Borough Market has long held sway as an essential stop on the London food tour. But in the wake of disagreement over increasing rents and trading loyalties, some of Borough’s headlining purveyors left in search of new digs, setting up shop further east in and around the Victorian railway arches of Maltby, Stanworth and Druid Streets. A few years ago, Borough traders used these arches mainly for storage. But when the Monmouth Coffee Company started selling straight from its Maltby Street production site, word spread and a trickle of curious visitors began to arrive. Other vendors, encouraged, followed suit with their own stalls and the buzz got louder.
Now, every Saturday morning at the Maltby Street Market, shoppers wielding wicker baskets and pushing prams amble past the salvage yard while munching on samples from the Borough Cheese Company and Neals Yard Dairy before stocking up on biodynamic vegetables from Fern Verrow. Much of the appeal is in the communal locavore vibe and in the range of traders making the most of the unlikely surroundings. The London Honey Company, for example, keeps bees on the roof of an old tannery.
Recent arrivals have brought a bit more gloss to the market, and further gentrification is bound to follow. Bea’s of Bloomsbury sells artisanal cupcakes and offers actual chairs to eat them on (everyone else makes do with the pavement), while St. John Bakery, an offshoot of the famous Smithfield restaurant, has finally found favour among vegetarians with its custard doughnuts. They’re worth queuing up for — although for the moment, at least, you won’t have to.
See their webpage here: www.maltbystreet.com