After establishing a grocery/deli in Primrose Hill in 2004, owners Nick Selby and Ian James recently opened a sister shop in Hampstead. Clare Hill took a peek…
According to Nick, the idea behind Melrose and Morgan is “to recreate the feel of a farmers’ market seven days a week.” Albeit a small and stylish one – with artfully mismatched Victorian tiles and shelves, and doors hewn from recycled cheeseboards and vintage school desks.
Like the original store in Gloucester Avenue, NW1, the new shop, just across from Hampstead tube, sells a range of larder ingredients such as oils, vinegars and preserves, as well as bread, milk, packaged meat, eggs, cheeses and seasonal fruit to buy loose. The other side of their offering is pre-prepared food, for eating now or dinner later: think doorstep egg and cress sandwiches, cottage pie, hearty soups and chicken curry. A central table heaves with freshly baked cakes, tarts, pastries and biscuits – all prepared onsite or in Melrose and Morgan’s production kitchen in Chalk Farm. Deliveries are made with the company’s electric van.
A commitment to quality and sustainable and local food is reflected in the standard of produce. All the meat is free-range and organic, the same goes for eggs and milk. And at Melrose and Morgan, there really is no cod – their fish pie contains pollack and organic farmed salmon instead of the over-fished national favourite. Familiar names like Neal’s Yard Cheeses, Monmouth Coffee and Chegworth Valley (apples and juices) are also stocked. Regent’s Park honey is proudly on sale too – a case of measuring ‘food yards’ not ‘food miles’.
Nick says that the opening of the original store received quite a lot of press, as one of a number of establishments blazing a trail for British, local, seasonal food six years ago. “We were so committed to ‘Britishness’ we refused to sell croissants, and made our own Chelsea buns instead.” But Melrose and Morgan also prides itself on listening to its customers, and he concedes that a balance always needs to be struck: “Chicken, leek and prune stew eventually gave way to coq au vin, and we do now sell croissants and things like chorizo. We couldn’t be all about boiled beef and carrots.”
Oriel Hall, Oriel Place NW3 1QN
Meat N16 (34)
Wine Pantry (33)
Ms Cupcake (32)
El’s Kitchen (31)