It doesn't happen very often that you find something amazing right on your doorstep. Usually it's all about some interesting restaurant in Notting Hill or cosy pub in NW19, but not this time. Today we joined the smug crowd wandering around Maltby Street Market and just revelled in it's sheer nearness to our front door - about 3 minutes walk to be exact.
I used to get told off by friends for not visiting Borough Market more often, seeing as it's pretty much just down the road, but soon they too realised that over the years it's become over-priced, over-crowded and mainly full of tourists. This viewpoint is also shared by the sellers, who after too many run-ins with the management, decided to up sticks and start their own market thank you very much. There's a great article about the 'Bermondsey Seven' here, along with a bit more background info.
In any case, we met S just outside St John's arch on Druid Street to pick up some crusty bread and obligatory custard-filled doughnuts. Already at 10am there was a sizeable crowd forming.
Proceeding around the corner, we hit Maltby Street proper:
Next stop Monmouth Coffee:
Coffee was sipped and custard doughnuts consumed with gusto while sitting in the sunshine and watching the Bermondsey hipsters go by with their dogs and toddlers. Is this where the old Shoreditch crew go when they grown up?
Continuing down Maltby Street it's clear to see that it's certainly a bit more gritty than Borough, but personally I rather like that! Maltby feels a bit like Borough's younger, hipper and slightly more edgy younger sibling.
There were also salvage shops, reclaimed flooring experts and antique sellers all crammed into their own little cubby-holes, waiting for you to walk by and peer inside.
I already knew that I wouldn't be leaving the market without some cheese. The only question was which sort.. Following a couple of tastings at Mons, we settled on a Epoisse-like variety.
S found some gorgeous-smelling sweet-peas further down Maltby Street at a very pretty veg store.
The attention to detail when it came to laying out the produce was impressive, and of course that lovely smell of fresh vegetables was everywhere.
Just next door was Kernel, offering super-local beer brewed right there in the arch! We didn't indulge this time, but I'm sure there will be more opportunities.
Around the corner and back on Druid Street, we picked up a morsel of Cumin Gouda and some lovely fresh duck eggs.
Apparently they are great for baking.
More fruit and veg, this time at slightly more reasonable prices.
After poking around in various antique dens, we happened upon a sign enticing us to visit The London Honey Company which harvests it's produce from local hives including Wapping and Harrow. Stumbling up the steps into a nearby warehouse, the sweet aroma of wax and honey hit us almost immediately. Inside the workshop-cum-shop, we found slabs of honey-comb and bees wax laid out alongside jars of honey and honey-comb portions from various locations.
The large kitchen area jostled with various (I assume) honey refining paraphernalia, including interesting conical flasks and huge pans hanging from the ceiling.
Ah, and then it was homewards to reap the rewards of our urban foraging. By this time, things were getting even more crowded, so the 10am start was just right.
This is one market I would certainly get out of bed for every Saturday. There are always afternoon naps after all :)