Ok – so I have a new favourite place. I came across the Bermondsey arches on Maltby Street a few weeks ago and then found out that some food traders that either produce or store their goods in the arches hold stalls every Saturday from 9-2pm. A new food market is born.
Some are hailing it as the ‘new Borough Market’, although the two really aren’t terribly alike. For starters, each trader sells their products directly out of their arch so as we walked down Druid Street to the St John bakery, it didn’t look like there was a lot of action going on. It’s only when you reach Booth’s the greengrocers that you realise you’ve hit the market. You’ll probably see a few customers ambling about, armed with their baskets full of fruit and veg, some of which you won’t find at a local supermarket. I missed out on purchasing anything here as I knew that I’d be out all day so I didn’t want to be carrying too much around with me.
However, I have developed a recent obsession with sourdough bread so really couldn’t pass up the opportunity to purchase a white sourdough loaf from St John. The large loaf shone out at me as I walked into their arch, as did their now infamous custard filled doughnuts. Made with a second hand manual doughnut machine, these beautiful sugary, fluffy, creamy vanilla doughnuts are the best I have ever tasted – and that’s coming from someone who is not a doughnut fan. I loathe Krispy Creme’s or the kind of jam filled ones that you used to get at your friends birthday party as a child. Unfortunately I was too engrossed in it’s greatness to get a photo. Next time, I promise.
We strolled on to the next arch, which is shared by Polish supplier Topolski , Kase Swiss and Jacob’s Ladder Farms and were confused at first by the different pickings on offer but soon realised that it was three separate companies. Here we purchased a freshly pan fried pancake, which was filled with diced red onion and cheese. A perfect breakfast after a night on the sauce. Local foodies were purchasing the handsome slabs of meat from Jacob’s Ladder Farms.
We wandered under the bridge to the other side and came across Neal’s Yard selling their fantastic range of cheeses and followed the arches all the way down to Monmouth at the other end. There seemed to be quite a lot of cheese and chorizo on sale at the various stalls. There is the odd arch that is not dedicated to food but they look desolate in comparison.
Our final stop was Monmouth where we ordered a flat white and a latte. It was here that we (naughtily) ate the cream doughnut from St John. We were saving it for later but it seemed too perfect to eat with our organic Jersey Milk Monmouth coffee.
We stood next to the huge roaster and watched fellow customers enjoying their leisurely Sunday coffee and pastry. It was busy but not half as much as the nearby Borough Market branch on a Saturday morning.
I popped into an antiques warehouse while my boyfriend went to find a loo (sorry for the information) and came across some great art deco – one Union Jack desk in particular took my fancy but at £899 in the sale was a bit out of my price range.
It was bitterly cold so we retreated to the West End for a spot of shopping before lunch at Foxcroft and Ginger and Dinner at Busaba. What a day!
Other traders that you’ll find at Maltby Street Market include Fern Verrow, The Borough Cheese Co, Kappacasein, The Kernel Brewery , The Ham & Cheese Co, Aubert Mascoli and La Grotta Ices. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough but I definitely didn’t see all of these. No worries if I wasn’t because I’m definitely going back when it’s not so bitingly cold for a more leisurely visit!
The Maltby Street Market
If you like sourdough maybe you would like to try another available in the Druid Street/Maltby Street area which is our “Brixton Sour” which you can find a limited supply of at Jacob’s Ladder Farms at 104 Druid Street that you mention. Our association, Brockwell Bake http://www.brockwell-bake.org.uk/ produces around loaves of this once a week in our small mobile wood-fired oven, we mill all the flour we use ourselves in Lambeth with grain from the Jacob’s Ladder farms.
Currently the grain we use is from two modern varieties but we are working with the farmers to bring back some local heritage varieties such as Old Hoary (a white wheat with fluffy hull cover also know as Kent Woolly Eared or in France Ble a’Duvet) and “Old Kent Red” (a local Red Lammas variant). We hope to have enough of these to bake with a little after next harvest.
The “Brixton Sour” loaf is currently 20% rye, we also regularly produce some “Kernel Porter” which uses yeast from the Kernel Brewery and malts form them and others created by us to make a loaf inspired by their London Porter.
Jacob’s Ladder Farms website now up and running at http://www.jacobsladderfarms.co.uk so you can get weekly news of what they have on offer as well as read and see more about the farms where their meat and the grain>flour>bread produced by the Brockwell Bake Association comes from. More info explaining bio-dynamic farming as well as descriptions of the preparation and good use of traditional butchery cuts by their resident butcher, Phill, to be added soon.