Page 17 - MarketTimesFebruary2020
P. 17

   An old banana and cucumber warehouse in trendy Seven Dials near London’s Covent Garden has been transformed in a £4 million makeover that has created a fine food and drink emporium par excellence. Nicola Gould visits London’s newest market which is already exceeding all expectations
KERB, the organisation that has played a pivotal role in the evolution of street food in London, has opened its latest venture, Seven Dials Market, in the historic area linking Covent Garden to Soho.
The new market is already a phenomenal success, with 15 of London’s top street food-style businesses in situ in the basement and ground floor of Banana Warehouse and an additional 12 traders in Cucumber Alley selling everything from fine food and spirits to flowers.
Crowds throng the building from 11 in the morning to 11 at night six days a week, and from noon to 10.30 at night on Sundays, and the space rocks to the beat of reggae and hip-hop music.
The large communal tables that cover the centre of the basement quickly fill as people drop in to meet friends, enjoy a drink from the bar or savour some of the finest street food available anywhere in London.
The offer includes what is thought to be a world first — a cheese bar with a
conveyor belt of cheese plates. As in a sushi bar, people can sit and select their choice of a British cheese paired with a perfect accompaniment, for example, Driftwood goats cheese with rosemary shortbread.
And there is also a book shop in the basement for those wanting to feed their brains as well as their bellies.
General manager Nicol Dwyer says the success of the venture, which opened its doors to the public last summer, has exceeded all expectations.
But Seven Dials is more than just a one- off success —it is part of the KERB street food phenomenon.
It all began back in 2007 when Petra Barran co-founded KERB. A passionate foodie, she had travelled the country with her mobile catering business specialising in all things chocolate as the street food movement was taking off.
Nicol said that when Petra returned to London she began to take note of the power of the street food community and launched Eat Street to tap into that.

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