I had been stalking Elliot’s Cafe for a while before it opened. Walking past in the mornings on my way to work I saw the builders working away on the site right next to the hallowed turf of Monmouth and Konditor and Cook at Borough Markets. I talked to the builders about what was coming, a cafe they said. I waited, and watched, and finally the shutters were opened (despite a few unfinished elements) and Elliot’s was open for business.
|Squid with alioli and dukkah|
I went for lunch there with fellow Elliot’s stalker Tori, making a mental note to stop meeting lovely people right when I am about to leave the country. All that work by the builders has resulted in a clever design which looks like it has been part of Borough for years. It is all rather simple and pared back with exposed brick walls, large windows looking onto the market and basic wooden bistro tables and chairs.
|The front of the cafe|
The lunch menu is made up of small plates and changes regularly. Glasses of tap water and decent bread and butter were brought automatically as soon as we sat down. This pleased me. I was also impressed by the emphasis throughout the menu on the produce on sale at the market. It’s the small things. Our waitress chatted away knowledgeably about the origins of the Buffalo mozzarella on offer in one of the salads. The mozzarella (£7) was teamed with mashed courgettes and mint on a thick hunk of bread. The cheese itself was everything you could wish for in a mozzarella but the dish could probably have done with some spices or something extra to enliven it.
|The buffalo mozzarella with courgettes and mint|
There were no such issues with the fat grilled mackerel (£13.50) which came with a jumble of sweet tasting heritage tomatoes slathered in olive oil. Each mouthful was a riot. I could not get enough of the tender, bouncy squid (£7.50) which was teamed with a rich aioli and topped with a sprinkling of dukkah to add texture and crunch. Dessert was limited to ices so instead we opted for a cheeky glass of rosé each, a Granache Luberon from France (£4.50) which was very sweet and very pink.
|Mackerel with heritage tomato salad|
Elliot’s is the sort of place you would be happy eating at for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s all day, no bookings, casual dining that will fit right in at Borough Market. The stalking is officially over.
Details: Elliots, 12 Stoney St, Borough Markets SE1 9AD (Ph 020 8980 0030). Tube: London Bridge.
Damage: Reasonable. Our bill for two came to £40.
Category: Restaurants - Cafe, SE1