Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey is one of London’s coolest food markets. Planning your trip? Here’s what you need to know.
We’re about to commit London blasphemy with our next words. Forget about Borough Market, Maltby Street Market is the foodie market that we’re LOVING these days.
It’s not the biggest market, but what it lacks in size makes up for glorious food in food. A tightly curated set of some of the city’s best street food vendors is all it takes to make your tastebuds sing.
You’ll find it in Bermondsey, an up-and-coming area in southeast London – an area that gets livelier week on week.
This is in no small part thanks to Maltby Street and Bermondsey’s epic Beer Mile, which is packed with craft breweries with a few indie distilleries thrown in for good measure.
Want a few words of advice (warning: you’re going to get them whether you want them or not). If you’re going to Maltby Street, go very, very hungry.
Why Should I Visit Maltby Street Market? What’s the Big Deal Anyway?
Frequenting London’s food markets is pretty much a city-wide obsession, for both visitors and locals to the capital.
There’s nothing we love more than waking up at the weekend and planning our day around gorging on some of the city’s tastiest (and most affordable) dishes.
Unleashing your inner Jamie Oliver and heading off in search of fantastical ingredients delights Londoners and we’re guessing that you’re no exception either.
Add in a healthy mix of street food stalls, delectable restaurants, and a festive atmosphere, and there are few better ways to spend a weekend.
Of all of London’s markets, Maltby Street Market is one of our favourites. If you love to make or eat delicious food (and really, who doesn’t) – you just can’t miss it.
You will have heard of Borough Market, London’s most famous food market. We love it too, but even for experienced Londoners, the crowds can be pretty overwhelming. So too can be the choice of weird and wonderful produce.
So imagine a version of Borough Market that focuses on street food stalls, has a super-cute location and only has (on a good day) a fraction of the crowds. That would sound pretty dreamy right? Welcome to Maltby Street Market.
It’s the kind of market where you’re rubbing shoulders with other Londoners – rather than every tourist in the city.
Plus, there are fewer food stalls than at Borough (if you’ve ever been struck with the crippling indecision of trying to work out which of 900 food stalls to eat from, you can only understand why this is a good thing) – but no less quality. Sounding good?
We also love the look of the Maltby Street Market, also known as Ropewalk Market. Nestled next to the Victorian railway arches, it’s got a quirky yet beautiful look that’s very London.
Read Next: The Best Food Markets in London
Duck Frites is fast becoming a regular sight as a pop-up on the street food scene around London but one place you’ll find them regularly is Maltby Street Market.
Their offerings consist of sumptuous duck-based delights. That’s everything from fires cooked in duck fat to duck breast arancini, those same duck-fat chips with raclette topping, duck-egg quiche, duck wraps and cassoulets – get the picture?
We always end up remarking that the food is so good that it could have been served up on a small plate at some fancy wine bar somewhere and you wouldn’t know the difference.
The duck arancini are the epitome of that – make sure you try them.
When you see a really big queue around a fairly humble red marquee tent, chances are you’ve found La Pepiá.
This Maltby Street Market favourite is a Venezuelan street food kitchen serving up Arepas that are truly to die for.
For an extra London edge, go for the brightly-coloured rainbow Arepas – buns coloured with things like beetroot and spinach – they look great on the ‘gram.
There’s also a hidden meaning behind the brightly coloured Venezuelan classics. Owner Joel Ferrera pioneered them out of a desire to spread positivity about Venezuela, after fleeing the economic crisis in 2016.
As if you needed anything more to love about this Maltby Street fave, they also do plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, and all ingredients are gluten-free.
Gyoza Guys’ dumplings are so delicious that they’ve had to introduce a “no sharing” rule to stop disputes. It’s no wonder… one taste of these mouth-watering gyoza and you’ll certainly be wanting to keep them all to yourself.
They’re classic gyoza with a bit of a twist, employing delicious sauces and sides to take these dumplings to the next level. You can even get them as a bento box with side salad and pickled veg to make a full meal.
If gyoza aren’t your thing (shock horror), then perhaps you can be tempted by some alternatives like pho, bibimbap or bun cha salad.
Anyone looking for a vegan option in the market should head straight for Degchi. They market themselves as a Biryani Bar – something you’ll see written pride of place across the front of their stand.
They serve boxes of biryani in portions that can only be described as generous considering the reasonable price. You’re going to make your meat-eating friends jealous, no doubt, but lucky for them there are a couple meat options too.
What they also have here that we can’t get enough of is a good cup of chai. It’s a bit of a habit of ours to pick one up as soon as we arrive and sip it as we browse the other stands deciding what to eat.
The Beef Steaks
It’s a steak sandwich, but it’s no ordinary steak sandwich on offer from The Beef Steaks.
Founder Alex Pashby has taken the idea of the humble steak sandwich and turned it gourmet, using only the best cuts of meat and delectable herbs and sauces.
The result is the quality you’d expect from a restaurant… at prices you’d expect from a street market stall. Yep, carnivores will love this one – and so will your wallet.
It’s not just the steak that’s quality is impeccable – the hand-cut, never-frozen chips are also delish. If you want to skip the sandwich you can have your steak and chimichurri sauce served over a portion of these fries. Believe us, it’s d-lish.
Crepes a La Carte
Another one of our Maltby Street faves (and one you’ll find dotted around other street food hotspots) is Crepes a La Carte. They began life in Camden Market, the project of Eva and Thomas, two friends from Brittany and have become a regular face around London.
You’ve got a mix of savoury and sweet to choose from, with items on the menu shifting with the seasons. We’ve got a special memory of a taleggio cheese and Parma ham variety we ate in Victoria Park once that kind of stole our hearts.
We will say that while these savoury varieties do absolutely hit the spot, you can’t beat one of their classic lemon and sugars for dessert after a stomach-busting tour of the best of the rest.
Who knew London had a little Ethiopian gem hidden within Maltby Street Market? We did. And now you do, too. You’re welcome.
At Amen Ethiopian you’ll be watching hearty meets spicy with sautéed meat, vegetables, and lentils all cooked in giant woks before your eyes.
Spice lovers will get a kick out of the cooking here, as will anyone with an appreciation for slow-cooked, stewed to perfection meats. Mop it up with a slice of Kocho bread for an explosion of flavour.
The brand actually began life on brick lane, before bouncing across to Portobello Road and finally finding a home at Maltby Street. They’re really growing in popularity too. These days you’ll be able to catch them on the festival circuit during the summer months.
Moon Cheese Toasties
Since the departure of The Cheese Truck (more on that below) there’s been a toastie-shaped hole in the heart of Maltby Street Market. That hole has recently been filled by the gooey delights of Moon Cheese Toasties.
They’re cooked on a plancha right in front of you and the smells that come off will have your stomach rumbling. That said, the high point of the whole process is probably watching them cut the sarnies in two, cheese running out everywhere.
They do have some (kinda) light options but we say jump right in at the deep end with the ham ‘n’ cheese – they stuff it right out with more types of cheese than we could count. It’s a filler, but a hell of a good one.
Head to La Criolla to indulge in a Spanish-style empanada or two (or three). They knock up savoury and sweet fillings and envelop them in flaky pastry that would raise the eyebrows of even the most austere French baker. The result? A veritable melt-in-the mouth parcel of dreams.
The brand has been going since owner Gustavo decided to sack off a career in the high-pressure kitchens of London’s elite restaurants to focus on combining techniques and flavours he learnt on travels in South America with his Galician heritage.
We love the simple Caprese option (tomato and cheese), but if we’re feeling spicy the jalapeno beef one goes down a treat. You should also try one of the sweet varieties, just because – the caramel empanada is our recommendation.
Banh Mi Nen
There’s nothing like a banh mi to make the bedrock of a good day of street food eatin’. The legendary Viet sandwich is pretty much made for this setting, and at Banh Mi Nen they know how to make it hit extra hard.
The paté that is the backbone of any good banh mi is done extra funky here and they top it off with a couple things that cheekily push what the sandwich can do – one of those being a topping of fried chicken (eek!)
They do have the regular roast meats if you’re more of a traditionalist, but don’t be shy to branch out. These folk know what they’re doing.
The Cheese Truck
This one is a bit of a wild card. The Cheese Truck used to be a permanent fixture at Maltby Street Market but they’ve since outgrown these humble beginnings to open The Cheese Bar in Camden and The Cheese Barge in Paddington – both excellent by the way.
The truck where it all began now travels the country (and even lands as far off as Dubai and Abu Dhabi) dishing out the toasties they’re famous for, and from time to time will pop back to Maltby Street for old times sake.
They’re undoubtedly at the forefront of toastie excellence, and if they’re on site when you are, don’t miss them. We’d offer a recommendation but really, it’s all great so just go for what takes your fancy.
Should you want to keep track of when they’ll be coming around, you can find more info in their Instagram.
Maltby Street’s Restaurants
Step out of the hustle and bustle of South East London and into a tucked-away Spanish bodega. Bar Tozino oozes charm and charisma, and as you’d expect, offers exceptional wine and mouth-wateringly good jamón.
The other tapas bites they offer change on a regular basis and are presented on a clipboard menu, penned-out in biro and felt tip. You should order a few bits and bobs but let’s reiterate, you’re here for the wines and meats.
They manage to get in some really obscure bottles from independent vineyards all over the world. Last time we were here we were sipping on a red all the way from Japan. They were also serving up some excellent fuet – a type of cured Spanish sausage we had to order a second portion of.
40 Maltby Street
It’s not easy to stand out amongst dozens of street food stalls and restaurants, but 40 Maltby Street achieves it.
We’d like to make a recommendation for you – but there’s literally no menu here. The meals on offer are made up and scribbled on the chalkboard depending on what ingredients are available daily. The result is an ever-changing but always awesome menu that’s full of surprises.
They’re also seriously into their wine (you’d expect so – it’s in the warehouse of Gergovie Wines), so you can expect a fabulous list that pairs beautifully with the food.
There’s just one catch. They don’t take bookings, so you’ll have to turn up and hope for the best. At least if you don’t get in you’ll have plenty more food options to choose from.
Poulet has done a fine job of turning their railway-arch home into a bohemian paradise. Gone are the usual exposed-bricks and pared-back interiors you’d likely find at other similar spots. They’ve gone for something slightly more, umm, over the top.
The eccentric interior plays home to what’s part wine and cocktail bar and part rotisserie restaurant – it’s also home to drag shows and burlesque nights that get the whole 3000 sq ft venue swinging.
We should mention that their rotisserie chicken is pretty excellent, and the kind of thing you should have on the table even to pick at with friends even if drinking is the focus of the night.
Practical Tips and Information
Address: Maltby Street, London NW1 2DB
Opening hours: Maltby Street Market is only open on Fridays and weekends: Friday 5:30pm – 9pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm
How to get there: The easiest way to get to the market is by the tube or bus. The Maltby Street Market’s nearest tube stations are London Bridge (10 minutes’ walk) and Bermondsey (11 minutes’ walk).