Maltby Street and its neighbour Spa Terminus are perhaps the place for food in London. Among the railway arches and housing estates of Bermondsey, you will find a burgeoning food scene of well-known names and innovative newcomers - all staunchly committed to good quality food .
Start your walk at London Bridge taking the Tooley Street exit, following the railway tracks to your left, whilst navigating the construction sites around the railway arches once home to London's more notorious nightclub scene.
At times, you'll think you're lost as you pass through this wasteland of abandoned buildings but you're on track. It's these side streets, railway tunnels and abandoned warehouses that will lead you to your first destination – Druid Street, home to some of the most famous names of London’s food scene.
Arrive early to secure yourself a St John Bakery donut – people travel miles for these sugar-coated, lemon curb, apricot jam, and custard filled delights. Here among the crash repairers and furniture wholesalers, you’ll also find Bea’s of Bloomsbury serving an all-day American breakfast (until it runs out) and O’Shea’s butcher delivering some impressive aged beef. Avoid the temptation to over-indulge as there is more to come as you continue to the end of Druid Street, down Abbey Road, past the storage buildings of Enid Street, through to Spa Street and then Dockley Street. (You will need a map - which we have provided below.)
You'll experience a surprising sense of community in this light industry space among London Honey Company, La Grotta Ices, Little Bread Pedlar and Coleman Coffee Roasters, among others. Grab a filter coffee from Coleman’s and a parma rose from Pedlar and perch on the storage crates opposite to enjoy.
Next door to Pedlar is London Honey Company – just look for the bee boxes stacked outside. While there sign-up for a course in urban bee-keeping and get something for your London larder. Further along is La Grotta – with its changing menu such as bergamot sorbet and liquorice raspberry ripple. The biodynamic produce of Fern Verrow is simply inspiring as is the French, Italian and Spanish produce that you will find at Natoora, just around the corner. To find it simply look for the over-sized 1970s icecream cone belonging to The Ice Cream Union – another local favourite.
Whereas Spa Terminus is urban industrial, a collective of food wholesalers and providers; Maltby Street is more street party, a festival with bunting flags and pop-ups that line its railway arches. Some store holders have taken up permanent residence; others are more temporary. One weekend you might find a pop-up bar serving a very respectable prosecco (chilled in plastic buckets with ice) for elevenses. Another time, you will find newcomers like Co&Co selling bespoke salted caramels and chocolates inside Lassco, the architectural salvagers whose stock fills most of the railway arches.
Look out for Tom’s Feast (@tomsfeast) and his scallop ceviche – the hand-dived scallops come from Lyme Bay Dorset and are served with lemon, coriander, and a punch of chilli. A Little French Tart is a little coquette with her raspberry tarts (@poppyskitchen).
Always changing, improvised and innovative, this area of London never falls to deliver. Only open on Saturday.