Druid Street Market – new London street food market in Bermondsey
Well, well, well, we have a charming new London street food market* and its name is Druid Street Market. Now for those of you who don’t know the area, Druid Street is situated near London Bridge in Bermondsey and the market itself backs onto Ropewalk at Maltby (also known as Maltby Street Market, home of the St John doughnuts, Monty’s Deli pastrami and salt beef sandwiches, Hansen & Lyderson’s smoked salmon, Waffle On’s waffles, Little Bird Gin, African Volcano’s pulled pork, the Cheese Truck, and Bad Brownies).
However this little newcomer has some thrills under its canopies. First, it’s run by a fellow food writer and editor Miranda York who is not only fab as the editor of Toast Mag and its accompanying food festivals and debates, but she also knows how to smell out a good food producer or six. Secondly, and mostly because of that, the lineup of food stalls is one of the most interesting in London at the moment – either producers making exquisite things or cooks serving hot street food that I’m 99% sure you won’t have found anywhere else in London yet. There are also guest traders and weekly cookbook signings by a variety of different authors. So essentially every time you go back there will be something new.
The market runs every Saturday morning from 9am-4pm, so here’s a quick whizz through who we found and why they’re worth hopping over to try out next Saturday. NB: I haven’t covered everyone but this should get you started…
First up The London Charcutier (who was doing a guest spot that week) and his packets of sloe gin cured duck. Eating this is pleasant but odd, as it’s rather slippery and sweet with a lovely gamey undertone. Beer lovers will also appreciate the delicacy of his cured beef in ale, too. Everything he sells has been cured in London. londoncharcutier.com
Next up, Pippa Murray and her new nut butter business Pip & Nut (also a guest spot that week only) Pip knows that most people eat peanut butter out of the jar, so she’s come up with an even more addictive coconut almond butter that you can eat straight or spread on anything. It’s made simply with coconuts, roasted almonds, agave syrup and sea salt, the consistency is soft and chewy. Oh my, it’s good. pipandnut.com
Now for some Himalayan salted, deliciously creamy batch cultured English butter. This business, known simply as ‘&.’ (but founder Grant Harrington tweets from @butterculture) supplies butter to some fine London restaurants (he won’t disclose which ones but I’m told Fera might feature) and Harrington churns it in Oxfordshire before driving it up to London.
Decatur was another special treat. Run by Tom Browne who spent time living in Louisiana, he returned to the UK two years ago and was sad that the food he had eaten on his travels was badly represented in London. Under the Decatur banner he serves several things including gorgeous grilled Maldon rock oysters, their shells filled with parsley, Cajun spiced butter and hot sauce, plus bread to soak up the juices. Also new to me was a typical Louisiana country dish, known as a boudin – a Cajun-style sausage stuffed with rice and meat or fish, paprika, peppers and herbs. After scooping the filling out of its case, you must spread it on Ritz crackers (!) and eat it with cucumber pickles. The latter, too, are worth buying – I’ve been eating them from the jar for the last fortnight. Twitter @decaturlondon
An intriguing surprise was the Sri Lankan ‘hopper’ we tried from Weligama, a new London street food stall run by Emily Dobbs, who until now has been training with Skye Gyngell at her restaurant Spring. After travelling and eating in Sri Lanka, she came back wanting to show that not all Sri Lankan food was heavy. A hopper is a traditional Sri Lankan breakfast dish made simply out of fermented rice flour spread very thinly over a tiny pan in which the eggs are poached before the whole lot is topped with sprinkles of spice and homemade pickles. NB: these are good but will drip all down your clothes. weligama.co.uk
Situated permanently under an arch at the other end of the market is L’Emporio Fine Foods, a prominent Italian deli which doesn’t serve hot food here, but does stock an elegant range of rich Vacche Rosse 24- and 36-month aged Parmesan cheeses and Italian cured meats, such as culatello di Zibello. Make sure you buy the pistachio spread, which alone is worth a visit. lemporiofinefoods.com
And, finally, to Chloe Timms’ gorgeous Fatties Bakery stall for some caramels (and a chance to see Chloe’s piping bag filled with her signature glupey caramel which I’ve since nicknamed her salted caramel drip!). It’s not something she publicizes as she uses the caramel to pour over nearly all of her products, but it’s worth gawping at. I’d love to see her have her very own shop one day too. fattiesbakery.com
Druid Street Market runs on Saturdays from 9am-4pm, Druid Street, SE1, druid.st
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*I say street food market, this market has more produce than street food, so don’t go expecting only to eat lots of hot food…