it. So devilled kidneys on toast sit very happily with a plate of coppa, while the menu also features spaghetti with clams and chilli and steak and kidney pudding for two.

The interior is big and echoey, with wooden floorboards and Formica tables. It’s a place for a big brekkie or lunch (don’t miss the bubble and squeak) and a mug of strong tea.

Drink

Maria’s Market Cafe is a Borough Market institution. It has been around since 1961, and after many decades of frying bacon and brewing tea for everyone from market porters to Hollywood stars, it is still going strong. The simple ambiance of the restaurant, complete with old-school metal tables and chairs, adds to its charm. The cafe serves all-day breakfast, sandwiches and hot drinks. The prices are slightly higher than average, but the food is worth the price. Make sure to try their famous bubble and squeak and full English breakfast!

Hugo Warner (formerly the ugo bit of Benugo) is the chef here. It’s a big, echoey space with wooden floorboards and Formica tables, and the staff are trendier than you. They serve everything from devilled kidneys on toast to pecorino salads.

Atmosphere

Maria’s Market Cafe is an institution in Borough Market. Her famous bubble and squeak (a hearty breakfast) and a pot of builders’ tea are a fine way to start the day. The place has a classic feel to it, with old-school metal tables and chairs, simple cutlery, and basic drinks.

Despite the rather drab surroundings, this cafe still has some charm. It is the first solo project from Hugo Warner, who used to run the Benugo bit of the sandwich chain, and it has a vaguely Italian-meets-Britain sort of vibe. So devilled kidneys on toast sit quite happily alongside pecorino salads.

If you’re in the mood for Mexican food, head to El Pastor under the Borough Market arches. Its big echoey space and carved elm bar make it friendly on the eye. Nip in for a cold Pacifico with a couple of tacos, or make a night of it over cocktails and shared dishes like ray wing curry and bouncy gundu dosas.

Value

The UK cafes and coffee shops market experienced a strong recovery in 2023 following a heavy hit from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, with value sales rising to almost 9.5 billion British pounds. However, higher food and beverage prices combined with squeezed consumer incomes could impact the sector in the year ahead.

This report provides a deep dive into Mintel’s extensive consumer research and expert commentary to reveal the key trends shaping the evolving UK cafes and coffee shop market. It also offers a comprehensive analysis of the current market landscape and identifies new opportunities to drive future growth. Purchase the full report today to gain valuable insight into the UK market. This product includes a Databook, which contains a rich set of interactive charts and tables.

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