London Street Food at ‘Ropewalk’ Maltby Street Market
The Ropewalk, or Maltby Street Market as it’s better known, is as unpretentiously unique a street food enclave as you’re likely to find anywhere in London.
Essentially a short walkway that runs between Maltby Street and Millstream Road, this place successfully manages to make full use of the limited space available, which includes the original railway viaduct arches, by squeezing in a surprising variety pop-up stalls, mobile vendors, under-arch shops, and bars.
Even more surprising were the number of Halal and Halal-friendly stalls that we had the pleasure of discovering.
Take the example of one owner who gave up his 9-to-5 to chase a dream that culminated in the successful set up of a BBQ stall three years ago. Since then, One Love Kitchen has been serving both Halal pulled lamb and “good proper jerk kitchen”.
Spicebox is 100% plant-based and vegan, and offers three mains: the meaty textured Jackfruit Tikka Masala that’s said to be a popular dish; the Tandoori Cauliflower-steak; and a Dhal of the Day, which on this occasion was Wild Garlic and Red Lentil. The idea is to build-a-box, with the option of the following bases: Brown Basmati Rice or Quinoa Pilaf, and your choice of condiments: chutney, raita, pickles, cashews and crispy onion.
We also had Shashamane – named after a town in Ethiopia where, we were told, there’s a community of Rasatfarians who are entirely vegan. The owner, herself Romanian, said the idea behind her food was a return to a simple and clean way of cooking inspired by vegan cuisines from across the world.
Bad Brownie were “so good that they’re bad”. Entirely alcoholic-free, with plenty of butter and sugar, these brownies always come in five default flavours, with an additional duo of specials introduced every month. This month, there was the classic American campside staple, S’more, with its biscuit base, choc-chip brownie and marshmellows; and pralines and cream.
Bad Brownie also do a best-selling gluten-free Salted Caramel, which won Best Brownie at the Chocolate Festival in 2014. Currently, these innovative lot are developing a vegan brownie, that’s in the “test phase”.
There was then the peculiar, but seemingly popular, Dhans, or ‘egg’ in Mandarin. These were described as gluton-free Taiwanese waffle-cum-egg-shaped doughnuts.
There’s also the option of having a Taiwanese peanut brittle sprinkled over the top. Presented in egg carton boxes, you can opt for 4 for £5 or 6 for £6.
If you’re fancying something quintessentially British, however, then there’s nothing better than fish and chips served at Shoalfood. Using sustainable fish, everything here is Halal-friendly and Kosher. The owner, Ashley, is also “a big supporter of” double-fried chips, and is currently working on a gluton-free batter.
But, if you fancy some chicken, then Brazilian Street Wrap offers Halal chicken that’s cooked entirely separately on a dedicated grill.
Presented by the Raclette Brothers, and started last summer by Jamie and Steve, this particular vendor brought an added level of theatre to the food scene, involving as it did, a large block of semi-hard cheese heated under a grill before being scraped atop potatoes.
With the meat option here NOT being Halal, it’s the traditional vegetarian Raclette all the way.
Finally, we encountered New Zealand’s “no. 1 peanut butter”, Pic’s Peanut Butter, which has only been going a year in the UK.
With no sugar, emulsifiers, palm oil and additives, we were informed that this is “the healthiest peanut butter … on the market”!
Situated only five minutes’ walk from the iconic Tower Bridge, Maltby Street Market is easily accessible, with the nearest tube stations being London Bridge or Bermondsey, and rail station London Bridge.
Maltby Street Market
41 Maltby Street, Ropewalk,
Southwark SE1 3PA.
Opening Hours: Sat 9:00-16:00 | Sun 11:00-16:00