Friday, March 9, 2012

London Market Food: Banhmi11, The Guildable Manor and Monmouth Coffee

Wandering along the Berwick St. Market in London's SoHo brought Charlie and I to the Banhmi11 stand. We are banh mi enthusiasts and as we were currently debating our lunch options, it was easy to decide that Banhmi11's presence was fate.  Charlie went with the Imperial BBQ sandwich with thinly sliced British pork marinated in caramel and lemongrass and I with the Crackling Pork Belly with slow roasted British pork marinated in lemon jus and five spice.
We simultaneously "ahhh"d upon first bite. The characteristic Vietnamese bread had a perfectly crispy crust and the inside was like eating a cloud.  Both sandwiches had pate, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber and lots of fresh coriander. I didn't try his, but my meat was nicely sweet and sticky and delicious. 5 quid each (about $7.85) was a bit pricey but we both agreed that this was a nicely done banh mi and we would get it again.

Most times I go to London I try to make a stop at the Borough Market, located just south of the Thames near the London Bridge train station. Borough has some of the best gourmet foods and ingredients from all over the country, but I always find myself returning to the Guildable Manor stand for a lamb sandwich. Since Guildable Manor is located right near the entrance to the market, I usually take a spin around to assess my options. More times than not, the only answer is Guildable.
Guildable offers locally sourced lamb, beef, chicken, game (venison and wild boar) and veggie options. Although game is tempting, I usually go with the lamb. The ground lamb is spiced with mint, coriander, smoked paprika and cumin and is served with lettuce, onions and cabbage. They suggest a homemade harrisa and salsa verde as toppings, but I usually go with their delicious and addictive aioli instead of the harrisa. Above Charlie went with the salsa verde and harrisa. These sandwiches are always really nice, but this last time we were both unsatisfied with the bread. There was too much of it and the crust was soft. It was nothing special. Otherwise, this has always been a solid choice. 

Right near the market on Park St. is Monmouth Coffee, a sustainable and fair trade shop that is regarded as having some of the best coffee in London. We waited on a quick moving line for a cappuccino each. Each coffee is single cone filtered individually and Monmouth's site lists the origins of every ingredient and bean they use. The cappuccino was as delicious as it was beautiful before I ruined the masterpiece with a lid. 
Banhmi11: Berwick St. Market and Broadway Market locations.  See site for details.

The Guildable Manor: 3 Green Dragon Court, Borough, SE1 9AW. 

Monmouth Coffee: Borough, Covent Garden and Bermondsey locations. See site for details.

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