London has gone food market crazy as a new branch of Mercato Metropolitano has opened in a Grade I-listed church just a few minutes’ walk south of Europe’s busiest shopping street. 

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The impressive exterior of London's newest market © Mercato Metropolitano

This new food hall, dubbed Mercato Mayfair, is housed in the recently restored St Mark’s Church that recently emerged from a years-long £5 million renovation that has opened it to the public for the first time in decades. St Mark’s was built in 1828 in Greek Revival style, with soaring columns that hold an edged portico aloft, and the market space covers nearly 1500 square-metres over four floors. During World War II, St Mark’s became known as the ‘American church’ because of its proximity to the former US embassy, and it was visited by US president Dwight D Eisenhower and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

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Wine bottles line the entrance while the market-place is inside the church © Mercato Metropolitano

Many historic features of the building remain in situ, including the chancel altar, the crypt, the stained-glass windows, the font and a number of paintings and panels. The bell tower has also been repaired, and it can now be sounded for the first time in 40 years. Through the grand entrance are florists with colourful bouquets leading into a sustainable supermarket locally-sourced items, plus treats from around the world.

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Charcuterie is available in the crypt © Mercato Metropolitano

Further inside, the vaulted nave has a coffee shop and bakery for catching up with friends. Around the former altar is a craft beer bar that pours pints of the stuff brewed in the church’s basement. Also in the basement are a demonstration kitchen and cookery school, a community space for local organisations, plus vaults for a wine bar that serves mostly Italian vino alongside cheese and cured meats.

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Gelato is one of the many treats on offer © Mercato Metropolitano

On both the ground floor and overlooking the central nave is a gallery of food stalls, where you can find Italian delights such as pizza, pasta and gelato that you’d expect from Mercato’s name, but the culinary view stretches across the world with everything from Taiwanese bao buns to Turkish pide. There’s communal seating in the side chapels and even a roof terrace.

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Cha Cha Mayfair serves cocktails and seafood in the gallery © Mercato Metropolitano

Mercato Mayfair is open now, and if you’re somehow still hungry, you can visit the original Mercato Metropolitano south of the river in Elephant and Castle.

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