Borough market on a Saturday has gone from being a Londoner’s haunt to a tourist destination in its own right, up there with the London Dungeon and HMS Belfast. As good as it is, its popularity means the market can be overwhelmingly full come lunchtime. Luckily, for those craving the ethos and artisan quality of Borough without the scale and the crowds, there is a nearby alternative: Maltby Street market.
A 10 minutes stroll away in Bermondsey, set against the background rumble of passing overhead trains lies Maltby St, where a small cabal of stallholders and producers sell their wares from under the railway arches and various stalls. Consisting of no more than 25 producers, it’s a sort of foodie parade rather than outright market, starting with coffee enthusiasts’ favourite Monmouth Coffee selling their wares and ending with patisserie Comptoir Gourmand where, amongst other treats you’ll find pink raspberry meringues and giant chocolate cookies.
In between lies a range of stalls – and fish-lovers should try the smoked salmon from Norwegian producers Hansen and Lydersen, or alternatively, there’s barbecued mackerel baps marinated in Moroccan chermoulla from nearby Christchurch Fish. If meat’s more your thing, on offer are pastrami sandwiches from Monty’s Deli, and if you’re ever in need of wild boar salami, Maltby Street is the place.
It’s not all about the food though – LASSCO, the architectural salvage company, have their warehouse based here, the grittier counterpart to their Brunswick House outpost in Vauxhall. It’s well worth a detour to see all manner of rescued treasures, from large enamel sinks once owned by school art departments, to industrial light fittings; there’s even wooden planks from the Natural History Museum.
So next time a sunny Saturday rolls around and you want to get your foodie and furniture fix in one go, head over to the arches of Maltby, and stall-hop to your hearts content. Just don’t tell the tourists. (Words: Jane Duru, Pic: Marina Vidor)