by Sam Murray
2010 was a special year.
It was the year that Downton Abbey first hit our screens. The iPad came out. Lady Gaga wore her meat dress. And everyone totally understood the ending of Lost…
Better than all that, however – the beautiful feather in 2010’s cap – was the launch of Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey. And unlike Lady Gaga’s dress – which we can only assume hasn’t aged nearly so well – this culinary hotspot is flourishing. So if you’ve had your fill of the increasingly tourist-heavy (though still lovely) Borough Market – which is less than 10 minutes’ walk away – this is a very worthy alternative.
It centres on the Ropewalk, a narrow thoroughfare with 19th-century railway arches on one side, brick buildings on the other, and a collection of world flags blowing in the wind above a charming combination of gazebo-covered food vendors and foodie outlets within the arches.
The Ropewalk itself is named after a nearby ropewalk – alleys down which ropemakers would twist material into… something that escapes us just now – founded by Robert Rich. That’s the 18th-century Bermondsey eccentric Robert Rich, not the inventor of non-dairy whipped topping. But you already knew that.
Bon Vino Enoteca
The market’s a gastronomic extravaganza, particularly at the weekend when street-food vendors ply a roaring trade in global cuisines. From Britain you’ll find packed sausage sarnies from Bangers and homegrown, grass-fed, dry-aged beef from The Beefsteaks. The Gyoza Guys peddle delicious dumplings, Duck Frites a quacking combination of raclette cheese and confit duck, and Amen a praise-worthy selection of Ethiopian dishes.
There’s an honourable liquor scene here too. Malt cranks out craft beer with live music on Thursdays, Bon Vino Enoteca pours sustainable Italian wines, and Bar Tozino (London’s only jamón bodega) serves Spanish tipples best enjoyed with their cured ham cut from the bone.
All filled up? Stop by Jemima in the Woods for a botanical wellbeing workshop, or Castro’s Barbershop for a trim from master barber Leo Castro…
Make no mistake, Maltby Street Market’s a cut above the rest.
NOTE: Maltby Street Market runs on weekends, but the railway arch traders are open Wed-Sun. You can find out more right HERE.
Maltby Street Market | Arch 46, Ropewalk, Maltby St, London SE1 3PA
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