According to the blurb Mercato Metropolitano
is a "Community based Food retailer with an Italian soul that promotes sustainability, craftsmanship and community."
(OK there is a needless repetition of "community" there, but hey ho, I'm not that much of a pedant.) Anyway that sort of thing is right up my right on street, so I had to go.
Fortunately its location on Newington Causeway is easy to get to from my London place and even easier from where I was when I set off. Taking a break from my endeavours at the Dispensary Pub
, I nipped round the corner to Aldgate Bus Sation and hopped on the 40 bus which drops you right outside the door. Lovely. Only it didn't. As I was early to meet E for drinks and a bite to eat, I hopped off a stop early and went for a quiet pint of Harveys Mild in the Royal Oak
. And quiet it was too. Being mid afternoon I was the sole customer for most of my visit. But that was fine. It was rather restorative sitting with a pint and just reflecting on things. However man does not live by family brewers and inner contemplation alone, so after one, I bid my farewell and left.
Confirming the bus stop was indeed opposite the entrance to the rather anonymous looking building housing Mercato Metropolitano - think cross between a market and an abandoned Scottish League 2 football ground - in I went. It was impressive. I entered through a area which sold all sorts of excellent looking comestibles from all over - but mostly from all over Italy. All looked fab frankly, particularly the bread. I'll certainly be back for some of that. Leaving by a side exit into the main body of the kirk, my eye was immediately caught by brewing vessels and the home of Kraft
, making authentic German beers with proper German ownership, braumeister etc. "This should be good"
I thought. I started off with the helles, Heidi Blonde
, which was unfiltered. A bit chewy and grainy this, with a somewhat muddled flavour. Not bad, but no Weltschläge. Next up was the Edel Weiss
, which was much more on the money. It ticked all the weissbier boxes, with bubble gum, and cloves evident, though it would have been better in the traditional weissbier glass, rather than a handled pint mug. I finished off as E arrived - from a completely different direction than I expected - thus surprising me. If I'd been a sentry, my throat would have been cut. Hopfen Kiss Pale Ale
was rather a decent, just hoppy enough, bottom fermented Pale Ale. Very drinkable and probably my favourite.
E didn't fancy any of the beers at Kraft - she has a deep and well founded suspicion based on bitter experience, of opaque German beers - so we set off to explore. There really is something for everyone to eat and drink here. Plenty of craft beer choice, very decent wine and food from all over the world, sensibly not overlooking that staple of the traditional hipster/craftie - burgers. But seriously, good stuff abounded. By the time we'd wandered round it and it is a good size, the place which had been virtually empty when I arrived, was filling up with the after work crowd. We found a seat and ordered some beer. My choice, from cheery Italians (I think) was a remarkably good Das Kölsch
from Howling Hop
s. This was such a good (and rather authentic) brew that my tentative half was immediately followed by a pint, though the glassware, a non nucleated nonic, was not perhaps the best way to present such a delicate beer. E being E had a pils of some sort from an entirely different stall, which is the beauty of the setup. Again, getting into the spirit of the place, I had Vietnamese food while E hopped continents to South America. I think I had the better of that though, which is rarely the case.
This is a seriously good place to visit. We will certainly be back and I now know I must visit Howling Hops soon. That Kölsch was good.
Handily the 40 bus is outside on both sides of the road, though road works made our return to Aldgate less handy.
Only complaint is that your clothes are likely to smell of cooking after a couple of hours. There is a lot of it going on, but that's a small price to pay.