My Notebook of the amazing places I have visited and the memories and experiences I don't want to forget.
Two weeks ago on a cloudy Saturday I visited Maltby St Ropewalk market and the Spa Terminus in Bermondsey, London. It was my second time visiting this area.
Over several years I have found that the changes to Borough Market, by London Bridge, to be more negative rather then positive. A few years ago the area was becoming more and more touristy and busy especially on Saturday lunchtime. However a while ago you could still pick up high quality produce some of which was very good value for money. In my opinion, now this is not the case. Yes there are positive changes in that there are now more specialised traders and you can pick up items that are hard to find such as exotic spices, specialist olive oil and organic tea. On a negative you will pay top dollar for such items and the produce sold tends to appeal more to the tourists rather then Londoners, whilst many of the traditional stalls which offered quality as well as value for money have gone. If your main reason for coming to the market is to buy your fruit, veg, meat, fish and cheese you may be disappointed. Firstly the hordes of people on a Saturday means bumbling about, looking and doing your shopping is a bit of a nightmare. Secondly the prices are very high, sometimes justifiably so other times not. I used to go to the borough every month or so and buy chanterelle mushrooms (when they were in season). There were two greengrocers or market stalls that sold them one was a lot more expensive. The one offering the cheaper mushrooms has now closed and the other charges extortionate prices because they can. I also used to buy some fruit and tomatoes from a market stall, often there prices would be cheaper then supermarket and the quality was far superior. However now they have gone.
Maltby Street is different, yes there are people and often by lunchtime the place is buzzing but you are still able to amble about with out feeling like a sheep in the crowd. Most places offering food do not have long lines or long waits. The prices on the whole are also reasonable, there are exceptions of course. Why would I wait for 30 minutes for a Monmouth Coffee at Borough when I can get one here with no wait?
There are several butchers who offer superb produce, an array of bakeries and cake shops, a few green grocers, places to sample great coffee, several places to eat some snacks or hot food and to enjoy a well poured drink or bottle of wine. Oh and there is a brewery serving great beer which you can also buy to take home. What more do you need?
I left having sampled an array of produce with two full bags of shopping. Much more pleasant then a day at the supermarket or fighting through the hordes of people at Borough market.