The area immediately surrounding Victoria station has been encased in a cocoon of a scaffolding for what feels like decades, but the first fruits of these seemingly endless labours are finally beginning to appear. The Market Hall Victoria occupies the real estate that used to make up the late and unlamented Pasha
nightclub, but that infamously sticky floored venue has transformed into an airy bazaar, corseted in steel and brick.
The renovations have revealed long hidden Victorian era cornices and lit the whole thing with vaunting skylights with the occasional flare of stained glass to draw the eye. The industrial chic aesthetic chimes just enough with the station’s history to help the setting feel evocative and genuine, but without making you feel like you’re eating in a railway siding. On the subject of food, there are over 11 restaurants laid out over two floors, with a roof terrace set to open next year. As things stand there’s plenty of room for the eager masses, with enough clutches of open plan tables to prevent any awkward hovering.
As in its sister establishment Market Hall Fulham, you place your order at your stall of choice who then hand you a black plastic disk that vibrates angrily when it’s time to come and collect your food, saving long minutes wasted in interminable lines. As a result the atmosphere in Market Hall Victoria is far less highly strung than the station it orbits, though there are displays of train times positioned discreetly
through the Hall, to prevent the hungry traveller from getting too carried away and missing their connection. For people who are seriously working to a timescale there is also an app currently in the
works that will let travellers pre-order their food before they even arrive at the Market Hall.
Of course all of this would be for nothing if the food doesn’t measure up, so it was with a feeling of intrepidness that we set out to sample as much of the gastronomy on offer as we could. There’s a broad selection on offer from tacos to fish and chips freshly made pasta, dim sum, roti and curry, salads and soups and succulent burgers, so most tastes should be able to find something to appeal. Drawn by
the irresistible allure of meat we found ourselves starting off at Fanny’s Kebabs where I tucked into the so called ‘Lazy Lamb’ slow-marinated chunks of meat, chargrilled over open flames and served with fresh yoghurt with a fervour that definitely belied it’s name.
Meanwhile my compatriot hoovered up a seemingly endless series of udon noodles from Koya Ko with an expression that bordered on rapturous. Food of course is only as good as the beverage accompanying it, so it’s good that there are two bars to be found dotted around the premises, with a third lying in wait on the as yet unopened roof terrace. As this is 2019, there are not one but six different craft beers available
on draft, including a home brewed Market Helles lager. For those thirsty for some more sophistication there’s a fairly intimidatingly stacked wine list and for the truly devil-may-care traveller; a skull popping array of cocktails, many of which are rustled up from cordials blended on site.
Whilst Victoria has often been nothing more than part of a journey, the quality of food and atmosphere of
the Market Hall Victoria is more than enough to make it a genuine destination.
Market Hall Victoria 191 Victoria Street, Victoria London, SW1E 5NE