The kitchen may be modest, but with its ever-changing menu 40 Maltby Street is a microcosm of London culture
Its cool Bermondsey address gives it away: this is no ordinary wine bar. Tucked beneath the arches between London Bridge station and Bermondsey tube station, 40 Maltby Street shares its street name with the much-loved weekend food market that has been running since 2010.
Housed within the warehouse of Gergovie Wines, and described as a wine bar with a kitchen, it was opened by Raef Hodgson and his business partner Harry Lester back in 2011.
Modest in appearance, with a small open-plan kitchen, exposed brick walls and long, high tables, the restaurant is trendy, quirky and quintessentially London – no reservation options here, it’s a first-come, first-served deal. Chef Steve Williams revels in small plates that use seasonal ingredients in imaginative ways, reflecting seasonality as well as the UK’s proximity to the continent. The menu changes regularly, with around 12 dishes written on a chalkboard each day. These range roughly between £6 and £10, with larger sharing plates available for around £16.
In a recent review, Time Out London described the menu as “a testament to the skill of the kitchen staff”. While the selection is everchanging, a number of dishes have made regular appearances, such as the smoked Yorkshire ham with a honey sweet glaze and its various terrines.
To accompany the food there’s an extensive list of affordable wines sourced by Hodgson from small-scale producers who, in the restaurant’s own words, “eschew the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in favour of letting the land and the grape speak”.