If I lived anywhere near Bermondsey, I’d be a regular at this tiny street market that’s nestled in amongst the railway arches and a large council estate.
I knew before I even walked into the market that I would love it because it has that quirk appeal from the very beginning with the pile of rope wrapped around the archway that says “Ropewalk” and a stack of battered old suitcases on a green cart. It has character. And Union Jack bunting.
The vendors sell quality artisan products. They’re passionate about what they do and definitely willing to stop and talk to you about what they’re selling, how it’s made and what’s special about it.
Bad Brownie was there with their incredible selection of gourmet brownies including these salted caramel ones that were voted the “best brownie in London” at the 2014 Chocolate Festival. I somehow found the willpower to resist walking off with a whole tray after passing by them three times.
I noticed quite a lot of locally-produced food and drinks, like the beautifully-labelled Godnells mead made from honey in one of the city’s microbreweries.
One of my favourites was The Gay Farmer, a friendly guy who started harvesting olives from his mother’s trees in Spain and started this business idea back in 2008. He now sells organic extra virgin olive oil in sleek black bottles and has jars of fresh basil pesto as well. Yum!
I saw a lot of chalkboard signs with the words “fresh”, “organic” and “London”. Origin and quality are important here. Presentation too.
There was some delicious-looking salmon being sliced up and turned into snack-sized nibbles by the guys at the stall for Hansen & Lydersen, a Norwegian smokehouse based in London. Their salmon is hung traditionally and then cold-smoked slowly in Stoke Newington in their brick kiln with a mixture of juniper and beech wood that I imagine give it a wonderful flavour.
Though it’s a small space, there was something to cater to all tastebuds.
There were neat arrangements of colourful veggies on display too.
Those with a sweet tooth definitely wouldn’t leave unsatisfied.
While the selection and wow factor can’t compare to the massive, sprawling, historical Borough Market a 15 minute walk down the road, Maltby Street Market has a real welcoming community feel. It’s a local foodie haunt with tiny or no queues rather than packed to the brim with tourists.
It seems more personable, a more immersive experience where you learn a bit about the people behind the food instead of rushing from stall to stall. There’s a temptation to linger and sit back and enjoy it becuase it’s not so claustrophobic and there are plenty of places to grab a seat.
Don’t get me wrong; I adore Borough Market (and of course I went there as well while I was in this area so more on that later), but this little discovery is definitely a gem.
It’s not such a hidden one anymore. I guess it took me a few years to finally make a point of going, but I’m so glad I did. Rumour has it that the custard donuts from nearby St. John’s Bakery alone – which I (apparently mistakenly) didn’t visit this time – make it worth another visit. And, there are plenty more oddities to explore in the local area!