City centre's new deli puts a firm focus on local
- Credit: Becky Alexander
Just in time to go in and pick up your foodie Christmas gifts, a new deli has opened on Verulam Road. Located next door to The Ivy and opposite The Pudding Stop, this stylish new deli is in a great location in central St Albans, and has already attracted a lot of interest.
I popped in to have coffee with co-founder Hannah Petrouis, who explained that she and partner Alex Addison, who comes from St Albans, opened The Deli on Verulam at the end of November.
They are also renovating the old Loch Fyne building behind, with plans to open that site in March as a restaurant, bar, screening room and members workspace. On top of all that creativity and entrepreneurial energy, the couple had their first baby just two months ago!
But first, the Deli. I love the look of the place – it’s bright, fresh and welcoming, with goods arranged with love and care, along with little cards telling you about the producer.
Supporting local businesses is very much the focus. You will see a good range of Brown’s breads in the window, as well as gluten-free loaves (we bought a charcoal gluten-free loaf to take home). The central counter is stacked with pastries, cakes and biscuits, and Hannah explained that most are baked by Wild Alban, aka Katie.
On the day I went in they had torta di mele (apple), hazelnut brownies, gluten-free ricotta and pear torta, and olive muffins. Katie also prepares the salads that are beautifully arranged in large bowls by the window, such as nicoise and tabbouleh salad, and also makes the fresh soups that are proving popular on these winter days.
Shelves are filled with Hertfordshire products, including Puddingstone gin and Dizzy Bee granola, Mrs Middleton’s oils, Handmade in Harpenden candles, Hibiscus Lily chutneys, and more. There are also jars of sweets, bars of chocolate, teas, coffees and crackers – if you want to fill a hamper, just talk to the team or order online on www.thedelionverulam.com.
Head to the main counter for filled bagels, coffee, hot chocolate and other hot drinks. I was pleased to see good veggie options on the menu including hummus and cashew and blueberry – my tempeh and sundried tomato bagel was lovely. They also do a salmon and a meaty bagel option. Alex is a trained nutritionist, so brings that knowledge to the food choices in the shop.
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There is also a fridge with yoghurt pots, porridge pots and sandwiches to take out, and a mini wine and beer fridge that focuses on Chapel Down British fizz and rose, Big Drop low alcohol beers and London-produced beers. There are a few tables outside, tucked back from the road, but no indoor seating at present – that will come when the Hub opens in March.
Cheese is supplied by Neal’s Yard, and they have a small selection of some of our British favourites, including Colston Basset Stilton, Baron Bigod, Berkswell and Appleby’s Cheshire.
I like that Hannah and Alex have made a few nods to our environmental challenges – they compost on site, and they are on the Too Good to Go app, which means if they have any leftover sandwiches and bakes you can pick up a ‘magic’ bag at the end of the day for a reduced price.
The plans for the Loch Fyne building sound amazing and ambitious! It’s a large and light-filled space, that I am very glad is getting a new lease of life. Hannah explained that it will be all-day casual dining, and they hope to have lots of events and screenings there, to bring the community in.
They are pre-selling memberships for work spaces now, so do go in to chat if this is interesting to you. This sort of work/play/eat/meet space is exactly what we need in the city centre to keep it vibrant and ever-changing. I look forward to checking it out.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8am-7pm, Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 9am-4pm.