I recently spent a Saturday afternoon on a Secret Food Tour around London Bridge and Borough market area, not just any foodie tour but a secret one complete with a history of London, the spots we visited and an affable guide.
The Secret Food Tours company offers tours around London, Paris and Rome with plans I learnt to also expand to Madrid later this year. The London tour has two secret food tours, Traditional British food tour around London Bridge and Indian Food tour around the East End of London. It has a clever approach of using local guides whom know the various traders and restaurateurs and insider knowledge that proves really helpful when you’re limited on time and want to see the best each city has to offer, but in the most painless way.
I’ve been on several ‘foodie tours’ in my time around Bangkok and New York City and they were good but what I personally enjoyed about this insight into Borough market was the in-depth knowledge from the guide and the history and details he told us with each stop. I was also impressed that he gave us a few extra tips and facts along the way and spent I suspect a little more time with us.
We kicked off the tour with some traditional fish and chips at the famous Fish Kitchen and tasted some beer battered haddock and generous portion of chips with homemade tartare sauce .. soo good. We then had a little tour around Bermondsey market at various coffee and chocolate specialist shops, which all looked very tempting before we stopped at a local fruit and vegetable producer to taste some succulent strawberries.
Then it’s onto an amazing oyster tasting with a secret ingredient and fire show .. ok well almost a fire show as the Spanish server very nonchalently throws around a blowtorch to heat and burn off the secret ingredient of cheese and a pesto looking mixture, while having a conversation in very fast Spanish .. it’s quite a skill and I’m suitably impressed. After the show we then each try to devour our oyster as delicately as possible, it’s tasty but I still wince as i struggle slightly with oysters.. am I bad?!
Moving swiftly on we have a bit of a history lesson about the buildings, and cobbled lanes around the market area as we walk over towards London Bridge and The Golden Hind and Sir Francis Drake’s defeat of the Spanish
Armada. Oliver our guide explains that the next stop is a surprise and we’re simply not going to guess where or what the building was in its hay day.
One of the final stops on this tour is a former stables underneath the arches of London Bridge in a very cool pub that the next time I have people to stay in London will definitely take advantage of. Oliver has arranged for us to have a cider and cheese and fig tart tasting.. quite an unusual combination as it goes, but as he starts to explain the reasons behind choosing the cider over beer it all become crystal clear.. well almost. The cheese board is a generous mix or cheeses such as English Stiltons, Stinking Bishop Cheese Caerphily cheese and a Yarg cheese along with a fig cake that went really well with the light summer cider.
For the final chapter of this epic afternoon we headed to the river for some fabulous views and the most important dish of the today pudding and lots of it.. Traditional English puddings with stolen recipes by the French and the best eton mess i’ve had in a long time, was certainly a highlight for me and not to missed along with a cup of English breakfast tea and a history of tea lesson from our guide.
All in all not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon learning more about London and getting to eat and drink along the way.
Tours can be booked directly at
Price per person per tour is £60.00 and takes approximately 3-3.5 hours to complete the tour along with plenty of insider knowledge and history about the area as you walk around.