We’re sitting under a railway arch in Bermondsey on a chilly Friday evening, sipping our way through a wonderful bottle of red. Trains trundle overhead sporadically & I think to myself…this really is a different sort of wine bar – and I like it.
40 Maltby Street is home to the warehouse of Gergovie Wines – a company which specialises in a range of natural wines from France, Italy & Slovenia produced by a handful of wine-makers. What’s unique, is that their chosen wines are all biological i.e. without any chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
You might say this wine bar is a bit of a secret. Tucked away off the beaten track with a website which doesn’t give much away, this is a nice reflection of the overall vibe of the bar – one of understated charm.
Tip: Arrive early if you want a seat/table. Since they don’t take bookings, the space fills up super quickly. With this in mind, we arrived eagerly at 5.30pm and secured 2 stools at the long communal table facing the bar (from which we had the best views of the kitchen action). By the time we left, thirsty wine-lovers were perching anywhere they could grab an inch.
A food menu is neatly scrawled on a blackboard behind the bar (& this changes throughout the week), with 40 Maltby’s little kitchen producing simple British & French dishes of a country kind of style. There’s nothing groundbreaking about the food here, but it’s good quality cooking for sure. You’ll find a combination of snacks, small plates and some larger plates.
Food & drink is ordered directly at the bar – an unusual set up for a London wine bar. We kicked off with a glass of bubbles from Southern France in aid of the weekend’s arrival.
We moved onto a great Northern Italian red. N.B. The wine menu is pretty wide ranging & we hadn’t heard of many of the wines on offer, but staff were on hand to help advise.
Snacks came in the form of these delightful little cheddar puffs. We just adored them! Warm, light as air & melt-in-the-mouth. Happy days.
Now the following isn’t a dish i’d normally go for, but our waitress sold it as one of the most popular dishes, so I went with it. The glistening pig’s head broth had such an incredible depth of flavour and i loved it. The cabbage rolls, on the other hand, were less appealing (texture-wise) for my palate.
Just a couple of downsides to note:
1) It was a tad nippy in there.
2) Service was a little off initially – with no welcome as we entered, and a guy behind the bar who seemed a tad stroppy – however, the waitress who appeared soon after was perfectly lovely & helpful.
Dips Bites & Sips: 40 Maltby Street is a charming little unfussy wine bar & bistro. The wine makes this place special, but not only that, the food is pretty nice too. If you’re looking for something low key, it’s a great spot in town for a leisurely evening. I loved our Friday evening catch up there – we had delicious wine, good food & got to explore a different part of town. 40 Maltby Street is regarded as one of those secrets that locals like to keep hush hush about – oh well, the cat’s out the bag now.
40 Maltby Street, SE1
Wednesday 5.30pm – 10pm; Thursday 5.30pm – 10pm; Friday 12.30pm – 2pm & 5.30pm – 10pm; Saturday 11am – 10pm; CLOSED: Sunday, Monday & Tuesday.
Food is served from 6pm to 9.30pm in the evenings & from 11am to 3.30pm during Saturday lunch-time.