Restaurant Friday: "I can't decide what to eat…" at Maltby Street Market, London

by - Thursday, May 01, 2014

I have been writing about quite a number of restaurants here in London already and there are a lot to follow, but today I am giving you a break from that and showing you (in case you don’t know it already), a very nice market, hidden next to a railway bridge with loads of delicious food stands and other things to offer. 

I am talking about 'MaltbyStreet Market', a small/mid-size market with food stands, restaurants and bars. As I told you here I am a huge fan of markets and no matter which city I am visiting I am trying to visit them all. I won’t write a post about ‘Borough Market’ which I really do like, but it has become a bit of a tourist attraction, being in all kinds of city guides and many people knowing about it. (Which is fine, I am an annoying tourist myself sometimes, but it is nothing “new” or “unknown” in that sense) About 'Maltby Street Market’… it is located close to the tube station London Bridge, close to Borough market, but is selling predominantly food to eat at the spot. There is a lovely variety of many different kinds of food and dishes and you almost can’t decide what to try first or for what to decide. There are some bakery stands offering cakes, cupcakes, Macarons, fresh bread, doughnuts with rhubarb filling, brownies with bacon and maple syrup and the list goes on and on. Other than food, there are a few other stands selling soap or flowers and below the railway bridge, along which the market is located, there are shops with furniture and decoration – second hand or brand new.

The restaurants have seating below the bridge or outside and serve pastries and coffee, Spanish tapas or cocktails, featuring home-made gin transformed into the nicest cocktails. Unfortunately I didn’t try, nor have a picture of the Bloody Mary served at one of the places, but it looked fabulous in these Kilner glasses with red and white striped straws.

Of course I tried some things from the food stands and I must say I liked everything. In the beginning we had a classic scotch egg with tomato relish, which was great. The scotch egg itself was a bit dry but still good. I found the “chorizo scotch egg” sounded very interesting, but unfortunately they have been sold out already when we finally decided to get one. The next stop was the cheese stand, where you can get toasted good quality bread with all kinds of cheeses and special additions such as chorizo or ham, for around £5-£7. I tried the one with blue cheese, bacon and pear chutney – it was absolutely delicious. They put the sandwiches on a heated surface and squeeze it with a thing, which I have no idea how you call it. The cheese then melts between the two halves of fresh bread and turns the whole thing into something great. A must try, for sure! Speaking of which, the next must try is the fresh, smoked salmon opposite of the cheese stand. My first thought was “boooring, I can make that myself – a piece of bread, a piece of salmon, a bit of sour cream and that’s it”. But what you get for £3 is very good quality smoked salmon with no chewy parts or fish bones, on a piece of sourdough bread. It is maybe hard to describe, but that’s even an argument more for you to try it. The dessert was a filled doughnut with rhubarb jam, which was the perfect thing for me as a rhubarb lover. A bit sweet a bit sour - just right. There is also grilled meat or mussels, falafel, …..

So that was my choice of food, but you will see it is very hard to decide what to get. The “pot dogs” – a sausage in a paper bowl with potatoes and beans, or other ingredients and the waffles with duck and plum sauce are definitely my next try.

In general I really like the market, not only because there is a big variety of food and drinks, but you can chill out the whole day there, wandering from one stand to the other, trying gin here or another cocktail there. The atmosphere is very laid back, everyone is really friendly and nobody seems to be in a big rush and most importantly, it is not packed with people (as it is the case at Borough Market most of the time). It is a bit tricky to find though, but the nice mixture of smells will lead you to your destination. And on the way to the market you will pop into many nice restaurant, such as the Tapas bar 'Jose', which is always busy when I pass by. 

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