Anyway, while normally we spend our birthdays travelling somewhere new, it was decided to spend my birthday where we live, Ol’ London Town. We have been in London almost 5 years now and during this time, we have noted down new restaurants, food markets and bars that we wanted to visit. So, we thought it a perfect opportunity to spend the day wandering around London, eating masses of food and trying out the new lens for our camera that I
bought was given for my birthday.
One of our favourite places in London is Borough Market, which would definitely factor in as a stop during the day, but we had been told about another place 3 years ago that was not far from there called Maltby Street. After a bit of research we found that it also linked up Spa-Terminus, a section of railway archways housing food producers and distributors that open their warehouses on Saturday mornings for retail customers. So that was the starting point. We met Jamie & Siva at Bermondsey Station and after a five minute walk we were devouring delicious cured meats from The Ham & Cheese Co. and warming up with hot cups of lemon and honey from The London Honey Company.
Around the corner were the archways for Mons Cheesemongers where we had to buy their delicious Gruyere for one of my favourite, yet simple, recipes; Toasted Ham & Cheese Sandwich. Crossing through the archways underneath the railway lines, we found Maltby Street. Before we ventured into Ropewalk, we stopped by Bermondsey Gin for a quick tasting. Cockles warmed, we headed into the market for some more food. Nowhere near as large as Borough Market, Maltby Street is still bustling and with a really friendly feel to it. On one side there are little stalls selling everything from Merguez sausages to curried fudge to flowers and a few little eateries fronting what looked like second hand salvage yards. It was a shame I had my hands & mouth full as we walked past Waffle On as their freshly made waffles with bacon and maple syrup looked amazing. On the other side, nestled under the railway lines, were little restaurants & bars alongside distillery’s and bakeries. The food being cooked smelt and tasted fantastic and if you are in the area at the right time, St John’s Bakery will have hopefully just taken some of their Madeleine’s from the oven so you can try them fresh and still warm. When we go back to Maltby Street, and we will go back, we will aim to spend more time there to out the little eateries and bars that we missed this time.
After crossing over the Thames on Tower Bridge, we had a beautiful view of the city as we realised that it was probably the only sunny day we have had this year. We made our way along past the Tower of London, Old Billingsgate and then back across London Bridge on to Borough Market.
Normally I visit Borough Market on a Friday when I walk half an hour from my work near St Paul’s, pick up a Salt Beef Sandwich from Northfields Farm and then meander back to work trying to suck down any remnants of the juicy beef from my teeth. Saturdays are so much busier than Fridays. But that did not hinder us, the guys wandered through Turnips Fruit & Veg while I polished of my Salt Beef Sandwich in record time and we all washed it down with a cold glass of Prosecco. Other than the Salt Beef Sandwich, there are a few other necessities that I always pick up from the market, Mushroom Pate from Pate Moi, Chorizo Picante from Brindisa (the best we have tasted) and since being introduced to it when I learnt how to make sausages, a hot and huge Sausage Roll form The Ginger Pig.
Stomachs now full with delicious food; it was time for a pint. We decided to take the touristy walk along the Southbank, past Shakespeare’s Globe up to the Tate Modern where we headed across Millennium Bridge towards one of my favourite buildings in London, St Paul’s Cathedral. By this time the blue sky had disappeared and the recurrent rain clouds were coming in fast. The dome of St Paul’s glowed underneath the grey sky but before we could take anymore pictures it was down the hill to one of London’s oldest pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. It was rebuilt in 1667 and shows every Monarch that has ruled since that time on the front door. We managed only one beer before saying goodbye to Jamie & Siva and jumping into a black cab towards Bubbledogs before it shut.
We had heard about the hotdogs at Bubbledogs before, but it only clicked recently the whole basis around the restaurant is Hot Dogs & Champagne. Not the likeliest of pairs when you think about it, one part popularised as a working class street food and the other normally associated with affluence, but it works. It is such a clever concept, deliciously flavoured hotdogs, with plenty of choices of champagne all encompassed in a small yet casual bar with great staff. We were starting to get a bit full now, but we had another stop at Polpo in Soho. We managed to get a seat at the bar where we washed down some chichetti, Venetian snacks, with a couple of cups of red wine.
There was one more stop at Della Terra Vino, definitely the priciest stop of our day, for a glass of wine before heading to Phoenix Theatre to watch Once the Musical (we are very cultured) It was a great show with fantastic music, well worth seeing if you get the chance. We had planned a post theatre dinner at Hawksmoor Seven Dials, but just couldn’t manage it. We will have to save Hawksmoor for another day, most likely opting for their Guildhall restaurant for their power breakfast. In this case, it was on the tube and heading for home to dream about our Gruyere Toasted Sandwiches for lunch the next day.