Where to eat at Borough Market: Portena Empanadas

Food can be so evocative, especially when connected to travel. I haven’t eaten an Empanada since leaving Argentina in 2009, and when I bit into one from Portena whilst sitting by Southwark cathedral I was taken back to the sun. Portena in Borough Market offer fresh, delightful little Empanadas for a slightly steep £2 each. They are baked on site, then transferred to their hot plate where they are sold within minutes. Constantly baking, constantly fresh.

Empanadas are eaten in South America for breakfast, lunch or dinner, a quick snack to keep you going or a bag-full to keep you locked up until the next meal. I must have eaten hundreds on my travels, all different on the inside but presented in the same format, pockets of flaky pastry stuffed full of juicy flavourful meat or veg mixes. The meat ones were always the best as long as you were prepared for juices to spill down your arm on the first bite.

Portenas ‘Traditional Beef’ empanada didn’t have that same moisture, but was packed full of succulent mince gently flavoured with onions and olives. It was tasty, fresh and heavy on the salt, but the pastry could have been a bit more caramelised. The ‘Spinach & Ricotta’ was stuffed full and the combination of flavours worked well, with a lovely kick of nutmeg to lift the oozy mozzarella. Get yourself down there on a Friday or Saturday for that brief sunny kick.

You can find the stall on the map below.


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