Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome to the neighbourhood

My congratulations to The Good Shop in Herne Bay for finally opening its doors last week. Although I previously expressed some doubt as to whether the whole enterprise would work, the new grocer is now up and running, and is so keen to hear customer feedback that he writes every suggestion in a large 'Good Book' on the counter. Whoever told him he needed to stock Quinoa Pasta Elbows was clearly having a joke at his expense, although I fear his current search for a reliable lecithin wholesaler is being conducted to fill a genuine demand from the trendy foodies in the area.

The proprietor is a lovely man, who may be in over his head but is clearly trying to do the right thing and will presumably be well supported from the posh food enthusiasts in the neighbourhood. Aware that ther is a popular and well patronised greengrocer barely 100 metres down the road, he's decided to instead specialise in rare and unusual fruit and veges. So, if you live in Curran Street and you suddenly find yourself one choko short of a Niouk Yen, now you'll know where to go.

Over the next few months I'm sure he'll find out which foodstuffs do and don't work in his particular set up. In my experience even the local fruiterer has difficulty keeping his produce looking fresh, so I don't know what chance the new guy has. And I'm yet to be convinced on daily-supplied sushi which, as one of my food heroes Giles Coren says, needs to be made fresh enough that the filling is cold but the rice slightly warm – never the other way around (and, I would add, never chilled right through either).

But the home made pasta looks good, and I'm sure the artisan bread will be a winner too. And last week at 6pm when I realised I was out of bircher muesli, it was a sweet and wonderful thing to be able to wander up the road and get some from him. The store was about to close, and he told me that “sadly, it's cash only”. I told him I didn't have any cash and he said “we can also do EFTPOS”. Then he gave me a discount to say sorry for the terrible mix up. What a lovely man in quite a lovely shop. I hope he does good.