I love a good food market. When I first moved to London 18 years ago (gulp!) the place to go was Borough Market but over the years it has become more and more popular and therefore busier and busier. If you go any later than 11am, you will spend the entire time having your ankles rammed into by buggies, or having your eye taken out by a huge camera lens belonging to an over-eager tourist with a food blog. (yes, that’s me when I’m on holiday but its mighty annoying when its on your own home turf). Its just a bit stressful.
Saying that, I still love Borough Market. And if you haven’t been before, shame on you! If you’re visiting London, it should be one of the first places you go. It really is wonderful. Just get there early!
If I can’t get to Borough Market early, I don’t worry too much as there are a myriad of other fantastic food markets in London. My favourites include Broadway Market in Hackney, Brixton Market and Queen’s Park farmers market, plus I love the stalls on Northcote Road in Clapham on a Saturday. You can find a run down of the best farmers markets in London here and Time Out’s guide here.
However, I have recently discovered Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey, SE London. Maltby Street hosts a fabulous food market every Saturday and Sunday out of the railway arches near Tower Bridge, bringing together artisan food and drink producers selling top quality produce. Its just a a 15/20 minute walk from Borough Market but its a different world. It’s a lot smaller and more laid-back and as a result, a lot more personable, with the stall holders more than happy to stop and talk about their produce.
Nigel Slater described it perfectly in the Observer…I have often dreamed of finding a perfect place to do my food shopping. A place far from the strip-light nightmare of the supermarket; somewhere that offers the best of a farmers’ market with a taste of something from further afield. A slightly secret and hidden place, where supply goes with the ebb and flow of the seasons, where there is a constantly evolving group of traders bringing things to tempt and delight.
My friend Cassie and I decided to check out Maltby Street for the first time just a couple of months ago. First thing we did was head for Monmouth Coffee to get a cracking good start to our day with an excellent cup of coffee.
Their pastries and tarts looked absolutely incredible…
We then wondered down Ropewalk, through the stalls selling fabulous salami and cheese…
Then we noticed Tozino, with its serrano hams hanging from the ceiling…
They serve a selection of serrano hams…Jamon de Teruel from Aragon and delicious acorn fed Jamon Iberico from Los Pedroches in Cordoba, available freshly carved and whole on the bone.
Cassie and I were offered a taster of three different hams. Once we decided on our favourite, we ordered a plate, topped with tomato on toast…fantastic. The ham was so soft and sweet. We could easily have ordered another plate but we didn’t want to fill up at our first stop.
We carried on walking and noticed that there was a Texas Chilli Cook Off in progress.
Cassie signed up for it since she loves chilli and we got chatting to the three finalists, two of whom were actually from Texas. But the one chilli we both loved best was made by Will Yates from Billy Franks Jerky…
Now I am not a lover of anything spicy so I don’t eat chilli. However, Cassie told me I had to try this. I’m so glad I did, it was incredible. It had such depth of flavour, we asked how it was made. Turned out Will had been working on it since Wednesday, and it included….wait for it….pork belly, beef brisket, venison, duck, partridge, chorizo and bacon! Phew!
I have never tasted anything like it. It was served with toasted tortilla, a limed soured cream and chipotle cheese sauce and topped with cider fried slices of jalapeño and nduja. Unbelievable. It was simply amazing. I haven’t been able to stop talking about it since. If all chillis tasted like his, I’d be eating chilli every day. Unfortunately, I don’t think they do. The other two chillis that were on the menu that day were nice, just not spectacular. We did of course vote for Will’s chilli to win and luckily, everyone else at Maltby Street that day agreed with us and he won. Incidentally, last weekend, he came second in the Chilli Stand Off in Hackney last weekend with the same chilli. SOMEONE GIVE THIS GUY A REGULAR CHILLI STAND!
High on chilli, we continued ambling along, taking in all the foodie delights.
We decided to stop for something to drink. We loved the look of Little Bird which serves its very own London gin…
Then we noticed Life’s A Bottle…
And stopped off for a glass of red and prosecco…
As we delved further in, we realised it is set inside the wonderful Lassco, an antique store selling all sorts of wonderful things…
Then when we got a bit peckish we decided to get something from Market Gourmet.
We opted for their 72 hour ‘sous vide’ beef brisket with Welsh rarebit on brioche. Wow! Absolutely wonderful. Keith Bagley, who set up Market Gourmet, even gave Cassie and I a loaf of his homemade brioche to take home with us. What a lovely man.
At the top of Ropewalk is the wonderful 40 Maltby Street which I have written about here and here.
I know I’m always saying, “If you’re in London, you must go here” but I really do mean it. Maltby Street Market is a wonderful place to hang out on a Saturday. Fab atmosphere, excellent food and drink and lots of truly lovely people who love what they do.
Maltby Street, Bermondsey, London, SE1 3PA
Nearest tube: London Bridge or Bermondsey
Open Saturday – 9am until the gin runs out (about 4pm)
Bar Tozino is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Thank you! 🙂
I went on Saturday for the first time and was looking for some pictures to show people how good it was – this post shows it perfectly. Thank you 🙂
I’ve known about Maltby St for such a long time (being a local to Borough Market who tends to avoid it). I haven’t been though. Keep meaning to. Is it somewhere you can actually do shopping or is it more hot coffees and brownies for 20-somethings who like to be retro?
Hmmmm…a bit more of the latter to be honest, but you can still buy food too. There are cheese and salami stalls, you can buy breads, vegetables and pastries. You can’t do a weekly shop there but to be honest, I wouldn’t do a weekly shop at any market. Its just a nice place to hang out.
We (KäseSwiss) are around the corner on Druid Street (No. 104) – selling traditional farmhouse cheese from Switzerland out of our railway arch. In our arch is also an organic butcher, produce from Spain, and Dutch farmhouse cheese. On Druid Street, and within ‘Spa Terminus’ (about 5 minutes walk away), are plenty of places to do your weekly shop. There is St John Bakery, Tayshaw Fruit and Veg, another butcher, a beautiful tea shop, beer, Coffee, another bakery, an ice cream maker, Italian ham, organic fruit and veg, – etc. The list goes on ! Mostly we are business that have been using these railway arches for food production and wholesaling, and we have been opening our doors to the public on Saturdays 9-2. Come and see us.
Wow! This is so cool. I’m all the way across the pond in the United States, in the South….the state of Georgia. I feel like I have an inside scoop on London. I’ve always wanted to travel there and the places you highlighted are right up my alley! Thank you for sharing. Awesome blog.
Ah thank you, that’s very sweet of you. I’m glad you like it. You really should try and visit London. Its an incredible city with so many hidden gems. Just stay away from the tourist hot-spots and find the real London.
I travel over from the States every couple of years and always do Borough Market. The last couple of times I have found it too crowded to move. Is Maltby like that? Have I missed the boat on there being room to enjoy the market?
It does get busy but its nothing like as crammed as Borough. But then, its a different type of market to Borough. Borough is full of stalls selling food whereas Maltby, although there are some stalls, is more of a place to go and hang out for an afternoon, drinking and eating. If you want to buy food then Borough is more the place for you. But you should have a look at Maltby next time you’re over anyway.
Reblogged this on Sicilian Donkey and commented:
Lovely piece from A Spoonful of Sugar on Maltby Street Market. Maybe we can sell our arancini there!
[…] bubble under the railway arches of Bermondsey, this area has now evolved with a lane full of wonderful food and drink stalls. There is a great review of Maltby Street by A Spoonful of Sugar blog here. Smaller, quieter […]
Great Post. Maltby sure was a great market to hang out in. It’s the prefect place to spend a Saturday morning. I wish there was a little more Maltby Market vibe at Borough and a little more selection at Maltby.
Hi, I’m so happy I chanced upon your blog! I’m going to London the first time and this looks like the kind of place I would love to relax in. I read somewhere it’s open on Saturday, no mention of Sunday… is it definitely open on a Sunday? That’s the only weekend I can make it. Also can I just check with you if Wednesday is a good day to visit Borough Market? Again, that’s the only day I can make it 🙁 Hope you can advise. Thank you.
I’m so glad you like it! Maltby Street is open Saturdays and Sundays only occasionally. I think generally it’s only open on Saturdays. As for Borough Market, it’s open Friday and Saturdays. Sorry if you’re not able to go on those days. 🙁
That is a great Blog-just the sort of “real” informative writing I want to read. Saw Tom Kerridge (Hand & Flowers, Marlow) on tele last night at this market, and can’t wait to go.
What a wonderful blog I am drooling.I saw the Tom Kerridge programme too last night.Do you think this could create a Delia effect and Maltby Street will now be teeming on Saturdays.I for one cant wait to get there
Your blog is spot on! You give a real sense of the Market with your pictures and commentary. I’m also a market lover and recently spotted Maltby Street and totally love the vibe and its quaintness! Extremely busy on a Saturday but the Sunday is also picking up and so much easier to walk through and admire the stalls and chat to the vendors. A great little gem of a market.
Thank you! I’m really glad you like it. And yes, I’m the same…I love its vibe and quaintness too. Its such a lovely place to hang out. In fact I may pop along again this weekend.
Delicious and dangerous gin cocktails on Saturday morning at Little Bird….! And now I understand why I can never find anything at car boot sales any more – Maltby Street has snaffled it all, even the (seemingly obligatory nowadays) quaint jam jars and medicine bottles to serve your drinks in. Very clever concept by someone, wish I’d thought of designing a themed street of gluttony!
[…] great write up on MALTBY STREET MARKET, LONDON (including this chilli comp) and big thanks for some pictures of the day goes to @spoonfulofsugr. […]