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.
40 Maltby Street excels 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, but expect some sort of terrine and seasonal vegetable salad alongside heartier meat dishes to feature. For the best experience, come in a small group and order everything.
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’.