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London market a shopping and dining haven

By Susan Welsh
Travel + Leisure
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(Travel + Leisureexternal link) -- On weekends Borough Market draws some 70 organic farmers, artisanal producers, world-class bakers and gourmet food importers from all over the world.

Brave the queue for the juicy venison burgers sizzling on a large grill at Westcountry Venison, which also produces a prizewinning venison terrine made with Madeira, brandy and juniper berries.

For fresh-pressed olive oils -- ranging from gold and mellow to green and peppery -- and cured meats (this is your chance to sample Ibérico ham), go to Brindisa Spanish Foods. Stop by Turnips, a produce stall that sells unusual fruits such as tangy plum-like greengages and Italian strawberry grapes, to add the finishing touch to a picnic hamper.

Gamston Wood Ostriches purveys all things ostrich, from meat to old-fashioned feather dusters.

Restaurants and bars

Roast (Floral Hall, Stoney St.; 44-207/940-1300; dinner for two $75), an airy, glass-enclosed space in the historic Floral Hall overlooking the market, with views of St. Paul's cathedral, packs seasonal organic ingredients into traditional British dishes (dressed Dorset crab; roast Herdwick mutton).

Rub elbows with City bankers and trendy East Enders at Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House (11 Stoney St.; 44-207/403-9554; dinner for two $90), where ultra-fresh oysters are always on the menu, including the Duchy of Cornwall variety, farmed by proprietor Ben Wright at the Prince of Wales's oyster farm in Cornwall.

Set under Victorian railway arches, Brew Wharf (Brew Wharf Yard, Stoney St.; 44-207/378-6601; dinner for two $75), a cavernous microbrewery with mosaic tile floors, pairs house ales with solid brasserie fare such as braised pork belly and red cabbage. The tiny bar Rake (14 Winchester Walk; 44-207/407-0557) stocks more than 100 obscure brews drawn from every corner of the world, including Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, a "smoked" ale from Bavaria, and Bière Darbyste, a Belgian wheat beer flavored with figs.

Shops

The arrival of Paul Smith (13 Park St.; 44-207/403-1678), which sells the British designer's colorful, sharply tailored clothes alongside vintage books and kitsch collectibles, may herald the neighborhood's evolution into a fashion as well as food destination. (London's best new shopsexternal link)

With its soaring ceilings and massive open counter, Neal's Yard Dairy (6 Park St.; 44-207/ 645-3554) is a temple of cheese with 50 varieties on display, including British all-stars such as Montgomery's Cheddar and Colston Bassett Stilton.

Domestic goddess Nigella Lawson is a fan of the deliciously moist cakes (chocolate rum, orange lavender) and whimsically decorated pastries (boardshorts-clad gingerbread men) at Konditor & Cook (10 Stoney St.; 44-207/407-5100).


Planning a Caribbean getaway? Don't miss Travel + Leisure's new Ultimate Caribbean Hotel Guide.

Copyright 2006 American Express Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved.


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Neal's Yard Dairy is a temple of cheese with 50 varieties on display.

IF YOU GO ...

Destination: Borough Market, a 4.5-acre market site (8 Southwark St.; 44-207/407- 1002; Fridays noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Tube stop: London Bridge (Northern or Jubilee line)

Don't miss: The free food samples offered at many market stalls

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