The last few years have seen Britain’s supermarket chains expand across London, opening innumerable smaller stores in areas previously served by small local shops of the Costcutter-franchised variety.
As they’ve done so, a few independent-minded souls have attempted to offer a little modest competition to such pre-packaged, striplit predictability, and the latest such enterprise to open in north London is the De Beauvoir Deli.
The shelves and fridges of this handsome room are lined with goodies: chutneys, jams and preserves from Tracklements and the couldn’t-be-more-local De Beauvoir Kitchen; stews, soups and upscale ready meals from Daylesford Organic, Ginger’s Kitchen in Fulham and Cook in Tonbridge; and gin from Hammersmith’s Sipsmith.
A central table contains fresh breads, cakes and other baked savourites (including some eyecatchingly gigantic scotch eggs, delivered from the nearby Scolt Head pub); by the door, you’ll find fresh vegetables and, usually, flowers from Rebel Rebel.
At this end of the shop, you’ll also find chairs and tables, at which eat-in customers tuck into coffees, sandwiches and cakes. And at the other end is a food counter, containing fresh meats and cheeses. It’s not cheap, of course. But then again, praise be, it’s also not Tesco Express.