I really like Seven Dials Market, and not just cos its a stone’s throw away from my work. It’s actually an ex-banana warehouse, but instead of this just being a footnote in history, the market actually celebrates these beginnings by plastering a banana motif over just about everything. I love it 🍌🍌🍌🍌
I think the best thing about food markets is that you can go with as many people as you want and everyone will generally find something that they want to eat, due to the diversity of the food vendors. And Seven Dials Market is no different – although its relatively small, it has a good range of food genres, a couple bars, and hey, it even has a bookshop and a florist!
I went with a friend of mine after work, and we spent a bunch of time assessing our options for food. When you walk in, you’ll see a central seating area that is bounded by what will initially feel like an overwhelming amount of options.
We just went around systematically and checked out the menus of each place. There were a lot of options that looked delicious, but the one that we both wanted to try was called El Pollote, a latin-inspired fried chicken place!
Don’t be put off by the emptiness, we went early 🤣. The menu, like everywhere in the market, focuses on a few key dishes that they do really well.
We tried a couple different things: the fried chicken burger with avo-drizzled yuca fries, and the buffanero fried chicken.
I found the fried chicken burger to be delicious, crispy and tender in all the right ways. The yuca fries were chunky, which is luckily how I like my chips and came with this avocado drizzle that paired really well with them.
My friend didn’t love the buffalo and habanero sauce on her wings, and I think if I would eat there again, I would probably pick the guava glaze, which sounds delicious. Cabana offer a similar guava glaze on their chicken which I’m obsessed with, so this seems like a safer bet for next time.
Aside from the food, the service was speedy (although we were there a little early). You can get free tap water at the bar, but we ordered a couple of cocktails too.
Scores on the doors
Food: 6/10 – I enjoyed my burger and chips but they weren’t that different from stuff I’d eaten before. My friend wasn’t too impressed with hers 😢
Service: 7/10 – Its a food hall, so theres not much in the way of service. But the server at the counter was friendly, quick and saw him putting a lot of care and attention into how our dishes were presented.
Ambience: 5/10 – It can get pretty noisy in there, exacerbated by the fact that you’re all hemmed into the central communal seating (which is a little uncomfy). But it does feel buzzy.
Would I recommend? Overall, I’d say El Pollote serves up perfectly serviceable fried chicken with a little latina twist. I wouldn’t rush back but thats not to say I wouldn’t recommend it. However, I am looking forward to getting back to Seven Dials Market to try out some of their other options as well!