Hello my name is Juli and I am a foodie. I have been to London quite a few times by now but I fear that until last weekend I have been missing out on some great food options. I don’t really know why but last week was the first time ever we hit up Maltby Street Market. For sure this market is a priority on our list for our next London visit.
Tucked away in the narrow Ropewalk there is an assortment of food stalls – some permanent, some temporare – all cozily nestled into the railway arches. This is exactly what creates the massive charm of this market.
Even though the Maltby Street Market is relatively small compared to other London markets there is so much to see and explore. I have a huge soft spot for vintage, shabby randomness and this the soul of Maltby Street Market. Buntings and flags, stings of light, chairs, tables, tableware and drink glasses – everything is ill-matched yet well-paired.
You can find Maltby Street Market at Ropewalk, 41 Maltby Street, London, SE1 3PA. The easiest would be to take the tube to London Bridge and walk over in about 15 min. The market opens every Saturday from 9 am – 4 pm and every Sunday from 11 am – 4 pm.
9 am seemed the perfect time to have brunch at the market so we walked over from Whitechapel and arrived around 9.30 am. The market people were still rigging up their stalls and most of the food vendors had just started cooking. It already smelled amazing in every little corner. So we decided it was best to just grab a coffee, go on a walk and return a bit later.
The Black – Beanbag Coffee
I was very keen on trying Beanbag Coffee ever since I had read about the coffee on the internet. There are no machines, just a blend of Asian coffee beans and a few filters to brew a really strong coffee after a traditional Thai method. Gary, the owner and his brother (which we met later that week becuase yes we went back twice for the coffee) were the nicest people ever which made the whole coffee experience even better.
We both went for the black one and for both of us it was love at first sip. The coffee is really strong and rich with an almost chocolatey edge to it without being too overpowering. I was buzzing with caffein for hours. Being a heavy coffee consumer I can assure you that this doesn’t happen too often.
Bacon and Maple Syrup Waffle – Waffle on
After a walk by the river we came back to the market around 11.15 am. In my very valid opinion the best time to arrive judging from the one experience I had there. The market is still relatively empty yet all vendors were open to sell their food. Stefan and I were both starving so we settled for a quick appetizer to share.
Merely 2 minutes before I had declared that I did’t under all circumstances want to eat something sweet yet when we passed Waffle on I back-pedaled and suggested to share a waffle. They looked insanely good and the smell of the freshly baked waffles was mezmerizing. I let Stefan decide and he opted for the one with bacon and maple syrup. Brilliant choice!
Bacon Cheese Burger with Peri-Peri Sauce – African Volcano
After finishing off the waffle we were both up for a more hearty main course. We walked once again up and down the market scanning every edibles on display but to be honest there was never really a competition. We both LOVE burger and the stall of African Volcano drew us in instantly. The smell was simply amazing. There was a distinct heat in the air partly from the grill and partly from the piri-piri sauce they slather their burger patties with.
We chose a classic cheese burger with bacon and peri-piri sauce and had a nice chat with the vendors while they prepared our order. We were advised to take a few napkins with us because ‘we would need them’. Let’s say that we did. The burger tasted every bit as amazing at it looked and smelled. A flavor explosion. Yet probably not something you should have your eye on if you’re concerened about calories. Luckily non of us gives a fuck!
Visiting the African Volcano website might be a good idea if this burger speaks to you as much as it does to me. They have a few recipes on their page.
Salted Caramel Brownie and Zombie Mouse – Bad Brownie
After the burger we were both pretty full. But when we passed the Bad Brownie stall we simply couldn’t say no. I my eyes it’s a great sign when you can smell the choccolate before you can even see it. Exactly that happened at the Bad Brownie stall. Everything they had looked and sounded fantastic. They even had gluten-free alternatives. As we were stuffed from the burger and waffle we took some goodies with us for later. I still will tell you what we enjoyed from that vendor.
We settled for a (not gluten-free) Salted Caramel Brownie and a Zombie Mouse (it was close to Halloween). The mouse was made of white chocolate and was filled with a dark chocolate and raspberry ganache.
The brownie was one of these treats (and yes I deliberately use the word treat) that is that amazinly rich that you can’t eat it in one sitting all by yourself. At least I can’t. It also triggered some diabetis jokes. The brownie had a few caramel chips on top but better deserved its name due to the smooth salted caramel sauce the dark and rich brownie was filled with. It was awesome!
Unicorn Tears – Little Bird Gin
Full, happy and with a chocolatey dessert for later in our bag we sat down at Little Bird Gin to consume some much needed refreshments. Hey it was past 12 by now on the weekend and we were on holiday. Some day-drinking was due. I ordered a drink called Unicorn Tears – and yes I chose it simply for the name – and Stefan went for a Negroni variation. Both were delicious. Actually my drink was a lot less sweet than I expected. Less sweet but pretty strong.
I very much enjoyed the atmosphere there, the mismatched chairs and vases made of gin bottles. I loved especially that they served my drink in a jar. That style is exactly my thing.
We sat there, watching people passing by, had a spectator ourselves and just enjoyed the vibe of the market.
The Overall Vibe of Maltby Street Market
What can I say about Maltby Street Market I haven’t said so far?
I think I have to emphasize again how much I loved the atmosphere there. Other markets can get very packed very quickly but during the hours we were there it was still not empty yet not as packed as other markets. You know, the one that makes you claustrophobic!
Maltby Street Market often gets compared to Borough Market in terms of quality and variety of food. I can very much attest to that myself. The food is outstanding and even though it is small I could eat there for days without getting bored.
The vendors were all really nice and up for a little chat while they were preparing the food and drinks. And I enjoyed the overall friendly and a bit more personal side of how they do their business compared to vendors at other markets that are generally more packed with people.
I am a horrible traveler. I usually do all the touristy things yet hate the other tourists. What I like best actually was that the market really seems to be one that is frequented by the locals. Of course there were other tourists but definitely not the crowds you find at other markets at that day and time. That made the whole market experience even more relaxed and chilled.
After a few hours we left a little buzzed and still stuffed to the brim. That was pretty much the moment that I remembered we had booked an Indian food tour that was due to start in less than 4 hours. We then decided that this market visit would count as a warm up for the tour. Hey warming up decently is a necessity.