Here at Whippet we’re pretty obsessed with food. From new restaurant openings to the latest flavour of M&Ms we want to know about it, experience it and taste it. So a new market opening in London just a mile away from much-loved Borough Market, was an opportunity not to be missed.
Located in Borough Triangle, just up from Elephant and Castle, Mercato Metropolitano opened in an old paper factory earlier this year. Andrea Rasca is the man behind the project, who has previously played a key role in developing the brilliant chain of Eataly stores which started in Turin in 2007.
On arrival, first impressions are good. Bold graphics and clear branding set a simple and straightforward tone. This continues with the ‘no-frills’ feel in the main area. Almost reminiscent of a Scandinavian Christmas market, the recycled wooden structures and blackboard style comms help to further suggest values of craftsmanship, artisan food and urban renewal. The market is based in an area undergoing a £3 billion regeneration so the chosen materials feel very appropriate and reflective of an underlying social purpose.
We were excited by therange of food available. Billed as including ‘the best pizza maker’ from Naples, the producers definitely have an Italian bias but also contain award-winning British food retailers. Fortunately we arrived just before lunch so it seemed timely to try some of the goodies available. We were spoilt for choice and did a full circuit before settling on some fresh gnocchi, a glass of Italian champagne and a fab beer called Brettxit!
Then came Prezzemolo e vitale – the independent family-run supermarket from Palermo. This is 4,000 square feet of true foodie heaven. The daily deliveries of fresh food cover everything you’d expect from a small Italian grocer including cheese, wine, beer, meats, veggies and fish. It feels brilliantly authentic with fixtures and fittings that look individually sourced and assembled combined with handwritten pricing on deli-style tickets. Whilst it’s hard to believe you would do your weekly shop here you can buy pretty much anything from arancini to zucchini, and we were very tempted!
So in summary, Mercato Metropolitano definitely gets the Whippet thumbs up. And with it’s cookery school, in-house cinema, vegetable garden and gym, it’s much more than just a food market. It’s definitely also a great offering for locals as opposed to it’s more tourist-focussed cousin, Borough Market, a mile up the road.
It has to be said that it’ll be interesting to see how it fares in the British Winter. We visited on the hottest day of the year when everyone was making great use of both the inside and outside space, but we suspect we wouldn’t be so keen crouching on one of the wooden benches while the wind blows through the big openings in the main hall in January. However, we applaud Signor Rasca and the team and wish them luck. We’ll be watching this space with mouth-watering curiosity.