Take the tube to Vauxhall, walk down Harleyford road towards Oval, and slip through the little gate next to the bus stop to find out what culinary gem is hidden behind the secret garden I can’t stop visiting, because it’s probably the most magical place I’ve ever seen. You don’t want to make the trip to Vauxhall? I don’t blame you. Vauxhall isn’t exactly famous for its buzzing restaurant scene…it IS famous for a lot of other scenes though; yet none of them decent enough to be discussed on my blog…at least not at this time of day.
While the secret garden is a total gem in itself, but not half as secret as I wish it was, the real magic happens just a couple of feet behind the garden in the kitchens of the tiniest Italian deli on 13 Bonnington Square, a small residential triangle safely tucked away from the busy main road. From the outside (and inside), Italo Deli looks like a quaint little grocer from a long lost era.
Inside, there is so much to discover, you won’t know where to look at first. The fresh vegetables and fruits sourced from Covent Garden Market (word has it some of the fruit and veg even come from the neighbours’ gardens)? The authentic Italian dry produce? Or the counter filled to the brim with ham, salami, cheese and bread?
The menu, which is expertly scribbled down on a blackboard behind the counter, is always different, and published daily on their Twitter page. Want a sandwich? No problem…unless you’re a very indecisive person, because there is no list of sandwiches to choose from. Everything you see in the shop can be used to make your sandwich…or whatever else you may feel like.
Rita and I went on a Saturday morning for brunch. We both chose the hot breakfast (There was no problem in turning mine into a veggie version), and shared a croissant with goat cheese – a little unconventional but incredibly delicious. We sat outside on the red chairs and enjoyed the quiet, the people (everyone seemed to know each other) and the sun. It was so serene and peaceful. I wish I could spend all my days sitting in front of Italo Deli and sipping a latte in the sun.
(Photos by me and Rita)