The community feel in Exmouth Market is hard to miss, something that it has always retained, even when mass regeneration began in the mid 90s. The street food vendors are familiar with each other. The market shop owners hang out in the street and you’re welcome absolutely anywhere. These are our top picks for a day out in the area…
Words: Wemmy Ogunyankin
There is not a car in sight as you walk down the pedestrianised street, exclusively reserved for wanderers just like you. It’s filled with 19th century buildings and the market is opposite London’s only Italian basilica style church, which is at least a century older than every other piece of historic architecture that inhabits this charming street, built in the 1800s. You’re listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which you swear is their best album ever, but you soon remove your headphones because Exmouth Market has a tune of its own and you can’t help but be a part of that.
The Quirky Barbers
Barber shops historically are boys’ clubs. For decades, being part of a barber shop is being part of a brotherhood, and they have had a huge surge in popularity recently with trendy establishments opening up all over the country. Barber Streisand takes a different approach by being unisex and a lot less exclusive. Visiting on a casual Wednesday, the shop is fun and welcoming. Owner Ellie Pamphilon says: ‘We do things differently and we do things our own way. A lot of barber shops offer very traditional and exclusive male grooming, all leather chesterfield sofas and fine whiskys.’
A lot of barber shops offer very traditional and exclusive male grooming, all leather chesterfield sofas and fine whiskys
Barber Streisand has broken that mould, mixing it up with a bright blue front wall and a back wall of historical photographs of Florence. They describe themselves as ‘offbeat’, a perfect word for the market itself that stands in stark contrast to the busy road behind it. The family here are completely unperturbed by the craziness of London beside them because there’s a city of its own on this street. Pamphilom says: ‘Our regulars during the week are mainly from local businesses who want to combine a quick haircut with picking up some lunch, or to get groomed before an evening out on the street.’
45 Exmouth Market EC1R 4QL; 020 7278 6524; barberstreisand.com
There are no truer artisans than that of the Botanique lifestyle and flower shop at Exmouth Market. The rustic décor in Botanique speaks of their artistic talent and graceful flair. It’s layered and complex, with a back and front room for browsing. Their stock ranges from flowers to books and skincare. Owner Alice Howard says: ‘It’s important that the shop is unique, which means being creative with the products we design and make, and also the way that we display them.’ Here you’ll find something for all ages, for those who like a good read and for those with a unique romantic gift in mind.
The Addams Family Butcher
Macellaio Butchers is the black sheep of the family, and there is no attempt to hide this. Standing outside, a carcass hung like a painting is the first thing you notice. The interior is dark and sleek, almost vampiric. In classic Italian style, there’s a band of sharply dressed men waiting to welcome and entice you in with luxurious meats and wines.
Standing outside, a carcass hung like a painting is the first thing you notice. The interior is dark and sleek, almost vampiric. In classic Italian style, there’s a band of sharply dressed men waiting to welcome and entice you in with luxurious meats and wines
The menu is an old style newspaper resting against bottles of crimson red wine. In true Exmouth Market fashion, Macellaio stands like a perfect gateway between the old and the new. This is the perfect place to come for a bottle of red and a delectable cut of meat grilled just the way you like it.
40A Exmouth Market EC1R 4QE; 020 3696 8220; macellaiorc.com
Exmouth Market leaves you spoilt for choice when it comes to food and chic offerings. The Exmouth Arms is a true gastro pub with a small menu, yet every choice seems like a good one. For £12, you can eat for the day with a gorgeous Smoked Applewood burger and fries.
Since 1997, Moro restaurant has sat comfortably in the heart of Exmouth Market, wowing locals with their Moorish delicacies. Indulge with roast tomatoes on toast with dukkah and goat’s curd for brunch, Spanish style
A fusion between Spanish and north African cuisine, dishes from the tapas menu at the infamous Moro are served in a stylish space with low lights and rustic wooden flooring. Since 1997, Moro restaurant has sat comfortably in the heart of Exmouth Market, wowing locals with their Moorish delicacies. Indulge with roast tomatoes on toast with dukkah and goat’s curd for brunch, Spanish style.
Get your Vietnamese street food fix at Bun Cha Café, where homemade pho, banh mi and traditional Asian coffee are all on offer inside a stripped back, homely setting. For those with a sweet tooth, Gail’s Artisan Bakery is the place to be, filled with cherry infused German rye, berry custard brioche, chocolate pecan brownies and a collection of lively artwork.