With a bar, deli, coffee shop, liquor store and open kitchen all under one roof, Mare Street Market certainly isn’t short on food and drink. And with the Dining Room now open too, there’s another option to add to that already comprehensive list.
The Dining Room is separated from the main space and filled (surfaces and ceilings) with antiques from local shop Pure White Lines, all of which are available to buy if you happen to have a couple of grand spare to drop on a chandelier. The menu is a step up from that from the open kitchen – it’s more restaurant-y but still accessible, especially price-wise. And whereas you can find Asian and Middle Eastern influences there, the Dining Room leans more towards modern British.
It’s a pretty concise menu (with separate veggie and vegan ones available) and no sharing plates (shock horror) so happily you won’t spend ages agonising over what to have and how many things to order. We kicked off with thick slabs of sourdough and wild garlic butter and a bowl of jerusalem artichoke salt & vinegar crisps, which come with a pile of grated cheddar on top. Turns out cheese on crisps is pretty great.
From the starters we went for the grilled hispi cabbage, which comes slathered in kimchi yoghurt and topped with pork belly crunch – like giant bacon bits you’d get at a salad buffet – and the BBQ short rib with hash brown and fried duck egg. This definitely feels like more of a brunch dish but the beef was tender and came with a prune and date brown sauce that was good enough to make us rethink our aversion to HP sauce.
The grilled beef sirloin with roast shallots, truffled potato foam and a rich bone marrow sauce felt very indulgent and was our fave of the two mains. The other, duck breast with parmesan polenta and meaty wild mushroom ragu, though tasty felt out of whack in terms of ratio – too little duck and too many veg garnishes for us. There are a handful of sides on offer but the portions are substantial enough that you don’t really need any additions. Yes we’re actually saying you don’t need to order extra potatoes. After all of that we could only manage to split a treacle tart, which had a great pastry base and a sweet but not sickly filling.
The Dining Room offers something slightly more private (as in you get your own table) than the rest of Mare Street Market, without losing the relaxed atmosphere that’s made the place as a whole so popular.
117 Mare St, London E8 4RU
Photo credit: Issy Crocker