Maltby Street is one of London's most picturesque markets, its railway arches and bunting flapping in the breeze creating an almost villagey vibe. The market is fairly small but a lot is packed in, and the quality of traders is always high. If you can't decide between stalls, allow us to offer a little guidance in the form of our top 5 experiences at Maltby Street.
When these guys say bad, what they mean is excellent. The bad in these brownies is referring to the fact that they are about as OTT as brownies get, but there's no hint of style over substance here, because every addition just makes the brownie even better. Think oozing layers of salted caramel in the centre of the brownie, super fudgy triple choc numbers, Ferrero Rocher, peanut butter, S'mores, marshmallows. Basically, anything goes.
Markets coordinator Mike Swaine told us, “Maltby Street is the best London market. It's busy, it's vibrant, the customers are always up for trying something new: they’re serious foodies and have mega adventurous tastes. If we have an off-the-wall flavour, the crowd’s up for it. We once sent out a junk food themed brownie and everyone wanted to try it and tell us what they thought. The usuals simply love eating, and we love sharing our slap-you-round-the-face (not literally) flavours, so Maltby is perfect for us.”
See Bad Brownie website for further information.
Little Bird Gin
This small batch London distilled liquor is a regular presence at the market and we love the zesty citrus botanicals infused into their 41.6% gin. They make G & Ts topped with wedges of pink grapefruit, which is something we've become rather accustomed to sipping on as we go about our market business. Who says 11am is too early for gin? No-one, that's who. It's a London Dry gin, meaning that only natural botanicals are infused, and they're all added during the distillation process. We recommend you pick up a bottle to take home, so you can pick up where you left off in the evening.
See Little Bird Gin website for further information.
Chef Grant Hawthorne has become a fixture at Maltby with his range of Mozambique style hot sauces. African Volcano now comprises a range of hot sauces, marinades and seasoning rubs and we can tell you that they are fantastic — the perfect balance of heat and acidity, but with a truly unique flavour. They taste, somehow, of the hot African sun. Grant is originally from South Africa, and he's been tweaking the hot sauce recipe for at least 15 years since it was gifted to him by a lady from Mozambique. He uses a potent variety of chillies, including some of the world's hottest, to get the perfect balance of heat and flavour, and the awards have been rolling in. We count it among our top 5 London-made hot sauces. Grant said of his time at the market, "we were invited to trade at Maltby Street five years ago and have seen it grow in size and stature. We're really proud to be a part of it all and long may it continue."
See African Volcano website for further information.
There can never be enough melted cheese, and Raclette Brothers are admirably holding the fort at Maltby Street. This traditional Alpine street food involves melting half wheels of Raclette cheese. In the Savoie region where the dish originates, farmers would melt cheese over an open fire, but at Maltby Street it's melted under special raclette grills, then scraped onto herby potatoes, cornichons and silverskins. There's also a sausage option, finished with their signature maple-bacon crumb. Raclette Brother Steve told us, "Raclette is a really unique cuisine and like all good street food it's a feast for all the senses. Maltby Street Market is an amazing spot, the narrow street and vibrant setting give it a really intimate feel which is hard to find anywhere else. Being a functioning architectural salvage yard, it's a wonderfully rustic place and its relaxed vibe makes it a real hidden gem."
We've already told you about sheets of egg waffle at Bubblewrap, and now it's time to check out the individual Taiwanese eggs at Dhan Waffle. These cute puffs of waffle are served in an egg box and topped with the most incredible, gooey sauces, flavoured with Nutella, salted caramel or vanilla custard, then sprinkled with peanut butter or drizzled with Taiwanese honey. We've also seen them mix it up with the toppings, so expect to find different sauces, depending on the day.
Waffle pedlar Irene told us why she thinks Maltby Street is so special; "It is where all the magic happens, a hidden gem that I accidentally passed by in the end of 2015 and I had a crush on it right away. The arches under the bridge, the flying flags, the vibe the way traders dressing is so beautiful like movie scene in 90's". She loves the community spirit among traders too, saying, "they've been so kind and lovely, we are like a big family who support and help each other." Apparently, she showed her waffle video to the market owner one day and he said, "interesting, come along and see how it goes." The rest is waffle history.
Malty Street Market, Ropewalk, SE1 3PA. Open Saturday 9am-4pm and Sunday 11am-4pm.