Around 18 months ago we went to the opening night of community food market Mercato Metropolitano (MM), Borough. With loads of indoor and outdoor space in this disused paper factory, it was obvious that the place had huge potential, so when were invited along to the launch night of their summer food offer, we were keen to see just how things had developed.
It was a really warm evening and the place was absolutely packed even when we arrived at 6 o’clock. We were given a guided tour – all the food stalls and bars both inside and out were now occupied and doing a busy trade, and we saw a pasta-making class in full flow. In the main building there’s now a boxing gym and club space, in one of the food halls there’s a brewery and near the entrance is a double decker bus growing strawberries – amazing!
MM founder Andrea Rasca was keen to encourage sustainability and a small food ‘footprint’ – German Kraft Beer Brewery and Farmbus fulfil both of those aims. The brewery uses water distilled on site and the beer is sold straight out of the tank unfiltered and unpasteurised. With a DJ playing some cool sounds, the beer stall was incredibly popular in the evening sunshine. Farmbus by Rootlabs uses an aeroponic system to grow strawberries on the top deck and the first crop is expected in June. They also put on gardening classes, some of which are free, as well as sessions for local schools linked to their curriculum.
Occupying the centre of one of the food halls was Abel Bar & Restaurant, one of the food outlets we hadn’t seen before. They ferried a convoy of delicious tapas to the press area on huge wooden boards – we’ll definitely be going back to sample more of their dishes! Although MM has an Italian flavour, there is now a huge variety of different cuisines on offer, including Indian, Turkish, Argentinian, Mexican, Vietnamese and Lebanese to mention a few.
It’s pretty obvious that Mercato Metropoiltano has already been a huge success commercially, but it’s also nice to see the engagement with sustainability and with the local community that’s taking place. You can read more about projects such as Article Number 25, Uprooted and Lamlash Gardens on the MM website. And with summer approaching, MM is the perfect place for an evening of eating, drinking and socialising.