Mercato Metropolitano, Elephant and Castle
Amongst the bustle of London Bridge and the cultural hub of South Bank, you will find Elephant and Castle. Simply known as "Elephant" to the locals, it hangs in the shadows of its modern day neighbours with its post-war jumble of tower blocks and gloomy pedestrian subways. Despite its shabby appearance, Elephant and Castle is firmly "on the up" with a £3 billion regeneration plan underway so it's no wonder that businesses and home-owners are quickly snapping up local residency.
Before I headed off to a work meeting at Ministry of Sound, we had a few hours to spare and discovered an Italian food market thanks to the wonders of Google.
Let me proudly introduce you to every foodie's dream, Mercato Metropolitano.
Spread across a disused paper factory, the "urban farmer's food market of Italy" has an impressive collection of well-loved Italian food stalls including "the best pizza maker" from Naples, all enticing you with their appetising aromas from the various regions of their beloved country.
If that's not enough, amongst its gritty surroundings there are regular cooking demos, talks and workshops all year round combined with ample indoor/outdoor spaces to keep you comfortable - great for people watching, too!
This place champions small producers and independent farmers who all share a passion for quality, authentic food.
Let's get our priorities right here! First up, a chilled beverage (apologies, I can't for the life of me remember what it was!) It seemed to put a smile on my face, regardless.
Inside Mercato Metropolitano, there are several stands serving craft beers, prosecco and soft drinks.
The food stalls are endless. You have fishmongers, butchers, specialist charcuterie, pizza chefs, artisan beer makers, fruit and vegetable growers, pasta makers... you name it, it's here.
Slightly off the main hall, we found a cosy wine bar called Bottles and Battles decorated with crates of vintage wine and sheepskin rugs to keep you snug.
We ordered a selection of cheese and cold cut meats which amplified the taste of a lovely Pinot Noir selected from their menu.
There's also a lovely shop at Mercato Metropolitano filled with Italian-inspired treats which makes you feel like you're perusing a backstreet store in Naples (despite the chillier climate outdoors!)
Armed with plenty of goods to stock our kitchen at home, we left vowing to return again soon with friends.
If you're looking for something different to do on a weekend, get yourself down to Mercato Metropolitano. Great for dates, work trips and there's plenty of space for push buggies and wheelchairs. Find them here.
Nearest station is Elephant & Castle (obvs) but we walked down from Waterloo.