When it first opened, the Market Halls food court in Victoria featured three essential London restaurants, including spin-off brands from Roti King — the much-loved Malaysian and Singaporean roti masters from Euston — Soho and City udon noodle specialists Koya and pub restaurant, the Marksman. Now, both Koya Ko and Bunshop have left the growing food hall.
Those were the headliners, but there’s more than that hat-trick: the general calibre of vendors secured by Market Halls creators Simon Anderson and Andy Lewis-Pratt might even make it the city’s first genuinely modern food court, modelled in the image of the popular stateside format.
Here’s a full run-down on all the vendors, who’s behind them, and what to try.
Koya Ko Key people : Chef and co-founder Shuko Oda and co-founder John Devitt What is it : The third outpost for the celebrated Japanese udon noodle bar and small plate specialist Koya. Other sites include the original on Frith Street in Soho and the follow-up at the Bloomberg Arcade in the City. Must-try dish : Any of the freshly made udon noodles in dashi.
Key people: Owner Sugen Gopal
What is it: Malaysian Tamil cuisine and an homage to the restaurant Gopal’s parents opened in Malaysia in the 1970s. Phenomenal, flaky, fat-enriched roti canai that have become its hallmark at Euston’s Roti King will be at the centre of brand’s only other outpost in the city.
Must-try dish: Roti canai.
CLOSED — MARCH 2019
Key people : Chef-owners Jon Rotheram and Tom Harris What is it : A shop that serves a variety of savoury buns, taken from the popular bar snack served at the Marksman, Rotheram and Harris’ outstanding pub-restaurant on Hackney Road. Must-try dish : The classic beef and barley bun, for the uninitiated.
Key people: Chef-owner King Cook
What is it: A vegan restaurant that seeks to extricate veganism from the trappings of the white, wellness-oriented mainstream.
Must-try dish: A new Market Halls dish: fried vegan chickn bites with teriyaki glaze, slaw, and brown rice.
Key people: Head chef Francis Law
What is it: Celebrated Cantonese cook and dim sum chef, who trained at the Macau location of world-famous xiaolongbao chain Din Tai Fung, Law’s menu is based on the regional cuisines of northern China, and includes Sichuan and Hunan influences elsewhere.
Must-try dish: Instagrammable ruby prawn dumplings, whose dough is coloured with beetroot juice.
Key people: Founder Mark Ogus and chef Owen Barratt
What is it: A kosher-style deli serving Jewish comfort food, which has sites on Hoxton Street and in Spitalfields Market. Also, the purveyor of London’s finest rueben sandwich.
Must-try dish: After (or before) the reuben, the chicken noodle soup.
Key people: Chef James French
What is it: Traditional, handmade fresh pasta; dishes inspired by the “self-trained” chef’s extensive travels around Italy which include an apprenticeship at the Michelin-starred l’Erba del Re in Modena.
Must-try dish: Conchigliette with romanesco broccoli, pancetta, and anchovies.
Key people: Founders Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney
What is it: A spin-off from the team behind Breddos Tacos, which promises a “new concept focusing on a more authentic and concise taco offering with charcoal cooking [al carbon] at its heart.” It is inspired by the hole-in-the-wall and roadside taquerias in Mexico and will include a DIY (apply your own APYO) salsa bar.
Must-try dish: Adobada tacos: spit-roasted pork with salsa verde and crispy pork skin.
Key people: Chef-owner Tom Griffiths
What is it: Brighton-born residency which debuted in London last year at Spitalfields Market’s Kitchens. A self-styled nose-to-tail offering includes dishes such as ‘pig nugget’ which uses all parts of a pig, served with pickles and apple jam and a stuffed suet dumpling filled with braised beef cheeks and shin.
Must-try dish: Hunter’s chicken.
Soft Serve Society
Key people: Emma Lau and Nikki Tang
What is it: Extremely photogenic soft serve ice cream, soft serve ice cream sundaes, and freak shakes. The strongest flavour is coconut charcoal.
Must-try dish: Coconut charcoal soft serve.
Fish and chips tier
Kerbisher & Malt
Key people: Saul Reuben (ex-Oxo Tower and Racine)
What is it: A “modern,” British fish and chip shop, which, according to Heston Blumenthal, “takes the very essence of a chippy and makes it so much better.”
Must-try dish: Fish and chips.
Key people: “Married couples” Charlie and Anneke Gilkes, and Duncan and (nutritionist) Zoe Stirling
What is it: “All-day, fast-casual, healthy eating concept” at which “unlike other health food concepts, all of Squirrel’s staff are trained in basic nutrition and can advise customers on what they should order to support their #goals.”
Must-try dish: A grain bowl called “Guac n’ roll.”
Key people: Founders Davide Pastorino and Andy Wells
What is it: A speciality coffee shop, which also serves loose-leaf teas from “independent artisan producers.” Press imports and and roasts coffee from 15 different countries across the world.
Must-try drink: Not cold brew.