Friday 1 March 2024

London: Borough Market and The Mudlark pub sunday roast

I was delighted that my sister from Dublin was able to meet us in London for two days.  We partly planned our time by messaging but kept it open to serendipity.  A morning at Borough Market was our first destination.  Both Sylvia and I had read about it online and Chris loves going there when she comes over to London.  We loved it so much we stayed for a Sunday roast lunch at a nearby pub.

We met Chris at our hotel and took the tube to Monument.  The underground station is named after the 17th Century monument to the Great Fire of London in 1666.  The tall monument was designed by Christopher Wren.

Then we walked across London Bridge with a splendid view of the iconic Tower Bridge.  

Interestingly the latter 19th Century suspension bridge is far more prominent in tourist literature about London but if you dig even a little into the history of London Bridge it has an amazing history.  While the current concrete bridge was built in the 1970s, it is at a significant location that has had bridges going back to the first wooden bridge in 50AD built by the Romans.  By the 17th Century the Medieval stone bridge was the location of many shops and houses that were built up to 6 stories, and the gatehouse was topped with spikes exhibiting severed heads of executed criminals.

We walked past Southwark Cathedral.  I wish we had had time to see the Shakespeare window but alas it was not to be.

Then we descended into the bustle of the Borough Market.  This photo does not show just how busy it was.  There were a lot of people on a grey Sunday in February.  And lots of twinkly lights among the iron girders    .

And so many tempting stalls.  Piles of baked good.  Big wheels of stinky cheese.  Colourful fruit and vegetables.  So many places that I wanted to stop and buy.  It was both a blessing and a curse that we were only in London a week and had limited space in our luggage.

The Borough Market shop was impressive.  I loved their aesthetic and bought a new double oven glove to replace our favourite red dotted one at home that is falling apart.

I was so busy admiring the old-school barrow and daffodils that it took me a while to notice that the roses in the background spelled out Love.  It was close to St Valentine's Day.

This spice shop was amazing.  I took away a sicilian lemon salt.  I wanted to walk away with a bagful of salts.  Sylvia got a matcha latte powder.

Rows and rows of bottled vinegars, sauces, preserves are such a beautiful sight!

This fruit and vegetable display was amazing.  At the top is a huge jackfruit and beside it are spiky orange cocoa pods.  Neither is a common sight in my world.

All that food made us hungry.  Chris went to queue forever for Ginger Pig sausage rolls.  They are a sensation at the market but a bit much meat for her liking.  Close by were venison sausage rolls with no queue at all.  Chris recommended coffees from Monmouth but it was closed.

Sylvia got a peach drink at a Turkish food van and I went to get us some empanadas at Portena (which we enjoyed) I went to eat them with Sylvia but the Turkish owners said that we could not eat something from elsewhere at their table.  We went, but not before photographing our food.

Then we walked on and passed by many food stalls.  Sylvia was most excited to see the famous strawberries with melted chocolate.  The stallholders were handing out samples.  We waited expectantly and watched the chocolate fountain but it seemed the samples had dried up.  Chris asked the stallholders if they were still handing out samples and they obligingly gave us some.  They were really good but we did not have the room in our stomach or our wallet for a cup of them at 8.50 pounds.

I had my eye on other treats.  Nearby was a place selling mulled juices.  I liked the look of the mulled orange and the mulled jolly fig but could not go past the steaming pot of Mulled Rhubarb and Quince Juice.  It was delicious and smelled so fragrant: perfect for a warming winter drink.

We loved this mushroom display and were very happy to taste some mushroom risotto.  It was as delicious as their mushrooms were pretty.

There were a few other viral sensations before we finished our stroll through the market.  One was Bread Ahead doughnuts.  You can see a picture of them in the top photo collage.  They looked amazing.  The queue made them less attractive.  We walked on to check out the Humble Crumble.  Such a great name!  It has a great flexibility with the 'Customise your Crumble' menu under the headings of fruit, crumble and toppings.  Unfortunately the queue again was so long that we didn't even consider it.

Instead we decided it was time to leave and find the Sunday roast I had promised myself.

We passed a few places that looked like great lunch places.  I read some recommendations online for this vegan restaurant called Mallow.

I was hellbent on a vegetarian roast dinner (by which I mean with nut roast) at a pub.  Sunday roast seems to be a thing in London at many pubs.  We passed The Mudlark pub (Montague Close, London, SE1 9DA) near the market.  It was built in the mid 19th Century and today offers a Sunday Roast including a nut roast option.  It seemed what we were looking for (and we were too hungry to travel to the Mall Tavern in Notting Hill Gate where I had planned to go).

I was first drawn to the name.  Mudlarks harks back to Dickensian times when people made a living by finding treasures in the mud of the Thames.  A sign also told us that the pub had been a backdrop in scenes in films such as Bridget Jones Diary and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Inside the pub was cosy and welcoming.

Both my sister and I ordered the roast dinner with a nut roast.  The "nut and vegetable roast" was described as made of almond, walnuts, sweet potato and root vegetables.  It was served with glazed parsnips, thyme roasted carrots, long stem broccoli, a Yorkshire pudding and rich gravy.  I liked that they noted that the nut roast came with vegetarian gravy.  It's good to be clear on this.  I also had some cauliflower cheese on the side (because it is part of my family roast tradition).  The nut roast was a bit softer than I prefer but it was an excellent lunch.  Those potatoes were pleasingly crispy and it was a great novelty to have pillowy Yorkshire puddings.

For drinks we had a coke for Chris, a cafe latte for Sylvia and a Fentimans ginger beer for me.Sylvia decided she would just taste my roast dinner and order herself a baked macaroni cheese served with garlic sourdough flatbread.  She also had roasted garlic mushrooms on toast, which was a bit soggy.  We also had a really lovely waitress who was so charming and friendly.

I loved all the timbered beams in the interior.  The Mudlark is one of the Nicholson Pubs franchise but it still retained character.

We walked back across London Bridge, admiring the sight of St Paul's Cathedral as we headed for the underground station to travel back to our hotel.  We wanted time to rest before going out to Leicester Square to see the most recent Mean Girls at the cinema.


  1. Gorgeous! London is such a fantastic city. (Crowded as can be) The roast dinner is very inviting.

  2. How lovely that your sister was able to travel over and spend time with you! Looks like an exciting but crowded time at the market. And what a roast plate! I have fond memories of the veg pub food in the UK from my brief visits.


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