"We're bringing the gastronomic delights of Central London's street markets to suburbia," says Neil Berry, proprietor of Cheam's first gourmet artisan delicatessen and specialist off licence - 'The Pantry'. Opening on 14 October, the petite outlet a
"We're bringing the gastronomic delights of Central London's street markets to suburbia," says Neil Berry, proprietor of Cheam's first gourmet artisan delicatessen and specialist off licence - 'The Pantry'. Opening on 14 October, the petite outlet at 21 Station Way promises the kind of creative hand-picked produce never usually seen this far out of the capital.
"London has undergone a food culture explosion and is now the envy of the world in terms of its street cooking and energetic colourful markets," explains Neil. "Whether you're sampling your way through spicy jerk sauce, hand-dived scallops and hot mulled cider at Borough Market or sharing platters of jamon and Spanish cheese washed down by a Little Bird Gin Bloody Mary under the arches at Maltby Street Market 'Ropewalk', there's a real excitement and vibrancy currently surrounding authentically produced food. The Pantry wishes to emulate this in Cheam."
Definitely not a farm shop, The Pantry aims to be everything to everyone. It stocks the finest award-winning UK cheeses (such as the rich Montgomery Cheddar used at Borough Market's infamous Swiss raclette stall), imported cured hams, sustainably bred Sussex meats from rib eye steaks to sausages, artisan rainbow pasta, gluten-free curry pastes and sauces, Calabrian olive oil, Guatemalan blend coffees, whole leaf teas, London craft beers from East End micro breweries, guest spirits and fine wines and a daily delivery of craft breads - and the list goes on.
Not only supplying interesting locally- or internationally-sourced home grown, reared, distilled, pressed and baked produce, The Pantry also creates an 'experience'. The delicatessen is a place to explore, ask questions, sample new flavours and in general enjoy a personalised service not found in the supermarket aisles. (In fact, as a rule, The Pantry will not stock anything that is easily picked up in the big retail chains). Staff can supply tasting notes and recipes ideas alongside a programme of supplier visits and sampling evenings to share intimate foodie knowledge with local people who love eating and drinking.
The local welcome has been very warm says Neil, "I masterminded the series of Sunday Cheam Village Food Markets in spring 2012, purely for a love of food, but it turned out to be a great source of suppliers and market research for establishing The Pantry. The Markets were an enormous success and people were approaching me in the street for weeks after asking when the next one was. Likewise, we've had people popping their heads round the door in The Pantry saying "brilliant, Cheam needs a deli" and "can I order a dozen hampers for our clients?" - before we had even opened. This enthusiasm is wonderful to hear."
Open from 7am to 4pm Monday to Wednesday, 7am to 7pm Thursday and 8am to 5.30pm on Saturdays, aside from being a conventional 'shop', The Pantry also offers breakfast and lunch take-out services with a mouth-watering selection of filled rolls and sandwiches made from the artisan bread selection and pasta and risotto dishes. And, dare we say, as the festive season approaches, gift ideas and hamper selections will be on prominent display.
To keep up to date with goings-on at The Pantry, from new products to sampling evenings, 'like' their Facebook page thepantrystores, follow them on @thepantrystore on Twitter or visit www.thepantrystore.co.uk.
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