Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Grocery Shopping in London

In all our jaunts across town, I rarely hear English being spoken between people, unless it is a business transaction. The guys from whom we bought our phone connections were from India and Sri Lanka. Our Coffee Shop guys all speak fluent Italian (I still follow bits of conversation) and I had a broken Arabic conversation with an Algerian managing a French Pattiserrie. We had a brilliant meal last week at Daquise - a Polish restaurant. Our neighbours in the building are from Japan and Australia. Yes, we seem to have landed in the middle of a much larger melting pot.

For groceries, we have tried Waitrose, Sainsbury, Selfridges (we were in the store browsing) and Marks & Spencer

So far, I think I love the raw ingredients and cold meats from Marks & Spencer the best. Much superior in taste and flavour to Waitrose.

Sainsbury is good for last minute buys and general groceries and cakes, but we didn't like their sandwiches.

Selfridges has a lot of premium products and organic produce, but the readymade food costs as much as eating in at an average restaurant.

Waitrose has very high quality Organic products and their spices are fantastic. (turmeric, jeera, corriander), but I did not like their cold meats at all, especially when compared to Marks & Spencer.

My local grocer is from Egypt and has a meat section which sells things like gizzards. I've asked him to keep an eye out for tongue for me.

Borough Market was brilliant and I can't wait to go back. However, I'm still getting used to the cold and don't like shopping in the open air in the current weather.

My fridge in this house is miniscule compared to my 600Litre fridge, which I had to leave behind in India - no way I would have been able to fit it inside a kitchen in Central London. So I'm learning to buy in smaller quantities (Brajesh who helps in carrying the groceries here, would not agree to this statement :) )

But the range of food and quality of meat is excellent and I'm loving cooking with all these ingredients. Such a massive change after our last posting in Ahmedabad, where I had just 2 places to choose from to buy meat and there was hardly anything new in the vegetable markets to try except the winter specialties. - fresh turmeric, amba haldi etc

Fingers Crossed, that I will be blogging more. Lets see.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Verve Pet Boutique & Cafe

Verve Pet Boutique & Cafe
179 Westbourne Grove
Notting Hill
London W11 2SB
020 7229 1348

An unusual pet shop run by interesting people. There's even a cafe to sip on coffee and enjoy a light snack while you shop.

Verve was a Godsend for us as the only pet shop in the area, open at 7pm, when we arrived after an international flight with our cat and needed to buy her a litter box before she was released and brought home by JCS.

They carry a huge range of products for both dogs and cats and you will often find miniature dogs of the owner and his friends, at the store.

They have a dog sitting facility on the premises and If I'm not mistaken, they offer shampooing services too.

They are slightly on the more expensive side, but they make up for it with the service levels and extended hours etc.