Summer has truly arrived at Elephant & Castle food heaven Mercato Metropolitano.

The space it occupies is a converted warehouse of 38,000 square feet divided into three airy open-food spaces converted from a disused paper factory. The market is

only a few minutes’ walks away from both Borough and Elephant and Castle tube


It aggregates around 30 food and beverage artisans and a cinema. The site for Mercato Metropolitano was opened in 2016 by its Italian founder as the first location outside of Italy. Offering an impressive permanent range of small producers, farmers and makers bringing the very best of Italian and UK food to central London.

While the food court and the grocery store (Prezzemolo & Vitale) are always open, it’s during the longer spring days and warm summer evenings the place really comes alive, particularly in the outdoor area where this year a double decker red London bus and a German brewery have popped up (next to Cuban sandwiches and Sicilian cocktails) to welcome visitors and punters.

We attended the summer party launch event on possibly the hottest day of the year so far, and it seemed a perfectly chosen day given the festive vibes of the evening.

On the night, we were given a brief tour of the mercato itself as well as a tour of the brewery, which is fairly massive and almost concealed within the large former warehouse where the food court now stands.

German Kraft Beer Brewery’s innovative local beer is using water distilled on site using theenergy generated by the yeast from the fermentation process. This water is then mineralisedto perfection to create a unique fresh brew. Water makes up 95% of beer – making this thekey resource for brewing.

The brewery has been installed on site by a German family who know how to make proper German ale, but welcome the use of the local water to give the drink its freshness and zest.

We tried a couple of their brews and indeed they were really refreshing and light, and we could have drank way more given the heat of the day.

The German Kraft Beer project will also be interestingly aiding further outlets at Mercato Metropolitano by providing water for the pizzeria to use in their dough and recycling warm waste water from the brewing to heat the Rooney’s Boxing Gym showers (located above the grocery store)

We also visited the Roots and Shoots, the red bus which is basically a’pick your own’ strawberry field on the top deck using hydroponic irrigation system, while on the lower deck displays a pretty array of cactus plants and herbs for sale.

This unique take on urban growing will be parked in Mercato Metropolitano’s garden untilend of summer’18. Visitors to the Farmbus will have a chance to look around the high tech urban farm, taste the produce, and buy indoor plants for the home.

Rootlabs are using state of the art growing systems and a climate-controlled environment to produce fruits and fresh herbs. It has been designed as a unique system to facilitate growing sustainable produce all year round.

While these two are the novelties of the 2018 season, many of the Mercato’s established brands are still going strong from Neapolitan wood fired pizza from Pizza Napoletana (good and authentic with some quality toppings too).

There’s also Italian Enoteca (really good pasta dishes as well as soups and vegetarian options with a pretty good wine list), the recently reopened Caffe del Mercato (do try the mini cannoli and the lightest savoiardi), Tuscan ice cream Badiani (their pistachio is delicious) and the Grill, a relatively newcomer on the Mercato which sells, as the name suggests, loads of earthy, substantial meats (skewers and chicken are the best sellers).

Mercato is open every day (with slightly different opening hours weekdays and weekends) and is particularly busy in the evenings, while during the weekdays is a great relaxed and informal lunch spot. It is dog and baby friendly and accessible to wheelchair users too.