LONDON – Maltby Street, in a non-descript corner of Bermondsey, is the last place you'd expect to find a gourmet food mecca. But tucked away under the railway arches, a collection of stallholders — in an ongoing dispute with nearby Borough Market — set up shop every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
To Market, To Market
Stroll among locals and foodies-in-the-know to find such traders as Monmouth Coffee, Kappacasein (toasted cheese sandwiches and raclette), The Kernel Brewery, St. John Bakery, and Neal's Yard Dairy (fresh cheese, butter, yoghurt) selling from the warehouses used to store/brew/make their products. Trestle tables offering farm-fresh vegetables and fruits have started to pop up in the area, while some traders, like Kitty Travers of La Grotta Ices, make seasonal appearances. Travers sells her gourmet gelato (pea pod, raspberry and fig, cucumber and sour cream) from the back of a van.
But if it's hustle and bustle (read: crowds of tourists) you're after, you won't find it here. Maltby Street is a small and quiet community of food artisans, not an organized market like the one down the road. It's where you'll find all manner of creative and civic-minded projects, like the Urban Physic Garden, a magical pop-up public garden built on a derelict plot of land. It supported the growth of thousands of plants which are now beautifying the community.
Have a Great Lunch
Jose Pizarro (Tapas Brindisa) recently opened a namesake tapas and sherry bar inspired by La Boqueria in Barcelona. You'll find the man himself cooking seasonal dishes from the market behind the bar of this tiny first-come-first-served space. Traditional favorites like jamón Ibérico, boquerones, and black olives are offered with a large selection of wine and sherry.
104 Bermondsey St.
London SE1 3UB
Right down the block his other location with more of the Iberian same.
194 Bermondsey St.
London SE1 3TQ
If It Rains
Brighten up a gloomy day with a visit to fashion designer Zandra Rhodes' Fashion and Textile Museum. Designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, it's hard to miss the converted warehouse painted shocking pink and orange. Inside you'll find exhibitions dedicated to the global fashion industry over the past 50 years, a café, and shop selling bits and pieces from emerging young designers.
Fashion and Textile Museum
83 Bermondsey St.
London SE1 3XF
Get your contemporary art fix at the third outpost of Jay Jopling's White Cube gallery, which broke the record for the largest commercial gallery in Europe when it opened in Bermondsey in October 2011. The impressive, 58,000-square-feet former warehouse shows the work of top artists from around the world, as well as artists' films and lectures in the auditorium.