Beneath the arches of Borough Market, you’ll find Turnips: long-established and well-loved stall and wholesaler by day, and now one of the coolest new celebrations of all things plant-based you’ll find in South London by night.
The aesthetic of this open-air restaurant errs on the industrial side of chic - festoon lights with generously-sized bulbs hang overhead, while metal seating is softened with cosy fur throws. The star of the show remains the produce, which is still on display in crates dotted around the space when dining is in session, and this is reflected in both the tasting menu and small plates offering, which are designed to showcase the very best of the season.
The kitchen, headed up by Tomas Lidakevicius (previously executive chef of Jason Atherton’s City Social), turns out an array of impossibly fresh and delicate dishes that rotate with the months. During our early June visit, we managed to enjoy the last of spring’s asparagus, served atop a rich parmesan crumble, and Mara de Bois strawberries, possibly the sweetest and most flavourful we've ever had.
As you’d expect from a restaurant which celebrates vegetables with reverence, vegetarians are very well catered for - while the main line-up includes the likes of oysters and lamb, there is still a full and equally creative meat-free tasting menu that showcases the best ingredients. Think buratta served with Lincolnshire peas and Sicilian lemon, and golden ear mushrooms transformed so convincingly into something akin to pork belly our taste buds did a double take.
Service is warm and attentive without being overbearing - dishes are explained in detail, which is a lovely touch that demonstrates the pride and passion the team takes in their food, but you’re otherwise left to your own devices unless your glass is running dry. Speaking of glasses, don’t miss the equally novel cocktail menu, which takes much of the same fruit and veg that forms your meal and turns it into something really rather special. Pea negroni, anyone?