Earth Natural Foods
200 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2AE S 020 7482 2211 www.earthnaturalfoods.co.uk
Open Monday-Saturday 8.30am-7pm
Tube Kentish Town Train Kentish Town West Bus 134, 214, C2
The shop is wheelchair accessible
Earth Natural Foods are a well-established organic grocers offering a wide selection of dry goods, toiletries, household cleaning products and fresh fruit and vegetables. Their sourdough whole wheat and olive ciabatta loaves are very popular, as are their blueberry tarts and mini quiches. At the back of the shop, you can also order hot, tasty lunches from the counter. There’s always a good choice, from tomato soup to lentil and spinach ragu and their rather decadent absinthe and chocolate cake. You could do your entire weekly shop here and not have to endure supermarket queues ever again.
Algerian Coffee Stores
52 Old Compton Street, W1D 4PB S 020 7437 2480 www.algcoffee.co.uk
Open Monday-Wednesday 9am-7pm, Thursday and Friday 9am- 9pm, Saturday 9am-8pm, closed Bank Holidays except for Good Friday
Tube Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus Bus 6, 7, 14, 24, 29, 38, 73, 159, 390
There is a small step at the entrance but help is available to get into the shop
The Algerian Coffee Stores have been here since 1887 when Mr Hassan, the first owner, came from Algiers to set up business as a coffee trader. The company has remained in the family for decades, and with over 120 different coffees and 120 kinds of teas, it would be hard to leave without finding something to please your palate. As well as Argentinan Mate, pink Earl Grey and smoked Assam, the shop has one of the largest selections of flowering tea balls in London.
Opening up like mini gardens in a teapot filled with hot water, these unusual leaf concoctions make discerning presents for tea lovers. If you prefer to wake up to a morning cup of coffee, you can ask for Ethiopian longberry or South American Honduras beans to be freshly ground and wrapped up in a brown paper bag.
La Plaza Deli
288 Portobello Road, W10 5TE a 020 8968 0900
Open Daily 9am-7pm including Easter, closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day
Tube Lad broke Grove, Westbourne Park Bus 28, 52, 70, 295, 452 The shop is not wheelchair accessible due to the steps at the front door
One of two well-stocked Spanish delicatessens on Portobello Road, La Plaza looks like a corner shop filled with the most tempting of Galician delicacies. Cured hams and huge paella pans hang from ceiling hooks, while the shelves are tightly packed with Santiago almond tarts, salted almonds, saffron, paella rice, Rioja, Manzanilla sherry, pimientos, tinned octopus and olive oils. One of the fresh items that can’t be found in many British grocers are small green peppers, a spicy addition to any Mediterranean meal.
Fernandez & Wells
43 Lexington Street, W1F 9AL S 020 7734 1546 www.fernandezandwells.com Open Monday-Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday and Sunday 12-1 Opm Tube Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square Bus 14, 19, 38
There is a small step at the door and the deli is not very spacious but staff are willing to help
Behind the stripped oak counter hang large Iberia hams just waiting to be thinly sliced for a sophisticated Spanish sandwich. As well as cured meats, the cheeses in this stylish delicatessen are quite exceptional. Their organic Parmegiano Reggiano is made by Umberto Avanzini and his family in the foothills of the Parma Apennines with milk from Swiss cows. Every product is very carefully sourced, from the soft, wet balls of water buffalo mozzarella from just south of Naples, to two-day fermented potato honey focaccia made by the Seven Seeded Artisan Bakery. This is also an excellent place to buy wine by the glass or bottle, smoked anchovies, Oloroso sherry, Eccles cakes and hand-made preserves.
Verde & Company
40 Brushfield Street, E1 6AG S 020 7247 1924 www.verdeandco.co.uk Open Daily 9am-6pm Tube Liverpool Street Bus 8, 26, 35, 42, 47, 48, 67, 78, 135, 149, 242, 344, 388
There is a 12cm step at the entrance but staff can bring food to the tables outside
This is a lovely old-fashioned shop with a sophisticated, cool edge. Whether you are buying succulent gifts for friends or just treating yourself to some rose-petal preserve and Chardonnay vinegar, even looking at the tempting packaged food on the shelves is a real pleasure. In one corner, semi-translucent jars of marmalade glow orange when the sun shines, and in winter you can warm yourself by the fire in the hearth. A cross between a cosy living room filled with heirloom furniture (the owner inherited the roll-top desk), and a bijoux cafe, this is the perfect place to drop by for Italian biscuits, glace fruits, almond cakes and Pierre Marcolini chocolates. You can also have lunch here, or pick up a goats cheese and red pepper flan to take away.
Camisa & Son
61 Old Compton Street, W1D 6HS a 020 7437 7610
Open Monday-Saturday 8.30am-6pm
Tube Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road Bus 14, 19, 38 The shop is wheelchair accessible but quite small
I Camisa is a Soho institution – people travel from miles around to pick up their groceries in this wonderful Italian deli. The shelves are densely packed with black squid ink spaghetti, Baci chocolates, dried herbs, Sapori panforte, Toscano farro, bottles of Chianti, catuccini alia mandorla and even franchi seeds to grow your own basil or green beans. Staff will gladly weigh out the freshly made spinach taglierini, grilled courgettes and Tuscan pecorino cheese, and slice off a piece of focaccia to go with your fresh rocket and tomato salad. If it’s too cold for a picnic, you can also pick up some fresh tomato and porcini mushroom sauce, which will go perfectly with potato gnocchi and buffalo mozzarella after a starter of marinated anchovies. One nice touch is the traditional sawdust on the floor – this a much more intimate way to shop than in big supermarket chains.
Osterley Park Farm Shop
Jersey Road, Isleworth TW7 4RB S 020 8560 6580
Open Wednesday-Sunday 8am-5pm, including most Bank Holidays Train Isleworth Bus H28, H91
The outdoor greengrocers is weelchair accessible
After a visit to the magnificent National Trust Neoclassical mansion inside Osterley Park, you might want to do some grocery shopping at this outdoor farm shop, located on the small road leading to the grand house. The fruit and vegetables here are not organic but they are very cheap and most are locally produced, including the eggs. As well as giant marrows, desiree potatoes and bags of tomatoes, you can also pick up large dried sunflower heads, packed full of seeds for garden birds to nibble on throughout the winter months.
Mother’s Ruin East London Gin Palace
Wood Street Market, 98 Wood Street, E17 3HX a 07905 484 711 www. mothersruin. net
Open Thursday 12-5.30pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-5.30pm, closed Bank Holidays
Train Wood Street Bus 230, W16
The covered market is wheelchair accessible
Wood Street Market is a curious mix of small indoor shops selling everything from vintage clothing and records to cupcakes and second-hand books. In the centre of the market, Mother’s Ruin East London Gin Palace has the look of a Victorian living room, complete with stuffed pheasant and ornate blue and silver wallpaper. This may be the only place in London where you can find Seville orange rum, blackcurrant and raspberry vodka made with real berries, and other handmade fruit liqueurs. As well as traditional sloe gin made from foraged wild fruits, you can also pick up a bottle of rhubarb and ginger vodka. These unusual flavours will delight friends who appreciate unusual food gifts and they make great alternatives to the customary bottle of wine taken to dinner parties.
The People’s Supermarket
72-78 Lamb’s Conduit Street, WC1N 3LP ® 020 7430 1827 www.theDeoDlessuDermarket.org
Open Monday-Friday 8am-10pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-9pm Tube Russell Square Bus 17, 25, 46, 242, 341
The shop is wheelchair accessible
This is a exciting concept – a well-stocked, central London supermarket run and supported by local people. Loyal members work here a few hours a week and the People’s Supermarket has the feel of a corner shop but with the range and variety of a medium-sized supermarket. Their range of fruit and vegetables is excellent – with two sorts of peach in summer, and cucumbers that taste better than those in conventional supermarkets. Look out for giant garlic bulb stems and boxes of delicious English apples in autumn. Using seasonal produce throughout the year, a local chef produces scrumptious hot lunches to take away at the back of the shop. This is not just a mecca for staff working at the nearby Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, but for people from all over the area.
92 Commercial Street, E1 6LZ S 020 7377 8909
Open Daily 10am-8pm
Tube Liverpool Street Overground Shoreditch High Street Bus 67 The shop is wheelchair accessible
Although there aren’t any fresh vegetables or fruit in this unpretentious grocers, it’s a good place to stock up on pesticide-free store cupboard items. Spitalfields Organics has the atmosphere of a corner shop but with all the produce found in larger health food stores. If you have just run out of free-range eggs, peppermint tea, jars of roasted aubergines, miso, sunflower seed rye bread, hummus and breakfast oats, you can find them on the shelves here. On hot summer days, this is also a good place to pick up an iced coffee and an organic ice cream to eat in Spitalfields Church gardens nearby.
You can also find washing-up liquid and beauty products in abundance.