Exmouth Market is a well known, self-contained street in Clerkenwell, with a healthy collection of independent boutiques, restaurants, cafes and bars. It’s pedestrianised, so tables and chairs spill out onto the street and people are constantly coming and going throughout the day and evening, just hanging out, browsing the shops, enjoying tapas, chilling with a drink after work or having dinner. Each weekday at lunchtime, Exmouth Market comes into its own, as the lunchtime street food market springs into life.
The Food Market: Monday to Friday, the street food merchants start arriving to set up their stalls from mid-morning. Then around lunchtime, Londoners from the City and surrounding commercial centres begin to stream into the leafy square, enjoying the gastro atmosphere as the irresistible aroma of cooking fills the air.
The main action takes place between 12.00 and 14.00.
Many stalls come 5 days a week but Thursdays and Fridays are traditionally the busiest days, when all licensed stall holders turn up to feed the hungry crowds. This is the market at its most bustling!
Information on hiring a stall at Exmouth Market…
Of the 20 or so stalls, nearly all offer warm food with a regional or ethnic slant. The choice is diverse but the quality is widely acknowledged to be very high. You can taste the acclaimed cucina espanol of Moro for as little as £5 at their Exmouth Market lunchtime stall. Moro offers either a chicken or a lamb dish with a Moorish twist, Tuesdays to Fridays.
You can sample the delights of traditional dishes from Ghana at the Spinach & Agushi stall, award wining Ghanaian and West African food specialists. Interestingly, this stall is run by the Ghanaian couple Lloyd and Adwoa Mensah-Hagan, whom you may remember from Raymond Blanc’s The Restaurant a few years back. If you get the chance, do try these dishes as they are really excellent, if you like spicy, that is. The rice is traditional Jollof rice, cooked in a spicy tomato sauce (and I mean spicy!). You have a choice meat, fish or vegetarian dishes. Monday to Friday 12.30 to 14.00.
They also operate Saturday stalls on Portobello and Broadway markets.
Another long time regular at Exmouth Market is Crêpes & Galettes where Dominique Manceur has been making traditional crêpes for over 8 years. He puts the secret behind the popularity of his stall down to the ancient family recipe he uses and his really fresh ingredients. Crêpes & Galettes is at Exmouth Market each Tuesday to Friday from 12.00 and is one of the few to stay late until 6.00 pm so you can grab a tasty crêpes after work.
Other excellent lunchtime delights just waiting to be sampled are handmade Italian sausage in ciabatta, traditional Indian vegetarian thalis, dishes from Bangladesh, Mexican Burritos, hot salt beef sandwiches, fresh salads & risottos – just to give you a flavour of what to expect.
Tip: Once you’ve decided what to have, if you are looking for somewhere relaxing to enjoy it, try the park! Beside the church, which is half way down Exmouth Market, there is a little laneway called Spa Fields Lane. This leads to a secret park that has lots of little seating alcoves and benches scattered about the green. A perfect place to enjoy your lunch.
You can hit one of the numerous cafés or bars afterwards for coffee – very civilized.