When it comes to cuisine, the West End is generally known for its chain joints, silver service dining and… well… very little in between. Andrea Rasca is looking to create a middle ground by opening Mercato Mayfair, bringing the buzz of his first foodie outpost – Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant & Castle – to London’s hotelville. Located just off Oxford Street in a grade II-listed former church, this new destination encompasses 16,000 square feet of retail, dining and community space, dedicated to all who pray at the altar of exceptional food. Here’s what to expect on every floor.
THE TOP FLOOR
If you weren’t sold on the jaw-dropping selection of food and drink on offer, then this should do it – a rare elevated open space in central London. Packed with plants, the outdoor terrace allows 60 people some sun exposure while enjoying libations from the non-alcoholic bar, all in the shadow of the church’s original clock tower (which will chime for last orders if you lose track of time).
If last year’s Prosecco shortage proved anything, it was that people no longer see champagne as the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to fizz. For the alcoholically adventurous, Mercato Mayfair’s bubble bar will serve a wide variety of tongue-tingling beverages from around the globe, such as English sparkling wines and Italian Lambrusco.
On the gallery overlooking the central vaulted space, specially designed food counters will showcase offerings of international food from chefs renowned for those particular cuisines – Japanese, Middle Eastern, French, Italian, vegan and more. If you work in the West End, this will be a go-to for anyone who wants to shake up their lunchtime salad routine.
THE GROUND FLOOR
Blooms and bread
Head through the grand portico entrance and the first thing you’ll find is a florists stocked with fresh stocks. Beyond this, in the main hall, you’ll be able to shop for all your weekly necessities at a grocery store filled with interesting items from around the world as well as locally sourced produce, and a bookshop packed with the best in new foodie literature.
The vaulted central space is designed for kicking back with friends, so, naturally, a coffee bar sits pride of place. There’s also an in-house patisserie and, perhaps more importantly for the baking-hot summer months, a gelateria. Around this, pop-up food islands will showcase an ever-changing selection of world cuisines and interesting new products for you to sample.
Raised up on the platform where the altar formerly stood, the bar at the rear of the ground floor is now for those who worship the humble hop. This bar will showcase a selection of craft beers, including the one brewed in-house downstairs, as well as the ones brewed at Mercato in Elephant & Castle. There will also be a more formal, sit-down restaurant back here, too.
Andrea Rasca founded Mercato Metropolitano because he believed in the right to great food for all, so it’s no surprise that he wants to pass this passion on. A demonstration kitchen will allow adults and children to get hands on with fresh ingredients and learn what goes into a truly great meal.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the upper floors, dedicated spaces will be set aside in the basement for community use. This can be booked by local groups, but will also be used for free classical and jazz classes for children who live and study nearby, tapping into the area’s long history with music.
Wine and more
Downstairs is split into separate vaults for wine, cheese and cured ham. There is also a bread and pasta lab where customers can watch staff as they experiment with new techniques before the items make their way upstairs, and a brewery making beer for the bar
on the ground floor.
Opening in August at 13a North Audley St, W1K 6ZA, mercatometropolitano.com