Maltby Market & Spa Terminus

I visited Maltby Market and Spa Terminus for the first time just before Christmas. I arrived there in time for lunch after enjoying coffee and croissants in Borough Market. The close proximity of the two markets make them ideal for merging breakfast into lunch.

While that may be so, they are no way in competition. Maltby is smaller yes, but still maintains an element of surprise which Borough does so effortlessly with its nooks and crannies. The characterful arches in Maltby have a lot to do with this. You see, Maltby Market is perfectly placed on Ropewalk, close to an area known as Spa Terminus: a series of railway arches which allows food businesses to operate with the comfort of long-term tenure. They operate as wholesale traders during the week but at the weekend, swing their doors open to the public. The area is deeply rooted in food production which makes it great to see a full market operating and feeding off that established energy.

I feel I have many visits ahead of me before I feel fully au fait with Maltby and Spa Terminus. That is what is so intriguing about it all: this air of mystery. Is it a market? Are they the same or two separate things? Or is it a market showcasing the produce in the area? I’m not sure, but the not knowing keeps me coming back.

Market Heroes

The Cheese truck

Like many other living and breathing humans, I find the sight of a toasted cheese sandwich hard to resist. Even though the toasted cheese sandwich is becoming a bit of a commodity in itself, with a toastie café having just opened in Soho, these guys are one of the originals.

St John Bread and Wine

The Maltby branch of St John is housed in one of the quaint arches which makes for a relaxing sit down after battling the market crowds outside. Justin Gellatly of Bread Ahead was previously Head Baker and Pastry chef here, so you might find you recognise those doughnuts famous for their pastel hues and air-like consistency.

Little Bird Gin

There is just something so cheerful about this little arch that really sends my Saturday into a swing. Even on the cold December day of my first visit I was drawn to the warm ambience at this cute gin bar. The spirit itself is made in small batches locally in South London, drawing on grapefruit and orange botanicals. The kitsch menu features such wonders as Rhubarb Robin Negroni and the Early Bird Breakfast Martini, should the mood strike you before noon.

Monty’s Deli

Mark, of Monty’s Deli guards the secret recipe of his delectable sandwiches very closely. The food is described as ‘Jewish soul food’ and a lunch break here will soothe your soul and cradle your very being. The bagels, the salt beef, the mustard-everything, is all produced by hand. A real honest to goodness sandwich.

 

Maltby Street Market

LASSCO Ropewalk

41 Maltby Street,

London,

SE1 3PA

 

Spa Terminus

Dockley Road Industrial Estate,

Dockley Rd,

London ,

SE16 3SF

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Brockley Market

A friend had been inviting me to come to a Saturday market near her and I finally took her up on the offer. Perched in the leafy square of Lewisham College car park is Brockley Market. Despite the day being bitterly cold, it didn’t dampen the spirit among producers and traders. Crowds of eager market goers arrived in their droves ready to bag their weekly groceries or simply indulge in a beautiful lunch from one of the many street food stalls.

The market was set up by photogropher Toby Allen who was frustrated by the limited selection of fresh produce in the area. He saw potential for a market in the car park and decided to go about setting one up. And so Brockley Market was born, the shortage of fresh ingredients was no more and all were happy. The Brockley dream continues each Saturday 10-2.

Market Heroes

Mons Cheesemongers

Carefully selected cheeses from France and Switzerland, Mons trades at several markets around London, as well as supplying cheese to shops and restaurants.

Kooky Bakes

My friend was particularly excited to show me the wonders of the Kooky Bake, and I must say, it made my Saturday. Kooky these bakes are, from peanut butter and jelly cupcakes to a s’mores brownie. You’ll need to sit down after this one.

Saltwood Fish Bar

After quite a bit of pacing around, I decided to settle on lunch from here. I was in a decidedly savoury mood and was sold by the thought of polenta crusted Pescado Frito. This is a dish I could happily put on my long list of possible last meals.

Brockley Market

Lewisham College Carpark,

Lewisham Way, Brockley SE4 1UT

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Borough market

I am unashamedly enthusiastic about Borough Market. Sure, it might get more than a little busy, but where doesn’t in London? It is, and always will be, everything that I want in a market.

The origins of Borough go as far back as the eleventh century, before being abolished by parliament in 1755. The perseverance of the local Southwark community could not be quashed though, and they raised £6,000 to buy an area of land known locally as ‘The Triangle’. This is the site where you can visit Borough Market today.

The local spirit that brought Borough Market back to life can still be seen and felt in the its ethos today. Operating as a charitable trust, the market is run by a board of trustees and constantly strives to give back to the community which so adores it. The regular series of educational events marks its place as not only a food market, but a place of food education and a space in which to discuss and share ideas. The popular demo kitchen events engage and encourage participation, while the traders themselves are always on hand for a chat and culinary advice.

So yes, Borough Market might be busy, but it has got heart and an honesty often hard to find in a city where trends are king.

 

Market Heroes

Spice Mountain

My, my, where to start with this Aladdin’s cave of treasures? Many a cooking project has begun for me in Spice Mountain. Be not fooled by the name, as this store has so much more than spices: from dried herbs and freeze dried fruit powders to lentils. The staff, as well as fellow shoppers, are beyond helpful with recipe tips and advice. In fact, it’s not unusual to have your entire week’s menu planned while waiting in line to pay. Go, impart, receive and enjoy!

The Parma Ham and Mozzarella Stand

I dream about the smoked mozzarella I buy here. Unlike some, it retains the soft succulence of its unsmoked counterpart. I’m always comforted my small menus as it usually means the few things on offer have been devoted every care and attention; the same is true here. The Parma Ham and Mozzarella stand literally does what it says on the tin, and it does it very well.

De Calabria

I first fell in love with the olive oil, closely followed by what has now fondly become known in my house as “that crack cocaine tomato thing”. Yes, you’ve guessed it, this “tomato thing” is a highly addictive tomato condiment consisting of a hypnotic mix of chilli flakes, fennel seeds, wild oregano, sun-dried tomatoes and that olive oil. It goes exceedingly well with the smoked mozzarella above.

 

Borough Cheese Company

I have tried a lot of cheese at markets and one of my favourites is comté. Borough offers quite a lot of this hard, cows milk cheese and having tried them all, I have pledged loyalty to this one. Sometimes I surprise the taste buds with a sample from a rival, but one taste of this makes me forget why I doubted.

Olivier’s Bakery

The thought of one of their sugar dusted-crisp on the outside but soft on the inside-almond croissants is enough to get me through even the most challenging week. I positively jump out of bed every Saturday with anticipation of the glorious first bite. This theme continues with Olivier’s range of pastries and bread.

Horn OK Please

This delicious Indian street food is a refreshing burst of lightness perched amongst rows of burgers and other carnivorous things. The dosa is a firm favourite and makes battling the lunchtime crowds worthwhile.

Turnips

Come for the displays, and leave with a heavy bag. Turnips is the place to come to remind you why you really should, in fact, eat your greens. From the common house apple to a less domestic papaya, you’ll be sure to come across it in here. On my first couple of visits, I couldn’t imagine actually buying items here as it has a sort of novel aspect. However, as time has gone on, I find myself popping in here more and more for specific things I know I won’t find elsewhere.

 

I could go on. But like Borough itself, it is a topic worth revisiting.

 

 

Borough Market

8 Southwark Street,

London, SE1 1TL