Claire and I had to schedule our visit to Maltby Street market months in advance. I was beginning to feel like the last person on earth to go. Over the past few years I'd read about the development of the Maltby Street area with a keen interest. We all know that Borough market has become a bit of a victim of its own success. It's absolutely heaving, full of tourists taking photos of stalls and eating their chorizo buns. I doubt if anyone spends more than £10, and they've made it impossible for anyone wanting to actually shop there. In 2009, a group of traders sought out the railway arches in Maltby Street, Bermondsey as a cheap place to store their goods during the week. Collectively, they bought an old milk float to transport their goods between the arches and Borough. When Monmouth coffee decided to opens it's storage doors on Saturday mornings, a bit of a coup happened. An unlikely foodie destination with a gritty feel was born. The Bermondsey seven (as they became known) were thrown out of Borough for trading at two venues and dividing loyalty. Well more fool them, Maltby Street is heaven. I long given up on the sharpened elbows required for Borough. What it lacks in historical architecture it certainly makes up for in space. Each stall holder has a whole arch to themselves.
Let's not beat around the bush, you've got to be determined to get there. It's a ten minute walk from Bermondsey tube and the setting is rough round the edges. But I think this sorts the wheat from the chaff. The punters are older, making considered purchases and it's so peaceful. Because the scene has evolved organically, traders are spread out and there is no sign posting. Armed with an i phone we managed to weave our way round. Under bridges, round arches and through car parks. My advice....... go with this map and a nose for hunting delicious smells wafting from unexpected places.
Our first pit stop was Bea's diner to take care of my hangover from the night before. My god, did it sort me out. We had the brioche french toast with caramel bananas and walnuts with a side dish of maple streaky bacon. I haven't encountered a brunch this good outside of New York. Out of the corner of my eye, I spy a fellow diner wearing one of my bag designs for Aubrey England. It always gives me pleasure to see one being loved and used!
Buzzing from sugar we strolled down Rope walk. If only I had a different compartment in my stomach, to sample all the other delicious morsels. From smoked salmon open sandwiches, to cocktails at Little Bird. Walkways that lead us to honey combs drenched in nectar and salty shavings of parmesan. My mouth was salivating at this feast before my eyes. No longer confined to a temporary stall, these traders have the creative license to display their goods exactly as they want. Each one dressed with antique furniture and other artfully sourced props, it's a unique shopping experience. No longer mere stall holders, they have styled themselves into brands with serious foodie kudos. I was impressed. I wonder how long it will be before the commercial big boys try to muscle in for a piece of the street cred associated. So please go, show your support, I know you'll love it, just don't tell too many people. We don't want another Borough stampede.
Maple streaky bacon, the ultimate sweet and salty treat.
A fellow diner wearing one of my Aubrey England handbag designs. The Osborne tote, click here for further details.
I was wearing my new latest Autumn Winter 13 design for Aubrey, the Serpentine tote. We recently shot this style for the AW13 campaign on location at 68 Dean St, see previous post.
Sadly it was far too cold to sit down with a cocktail, but I'll be back to sample Little bird's fare.
Such beautiful displays using planks stored in the arches.
Gritty..............see what I mean?
I fell in love with these jam jars from England Preserves, wrapped in vintage book pattern linings.
The scent of beeswax is heavenly at The London Honey Company.