Exploring Borough Market on a food tasting tour with Mimo London

If you are a real foodie then no visit to London would be complete without a pit stop of London’s most famous markets Borough Market.

Borough Market is always vastly busy with restaurant owners, local residents and tourists all tasting and purchasing a bite or two from within so it is very easy to miss out on some of the smaller traders within the market and this is where Mimo comes on board to help visitors discover some of the hidden gems within with market.

Did you know? that Borough Market has over 100 stalls all serving fresh produce from gourmet food, delicious cheeses, cured meats, and artisan patisseries, thus making Borough Market a foodie’s heaven.

I was invited down along with Haydy a community member of Love Pop Ups London to take a foodie tour through Borough Market with guide Sara Butler of Mimo London to discover the hidden delights of what Borough Market has to offer.

Mimo

Mimo was founded in 2009 by husband and wife team, Jon and Nicole Warren when they fell in love with the local cuisine in San Sebastian. What began as private tours for holiday makers looking for an authentic taste of the local food scene, led to the opening of a gourmet shop and cookery school. They have since opened in Seville, Mallorca and the Algarve and now London bringing a wealth of experience with them and offering a host of food-focused experiences.

New to London they provide an opportunity to cook with produce from the market within their cookery school and provide food walking tours giving a a more in-depth guide of either Borough Market or other nearby locations such as Soho.

Through a guided tour of Borough Market you’ll be taken on a food journey to some of the best kept secrets within the market from facts and stories from past and present and visit and taste some of the best produce from local farmers and family run businesses that come to Borough Market to sell their produce. At the end of the tour you’ll be taken back to enjoy some of the culinary delights picked up on the way within their cookery school as well as enjoying a wine tasting class.

Learn, experience, cook, drink and taste.

A taste of Borough Market

Upon arriving at Mimo London which is based in a beautiful redbrick building which dates back to 1897. Within Mimo London there are beautiful kitchens which have a Roundhouse feature Caesarstone quartz worktops and have a range of top-of-the-line Gaggenau appliances. Original features are still highlighted from the fireplaces, hardwood floors, and floor-to-ceiling sash windows. The first floor is a bright, sunlit space overlooking the market that features a 12-seat chef’s table island, with a private dining room with a wine fridge and 10-person oval table. With a cooking school on the ground floor. At the entrance to the cooking school there is small shop, which sells some of their favourite Spanish and Portuguese food and wines, which are highlighted from their experiences throughout Spain and Portugal.

Mimo London

Upon entering the cookery school area we met with Sara our food guide for the morning. There was four of us on this tour but the tour can take up to ten people. After we acquainted ourselves Sara then proceeded to tell us that we will be taking a tour around the famous Borough Market and will be discovering some of the best stalls within the market which people may not necessarily stop at as they are far too busy heading to their usual favourites or busy grabbing a bite to eat for breakfast or lunch. Plus normally at the end of the tour we would normally return back to Mimo kitchen to sample some of the produce bought throughout the market paired with wine however as there was a private function happening that day we were told that this will not be happening which was a little disappointing to learn.

Mimo

With Borough Market being one of London’s most famous foodie’s paradise, offering tastes from all around the world it is no surprise that some stalls may get overlooked. Mimo London though aims to showcase these stalls and the best local flavors and culinary delights sold by British farmers which are on offer throughout the market.

Upon entering Borough Market we firstly learnt a little about how Borough Market made it’s name. Did you know that Borough Market dates back to the thirteenth century? Did you know that the home of Bridget (fictional character) featured in the movie Bridget Jones is set within Borough Market? Did you know that back in the day pineapples cost £5,000 and was seen as a high class symbol status? Did you know that there is a board within Borough Market with how much things used to cost back in the day?

With so many facts and stories it was handy having a guide leading us to all the well known spots and telling us all about it. I certainly learned and discovered a lot in what I never knew about Borough Market originally.

It was then onto discovering, learning and eating the amazing local produce which can be found within the famous London Borough Market.

The first stop on our London Borough Market Tasting Tour was to taste a Dosa which is sold by Horn Ok! (Mon-Sat).

What is a Dosa you may ask? It is a flat thin layered rice batter, which originates from South India, made from a fermented batter. It is somewhat similar to a crepe in appearance. Its main ingredients are rice and black gram ground together in a fine, smooth batter with a dash of salt. Traditionally, dosas are served hot along with sambar, a stuffing of potatoes, and chutney. They can be consumed with idli podi as well.

The duo behind this stall are determined to brighten your day up with a menu that showcases the best of Indian vegetarian street food. With fresh, fragrant dishes drawn from all corners of the subcontinent, like moong dal dosa, aloo tikki chaat and pani puri.

Sara purchased one Dosa for us all to share. I did not think I would like the Dosa but I was highly surprised and I did. It tasted very similar to a pancake but thicker and followed by flavours of vegetables.

Next it was onto the Scotch Tails (Mon-Sat) for a traditional scotch egg. Sara purchased two eggs for them to share. Customers have been enjoying these Scotch Eggs since 1738 from Fortnum and Mason as a snack. Now they are available within Borough Market.

I didn’t have any as I am allergic to egg but I must admit it did look amazing with the oozy egg yolk. The others said that they were exceptional.

Bread Ahead (Mon-Sat) we enjoyed one of their famous bread sticks which they call Golden Wands of Wonder. Bread Ahead was founded by Matthew Jones in 2013, and has since been in the business and making bread for over 25 years. His mission is to bring quality baking to the masses. The bread was amazing so fresh and full of flavour with the added tomatoes and olives which was within the bread sticks.

The bread stick was delicious with a mix of cheese, tomatoes and Moroccan olives. With there being two British cheeses, the real red Leicester and mature cheddar which has been folded within the dough and baked inside until they melt and ooze out no wonder these sticks are called Golden Wands of Wonder. The bread was also crisp and crusty making it ever so moorish.

Pate Moi (Tues-Sat) have been selling mushroom pate since 1984. There pate is vegetarian and is made from an old secret family recipe using only freshly-picked field, button, chestnut and in-season wild mushrooms. Perfect on toast, but also makes a wonderful stuffing for chicken breasts, a spread for a bacon sandwich, or a flavoursome addition to rice, pasta or potatoes. They also sell a vegan version, made using homemade cashew curd cheese.

The mushroom pate was creamy and not overpowering but was rich. Was a pleasant surprise and I would certainly consider buying this mushroom pate in the future as an alternate to the usual chicken or duck pate which I tend to buy over Christmas to spread over toast. A vegetarian lovers dream.

Artisan du Chocolat (Wed-Sat) we got to enjoy some salted caramel truffles as well as some other chocolate and Sara also bought us a bag each from their bargain bin of chocolate which have gone a little cloudy over time due to fluctuation of temperature. Artisan du Chocolat have been refining their own chocolate since 1999. They have even had their chocolate coated gingers sent up into space. They mix traditional craftsmanship with technical advances and is approved by the British Retail Consortium, part of Sedex ethical sourcing and certified for producing Halal chocolates.

The salted caramel was delicious, as was creamy and had just the right amount of saltiness. The apple crumble was lovely too with a hint of apple and the smoothness of the rich chocolate coating.

From the bargain chocolate bin I chose a bag which was a right mix of chocolate from salted caramel pieces through to nutty chocolate. Mine even had a Father Christmas shaped chocolate. This is certainly a great way to try some of their chocolates before buying a box of them.

Shellseekers (Mon-Sat) sell a range crustaceans. Darren Brown who used to be in the Royal Navy set up Shellseekers after his hobby for diving for scallops and oysters grew leading him to set up the business. Diving off the Devon coast, the scallops he and his team collect by hand are highly prized, and have found their way into some of the best kitchens in the country. He also sells other sustainably caught fish, shellfish, crustaceans as well as an impressive selection of game which much of it is shot by Darren himself. Bags are hung up over his produce to stop flies from landing on his fresh shellfish.

Sara purchased a scallop for us each along with a some prawns to share. The scallops were cooked to perfection being juicy and succulent and the prawns were most certainly the best prawns I have ever tasted as they were fresh, large and juicy.  

Cartwright Vintners (Thur-Sat) sell a variety of drinks. Sara purchased a bottle of Silvola Rosato which is a Rose Prosecco for us all to share. Cartwright Vintners are a small run family wine business based within London’s Borough Market. Their aim is to provide an interesting selection of good wines at competitive, affordable prices. They even allow customers samples of their drink before making your selection.

I usually don’t drink Prosecco but this was the best I have ever had as it was easy to drink and cleansing. Was full of flavour with the gentle hint of raspberry, this dry, pink sparkler is a stunner.

Alsop & Walker (Wed-Sat) are an award winning British cheese producer. They are from East Sussex and began in 2008. Since then they have been producing unique world award winning cheeses. All their milk is sourced from a local farmer to make their cheeses. This year at the British Cheese Awards the Lord London was awarded Gold Award for the Best Soft Cheese and given the status of the Best Soft Cheese in Great Britain.

We got to sample from their stand many cheeses all of which were equally as good as each other with each being ever so creamy. However my favourite was the Lord London. This is a semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese. The cheese was made in honour back in 2012 also for the London Olympics, and received a silver medal at the World Cheese Awards. Plus this cheese was also served at the Royal Wedding Breakfast of Kate & Will as it is one of Kate’s favourite cheeses and I can see why as I think it is also my new favourite.

Bath Cheese Company (Tues-Sat) are also an award winning cheese company and has been Crowned Supreme Champions 2019 for the International Cheese Award. They raise cows on their Park Farm taking a traditional approach by raising and grazing their 160 herd which consist mainly of Holstein Friesian cows to produce the best artisan and handmade cheese. Bath Cheese Company are entirely organic and are registered with Organic Farmers and Growers, so that means no fungicides, pesticides or artificial fertilisers are used on their land. They use manure and organic compost. Some of their historic award winning cheeses are the Wyfe of Bath, the Merry Wyfe and the 2014 World Champion Bath Blue Cheese.

We got to sample some of their different kinds of cheese and even saw fresh mozzarella being made. All the cheeses were amazing and tasted so fresh.

Chegworth Valley (Mon-Sat) sell a variety of juices. From Hegworth Valley this family-run fruit farm was established in the beautiful Kent countryside back in 1983. The fruit is hand selected and pressed in small batches, often within hours of picking. The juices are then gently pasteurised to retain the nutritional properties and flavour of the fruit. The range includes a wide selection of single varietal and blended fruit juices, including raspberry, strawberry, wild elderflower, rhubarb & beetroot. They are famous mainly for their apple and pear juices.  

I tasted a cup of warmed apple juice ready for Winter months which was a sweet delight.

Luminary Bakery (Thur) sells cakes, cakes and more cakes. Founded in 2013, Luminary Bakery began in a small shared kitchen and has since taken on a stream of apprentices and trainees, providing women from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to gain employable skills and build a network of support. All their ingredients are of the highest quality, ethically sourced, and transformed into the likes of coffee and cardamom sponge, gluten free salted caramel brownies, and sticky toffee and date layer cake.  

Sara purchased a slice of the salted caramel chocolate cake and it was heavenly. I am not one for chocolate cake but I love salted caramel and I was highly surprised by the moistness of this cake and freshness. It was amazing one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever had.

Juice Pulp Granola (Thur, Sun) sell granola. Their granola is made using a variety of ingredients from carrot, apple and ginger pulp, mixed with organic jumbo oats, almonds, coconut flakes, sultanas, cinnamon, seeds and salt, then a little olive oil and honey to bind it and using no extra sugars and syrups.

Mimi Borough Market Granola

Had a nice crunch and tasted divine.

Bianca Mora (Mon-Sat) sell Parmesan, Salami, Charcuterie & Balsamic Vinegar. Their produce is sourced from small farms in Northern Italy from two rare bred’s, the Bianca Modenese cow from Emilia Romagna and the free range Mora Romagnola pig. Specialising in charcuterie, parmigiano reggiano (parmesan) and pecorino cheese. The star of the charcuterie is the hand-carved leg of the Mora Romagnola pig, which spends its life feeding on acorns and chestnuts, lending the meat a subtle but distinctive flavour. All the products on the stall are organic.

We was given a small dot to taste on the back of our hands and wow even though it was a small sampling it was a very intense delicious balsamic vinegar. However I expect that is because it is after all kept in French oak barrels from the 1900’s for 12 years so no wonder it produces such an incredible balsamic vinegar which are extracted from these old casks.

Black Woods Cheese Company (Mon-Sat) is a cheese company who have been producing soft raw cow’s milk cheeses in their small dairy in Brockley, south-east London, since 2013. Their signature cheese is the Graceburn (British Cheese Awards 2014 – bronze winner) which comes steeped in a blend of extra virgin olive and rapeseed oils rather than brine, and is based on a Persian fetta recipe which David learnt in Australia. They also offer Edmund Tew, a brainy-looking, small lactic cow’s cheese, and William Heaps, a fresh lactic cheese.

This mature soft cow’s cheese Persian Fetta is much creamier than traditional Greek feta and comes steeped in a blend of extra virgin olive and rapeseed oils rather than brine. The garlic, thyme, bay and pepper added to the oil gives this fetta a uniqueness. I loved it.

Turkish Delight (Tues-Sat) sell traditional Turkish delight. 

Mimo Borough Market turkish delight

I opted for the rose flavoured which had a nice strong flavour of rose and a nice jelliness to the Turkish delight. A dream.

Mimo Borough Market me and Haydy

Before ending the tour Sara showed us a new area called The Borough Market Kitchen which is being built in Jubilee Place at the north end of the Market’s sprawling, atmospheric estate. This area will hold 20 stands all freshly preparing food, both hot and cold, which can be enjoyed at large communal tables. Leaving the main market area free for those wishing to purchase cold meat, vegetables, raw fish, cheese or even flowers to take home.

The 20 stands will include many old favourites that are relocating from the Green Market, as well as several new faces which have been selected for their quality and provenance of their ingredients as well as the skill and creativity of their cooks. A high proportion of the produce used in their dishes will be sourced directly from the Market’s produce traders. There will be a wide range of cuisine sold within this new area such as Iraqi cuisine by JUMA Kitchen and traditional Jamaican dishes of Rudie’s Jerk Shack to the Basque Pintxos of Mimo and the British Scotch Eggs of Scotchtails.

Once open (expected mid November) The Borough Market Kitchen will be open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 5pm (6pm on Fridays).

We then ended with the tour by going to a nearby cafe to have a coffee with Sara and to reflect on the many tasty market stalls we visited along with eating the remainder of the food which Sara purchased throughout our travels to nibble on.

When I next return to Borough Market I will certainly be returning to some of the many stalls we visited to purchase such produce as cheese and balsamic vinegar.

Verdict

After taking this tour it has now made me think differently about Borough Market and that I should not be like the thousands of other Londoners and just head on over to my usual regular stalls and lunch spot Roast but to explore more and speak to the stall owners as they really can tell some fascinating stories. It was so interesting discovering the new hidden gems within the market which I and others most likely overlook such as the Granola stand and learning about their produce and uncovering their passions whilst tasting.

Sara is a remarkable guide, so full of personality and passion making it a real treat with her insights and knowledge of the market itself. Who knew that their was so many world-class international produce, from innovative charcuterie, classic cheeses and cosmopolitan street food stalls to be found within the market. Plus I still can’t get over the story about the pineapples. I think next time I will go along to a party I will go with a pineapple under my arm.

As much as I enjoyed this tour I do though feel it is a tad expensive at £85 per person considering we shared a slice of cake or had nibbles from stall holders which you can usually do yourself . Plus I was disappointed that we never returned back to chill with Sara and others at Mimo cookery school to enjoy the remainder of the produce picked up along the way with wine a wine pairing. I think being told in the morning that this part of the tour will now no longer be taking place was a bit off and we should of been told at least the day before by email. I think ending back at Mimo would of been a much more personal than ending up back at a busy cafe in what we did.

However if this tour did come down in price though then I would highly recommend in doing it as Sara was a joy and it was a delight discovering the many stalls which I and others may necessarily walk past. I loved learning all about Borough Market as it was all very interesting but at present I just feel that the tour is far too expensive.

Mimo London

1 Cathedral Street
London
SE1 9DE

Discover all about the classes and tours which Mimo London have by clicking here.

For the London Borough Market tasting tour you will experience a

  • two-hour tasting tour of Borough Market,
  • meet the artisans and discover the stories behind their stalls,
  • expert culinary guide, taste the best the market has to offer, and
  • enjoy a wine pairing within their luxurious private dining room.
Mimo Borough Market click and collect

Plus whilst you are touring and potentially buying produce from the incredible stands that you visit you can always use the now handy click and collect service so you are not lugging bags around with you.

Thank you to Mimo for inviting me and Haydy a community member of Love Pop Ups London in coming down to explore the hidden foodie delights of Borough Market.

Click below to be redirected to read her write ups. All our views are of our own honest opinions.

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