Everyone who comes to London gets told about Borough Market as a foodie destination. I’ve got fond memories of Borough from its early days, but it has become a victim of its own success, gridlocked with daytrippers. You’ll easily pay £10 for a punnet of olives and you have to queue for absolutely bloody everything, even just to look. I get in a proper vile mood in such places. Not everyone has heard about its younger sibling, Maltby Street Market, which is tucked a few streets away from London Bridge station under the railway arches on Ropewalk. It’s petite compared to Borough, it’s full of stalls selling lovely things to eat on the spot and there are some cracking bars to have a drink and a snack in. Make haste, I say!
If you’re into calorific ‘dude food’ you will be well catered for – stalls are heaving with gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, posh scotch eggs, waffles, Alpine food and steak sandwiches. You can drink gin cocktails bejewelled with fruit at Little Bird’s beautiful and quirky gin palace, sitting pretty in its railway arch. And the side streets around the main drag have food businesses flogging their wares from their wholesale outposts – from St John selling baked goods (do NOT forego their heavenly fresh custard doughnuts), microbreweries and gin distillers to fruit ‘n veg grocers and butchers.
And then there’s Monty’s Deli, about halfway up Ropewalk, where you can get a damn fine salt beef and pastrami sandwich. You can enter either from the Maltby market side via a little back door, or through the main entrance on Druid Street:
It’s not just salt beef sandwiches on offer – you can get all sorts of other Jewish classics such as Matzo Ball Soup and Latkes:
We opted for the half salt beef, half pastrami sandwich on toasted rye – really delicious, a good smoky, spicy flavour to the pastrami. Monty’s Deli make everything on site – from the bread to the pickles and mustard. They cure and smoke all their own meat.
Even though this represents a significant amount of meat (I could only manage half), this felt like NOTHING compared to the portions on offer at Katz’s Delicatessen in New York! Positively restrained:
Everyone seems to be enjoying the Jewish soul food, and you’re made to feel welcome if you turn up with a kid in a buggy – there’s no high chairs or anything, but it’s friendly and there’s room for everyone to squeeze in:
If you need further convincing to make the trip to Monty’s, read Jay Rayner’s touching article about how a good salt beef sandwich reminds him of his dad.
London SE1 2HQ