East London Is Getting A Delicious, Sustainable Food Market

Alex Landon Alex Landon - Editor

Mercato Ilford

Mercato Ilford sees the beloved food market staking out a new spot out east.

First there was Rome, then Constantinople. Now, Elephant & Castle could be the next seat of an empire, as Mercato Metropolitano have announced their next expansion plan. Already well established in SE1, they submitted plans for Mercato Mayfair last year – and now, like Alexander the Great before them, they’ve turned their eyes east. All being well, they’ll look to open Mercato Ilford before the year’s end.

See also: All the tastiest street food halls and markets in London.

Mercato Ilford

Admittedly, Ilford is a somewhat rogue choice for their next market, but big plans need a big space. And Mercato Metropolitano have big plans for Ilford. (Side note: we’ve had a big debate about whether Ilford is east London, north London, or not in London at all – in the end, we bowed to Wikipedia, who rate it an east London stalwart.) The new space will be a 31,000 square foot behemoth, built on a car park behind Ilford town hall, and they’ve gone all in on sustainability.

Mercato Ilford

Zero waste initiatives, green energy sources, and an urban farm on the rooftop make it a proper self-sustaining endeavour. Indeed, they’re aiming to produce enough fresh produce to feed 100,000 diners, by selling the veg at a community food market at a third of the supermarket price. (Big up, Mercato Ilford).

Mercato Ilford

Details about the rest of the market are pretty scarce, but Mercato Ilford are promising “Mediterranean restaurants, Middle Eastern grills, [and] pan-Asian food”, in a space designed for 600 diners and 30 market stalls. Meanwhile, a German craft brewery (we strongly suspect German Kraft, who are currently part of the setup in Elephant & Castle) will be brewing beer and producing their own mineral water. An opening date is still TBD, but the hope is it’ll be here in October 2019 – at which point, we’ll do something unusual, and decamp en masse to Ilford.

Also published on Medium.

Food & Drink