Of all the food halls in London, only one can be said to be a true temple of food. That’d be Mercato Mayfair, the delicious dining destination that’s housed inside an old church. Instead of psalms and prayer, the site now serves wine, cheese, and plates piled high with scrummy delights to visitors. Take me to church, please!
Mercato Mayfair is housed in the Grade-I listed St Mark’s Church, making this a food hall of divine proportions. The church spent 30 years on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register, reserved for buildings of cultural significance that face a threat to their future. After deconsecration, the church underwent a two-year, £5 million revamp, transforming the forgotten space into a gorgeous food hall and cultural hub.
Inside Mercato Mayfair
One of three sister sites to Elephant & Castle’s sprawling Italian-inspired food hall Mercato Metropolitano, Mercato Mayfair ushers you in through grand columns and into a food and drink wonderland. Central to it all is a cavernous space filled with bars and dining options. But hidden within all of the building’s many nooks and crannies are even more treats for the curious.
Down in the vaulted basement crypt (beautifully restored and not at all creepy) lies a wine cellar stocked with goodies. You could easily hang out down here with cheeseboards and glasses of wine aplenty, but there’s more to see yet…
The converted church also houses a microbrewery from London-based lager specialists German Kraft. They’re serving up some of the city’s best lager styles, which are exclusively available at Mercato sites and the brewery’s Dalston taproom. Fun fact: their ‘altar bar’ is made out of broken glasses from their Elephant & Castle beer garden. They collected over 1500 broken glasses over the summer of 2019 and melted them down into over 1000 handcrafted bricks. It’s quite the sight!
Head upstairs and you’ll find a roof terrace at the very top. You’ll definitely get ‘in-the-know’ brownie points from your friends if you take them up there, as it’s a bit of a hidden spot. (Dare we say… secret?)
A dedicated community space in the building finds them offering up cooking classes and events. And the market also hosts frequent live music sessions – the perfect complement to a day of noshing and drinking. Truly, you can eat your way from one end of the church to the other over the course of a day here, and still be hungry for another visit.
Food and drink
Let’s get down to the important stuff, shall we? As with all Mercato Metropolitano sites, the emphasis is on fresh, artisanal, and sustainably sourced ingredients. We can’t possibly list everything here, but food choices range from Pad Thai House‘s Asian fusion street food (and, of course, pad thai), to Pasta Lovers‘s freshly made pasta, and iconic Italian gelato from Badiani. Meat eaters will want to run straight to Beast & Field‘s selection of steaks and burgers. But if you’re in the mood for something luxurious, head to Molo to toss back oysters and chow down on lobster to your heart’s content.
Beer drinkers can sip on perfectly quenching lagers from the aforementioned on-site microbrewery. Not in the mood for a pint? Treat yourself to an artisanal gin drink from Jim & Tonic, or a cocktail from the Rico Coco Cocktail Bar. Or just head back down to The Wine Club in The Crypt for a glass of wine, or three.
Mercato Mayfair is truly an oasis of food and drink, just moments away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. Can you believe it? Your prayers have been answered!
Also published on Medium.