The Ropewalk on Maltby Street may not be the biggest street market in London but it’s definitely one of the best.
We’d been meaning to pay them a visit for quite a while, then one day we saw something that sprung us into action. Somebody had tweeted a picture of the most amazing looking doughnuts. We soon discovered that they were from St. John Bakery and that you can buy them on Druid street, literally around the corner from The Ropewalk.
It seemed almost too good to be true and an hour and a half later, we were there. That’s the power of Twitter (or should I say doughnuts).
The market is only a short walk away from London Bridge and Bermondsey stations and is a great alternative to spending a Saturday crammed in with thousands of tourists at Borough market.
St John Bakery – @StJohnBakery
We got to Druid Street first and made a beeline for St. John Bakery. There are lots of other shops under the railway arches, selling all kinds of fresh, quality produce but we knew what we wanted.
These were the best doughnuts I’ve ever eaten by quite some distance. We tried the rhubarb, custard and lemon curd flavours and all of them were sensational. I hear that they sometimes serve salted caramel custard and rhubarb and custard so that’s a very compelling reason to come back.
We took ours home but the best way to eat them is right then and there. If I lived in the area I’d be hard pressed to stop myself buying a dozen every Saturday. Maybe it’s better that I live in North London!
We were immediately impressed when we turned the corner and found a long strip of stalls under the ‘Ropewalk’ sign. It was busy but not overcrowded and there was a really good buzz about the place. The first stall to draw us in was Poppy and Sebastian. Their French tarts looked too good to be true so we added some to our bag of doughnuts and moved on (don’t worry – we saved them for the following day).
The Woolpack – @woolpackbar
The Woolpack have got a good reputation for their burgers and I very much like the pub, so eating here was a bit of a no-brainer. We ordered a Hog burger (beef patty topped with pulled pork). It was a smart choice. The burger was served in a box along with some of the juices the pork had been resting in. This was great as not only added to the flavour but also created a French-dip like effect.
I think the bun should’ve been a bit bigger but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of the tastiest burgers we’ve eaten recently. It’s also a “three napkin burger” so make sure you don’t wear a white shirt – just in case.
Monty’s Deli – @MontysDeli
I’m not sure why or how but we hadn’t heard of Monty’s before we got to the Ropewalk. However, as we were walking through the market, we saw lots of people carrying huge, meaty sandwiches. I knew right then that I had to have one. Unsurprisingly, the queue was sizable, more like a hungry crowd, but the sandwiches looked like they’d be well worth a bit of a scrum.
We went for a Reuben special. It’s pastrami on toasted rye with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. It’s special because it contains way more pastrami than a standard Reuben. If you think the one in the picture above looks huge, I think we were actually a little unlucky in comparison to some of the sandwiches that I saw being served, but there could be no complaints.
Monty’s is a really popular stall but I’m surprised there’s not more buzz about them outside of SE1. It would be good to see them out and about at more street food events.
MeiMei’s Street Cart – @mmStreetCart
We could hardly fail to be attracted but the fantastic aroma coming from MeiMei’s stall. We’d never eaten a jian bing before and were keen to try one. We chose hoisin duck and watched intently as it was made. Each one takes a few minutes to construct and is made up of layers of ingredients: crepe mix, egg, duck, various sauces, coriander, spring onion and deep fried wonton pastry sheet.
There were lots of different flavours but they all came together well and I’d definitely order one again. What they lack in aesthetics, they make up for in flavour. It’s something different and I recommend trying one if you get the chance.
Bar Tozino (@BarTozino) is billed as London’s only Jamon bodega and is perfect for those of us who enjoy fine Spanish ham and cheese. We bought some Iberico ham on the day but it would be great to come back here to try some tapas and wine. Inside it’s dimly lit and compact with hams hanging from the ceilings. I could almost have been in La Latina.
There were plenty of other interesting looking cafes and places to eat, as well as lots of stalls selling delicious looking cakes. This market is a bit of a gem and we’ll definitely be back.