The pick: B Street Deli, SE1. An intimate, low-ceilinged spot with a long counter heaving with meats and cheeses. A Subway equivalent for people who drink fennel tea.
Jose says: “I would 100% recommend their Stinking Bishop – don’t be fooled by this cheese’s powerful smell, its taste remains unmatched. They also do an incredibly smooth Colston Bassett.”
The pick: Paya Thai Market, TW9. Thai curries don’t need to be hunched-over-your-desk, slopping-gloop-onto-your-slacks lunchtime ordeals. You can do them at home! And it’s tough to butcher one when you use the premium Asian goods here.
Scott says: “Thai sausages – holy sh*t! These are hands down my favourite thing right now. Fragrant with ginger and lime leaf, plus a good kick up the backside from the scud chillies. It’s worth braving the weather and grilling them out on the barbie too. You’ll thank me!”
The pick: Taj Stores, E1. You’re hosting a dinner party. You’ve saved a few Zeitgeisty Conversation Topics in the Notes bit of your phone. “Well I think it’s time *pause, glance down* Theresa May invokes *pause, glance down* Article 50!” But come showtime, a sickening realisation: you’ve forgotten the bloody pandan leaves! A trip here would’ve prevented such disaster.
Cyrus says: “Selling speciality foods from the Subcontinent, they have seldom let me down at times when we cannot get hold of a particular exotic product from anywhere else. For those seeking rare fruit or veg, there is no better place.”
The pick: Brindisa Shop, SE1. Now we’re talking: none of this “rummaging through food sacks on the floor” – here you’ve got clearly labelled shelves of Spanish delicacies, like a sausagey B&Q.
Pascal says: “It has a fantastic selection of cured meats and cheeses, oils, vinegars, sauces, snacks and sweet treats. I particularly enjoy the soft turron, so delicious and the perfect after-dinner treat.”
The pick: Mercato Metropolitano, SE1. A new “vibrant space” parading the best in Italian street food for those who want to leave a street food market without smelling like they’ve just showered in ash.
Francesco says: “I’m crazy about their salsiccia e friarielli pizza and always stop for a glass of wine at Enoteca. Italian cold cuts and cheese accompanied by a fantastic selection of fairly priced wines.”
The pick: It’s La Fromagerie in Marylebone from the best chef of the London Restaurant Awards 2016, completeing our list of wise foodmen recommending their favourite local food shop
Merlin says: “I could easily spend a whole afternoon there. Tasting all the cheeses, drinking wine and chatting to the incredibly knowledgeable staff. I recommend trying one of their alpine cheeses like beaufort d’alpage or their 30-month aged comte.”