There’s nothing quite like the discovery of something in London that you have never been exposed to before. These things can happen quite by chance, by stumbling across something wonderful and realising you’ve missed it each time your train has floated right by or right under the spot.
Nowhere is that more relevant than on the Maltby Street Food Market, where the trains can be both seen and heard. Rope Walk is built into the underside of the train line, and the constant rumble serves as a backdrop to the sounds of frying cheese and influencers thinking out loud about how to block the crowds out of the shots of their experience.
For us, it was a case of getting some drinks, getting some food and then getting some more drinks and some more food. We started with half a dozen Maldon oysters with a couple of Old Fashioneds, the unlikely combination working in our favour and feeling overly indulgent. Sitting at the side of Rope Walk, we were able to watch the crowds go by, keeping an eye out for wrapped packages of food that could turn our heads.
After walking the full length of the market, E settled on an arepa from Cheese Blanket, famed for their fried cheese, folded into cornmeal-based flatbreads – a dish from Venezuela. We shared a halloumi and plantain arepa, which may have changed my views on my favourite bread and become an honourable “munchion” when I eventually secure my place on Ed Gamble and James Acaster’s podcast, Off Menu.
I picked up a beef and chorizo empanada with chimichurri before regaling E with the story of when I stayed in the Costa Rican rainforest and an old mama taught me to make them by hand, before manning the fryer because I could not be trusted.
There were so many options at our disposal that we made plans for another trip before we were done. E picked up two bowls of gyoza from Gyoza Guys – both the chicken and the tofu, which we had with chilli oil and onions.
I have a confused relationship with food and to spend time in a place like that is to understand what it means to live to eat. Everything we had was the best bite. Each cuisine from around the world compartmentalised into a gentrified and Instagram-ready presentation, and who are we to deny ourselves that?
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