Taberna do Mercado – Spitalfields

Portuguese tapas in East London

C and I went to Taberna do Mercado for a light lunch during our lunch break (so had limited time). Arriving at the entrance in Old Spitalfields Market, we walked through the inviting covered terrace area and into the main restaurant, which is light and appealingly simple: lots of wood, not a table cloth in sight (I have an irrational dislike of table cloths), low-hanging lights and sturdy shelving displaying Portuguese products like bottles of oil, tinned fish, and wines, etc.


Welcome to Taberna do Mercado – canopy extension


Informal dining space inside Taberna do Mercado

We ordered four dishes and although our waitress told us to order more (that four wouldn’t be enough, and suggested another small plate, perhaps some protein) we decided to stick with just four, with the option of ordering another later if needed.

All four dishes were beautifully presented and were more than enough for lunch: a big bowl of green bean fritters @ £5.00, Terrincho Velho mature cheese made from sheep’s milk with toasted sourdough @ £8.00, ‘tinned cod’ in a red pepper paste served in a tin with wafer-thin pickled cauliflower and sourdough @ £8.00 and a spicy chicory salad special with almonds @ £6.00. All really, really tasty and unique.


Green bean fritters @ £5.00


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Terrincho velho mature cheese – from sheep’s milk, with toasted sourdough @ £8.00


‘Tinned cod’ – Cod with fermented red pepper paste served in a tin with toasted sourdough and pickled cauliflower @ £6.00


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Chicory salad special – spicy, with almonds @ £6.00


There’s an excellent selection of Portuguese wines – I had a glass of Quinta do Ameal vinho verde (dry white wine) @ £6.00.


Main restaurant area at Taberna do Mercado


The verdict: Excellent and affordable food, in an informal and appealing space. Service was slightly off (in that our waitress told us – rather than suggested – to order more, without checking how much we wanted to eat for lunch). I’ll go back when I’m not restricted on time, as this is the kind of place to eat shared food leisurely and linger.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Portuguese
~ Address: 107b Commercial Street, Old Spitalfields Market, London
~ Postcode: E1 6BG
~ Nearest station: Liverpool Street, Shoreditch High Street, Aldgate East
~ Website + menus: Taberna do Mercado website
~ Photos on flickr: Taberna do Mercado food photos
~ Location: Taberna do Mercado map


Taberna do Mercado Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


On the Bab – Covent Garden, WC2

This popular Korean street food restaurant doesn’t take reservations so allow some time for queuing on arrival.

On my visit earlier this week, H had arrived first, queued, and been seated at a small table for two by the time I arrived, meaning I skipped a substantial line at the door. Which was nice.


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Inside On the Bab – prepare to queue

Rice poppers @ £3.50

It’s a small restaurant and tables were crammed in close together. It was busy, and although we ordered a bottle of Argentine Malbec @ £25.00 straight away, it was very slow to arrive. We pondered slowly over the food menu before ordering food, and chased the arrival of the bottle of red wine twice.

When our waitress brought our food a while later, we asked her to return it as we still wanted a drink first – the wine we’d ordered some time ago. The Malbec eventually arrived.


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Baek Ban – bulgogi beef with rice, salad and kimchi

I had baek ban – bulgogi beef (spicy, marinated, tender beef) with rice, salad and kimchi (spicy hot pickles) @ £11.90 (so good) while H had spicy pork bibimbab @ £9.50.

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Spicy pork bibimbab – as served


IMG_5154b_pork bibimbab_stirred
Spicy pork bibimbab – mixed


The verdict: Not a restaurant to visit if you’re short on time (allow for queuing and slow service when busy). Well worth a visit for great Korean food though – the bulgogi beef was so good it’ll be a challenge to try something different next time. But I’ll try; the people next to us were eating bbang – steamed buns filled with meat (or mixed vegetables) and our waitress also recommended yangyum chicken – Korean style fried chicken in batter with crushed peanuts. Ready to return…


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: Korean
~ Address: 36 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London
~ Postcode: WC2E 7BD
~ Nearest station: Covent Garden, Charing Cross
~ Website + menus: On the Bab website
~ Photos on flickr: On the Bab images
~ Location: On the Bab map

On The Bab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato