I don’t count myself as one of the people in the city who miss the beauty around them. So I was astonished when I read a write up about the magical Story Deli in the well-known Brick Lane in the creative East End of London. My first thoughts were – ‘magic and light, and all things whimsy in the trendy and buzzing but downright grubby Brick Lane?’.
Then it shamefully dawned on me – I was one of the ones who misses things. Oh sure, I find the unexpected in unexpected places [amongst city workers and busy train stations], but what about the unexpected in the expected [are you following] ????
Story Deli is a real institution in Brick Lane, so much so that I have completely missed its charm. I have been to this Deli so many times, gasping and hungry after photoshoots, tired and harassed during London Design week, and sat outside its steps on warm summer nights with friends, that I took it completely for granted.
Some places in your city are such a part of your fabric that often you forget to look twice.
The cafe is pure vintage, dressed with large chalkboards, antique mirrors, huge old school tables with drawers and cardboard packing case seats.
Back in the day, not long after old rave, when Brick Lane was still an artists’ hang-out, Story Deli was set up to provide wholesome, ethically produced fare for young bohemian families, and cater for photo shoots taking place in the Old Truman Brewery and around Spitalfields. The club kids might have taken the area into the mainstream, but the Deli’s still there feeding its creative clientele with fine pizzas prepared using mineral water and organic ingredients. Combinations include roasted courgette, peas, artichokes, broad beans, air-cured ham and pesto; chorizo with roasted almonds and red pepper; and smoked salmon with roasted fennel and mascarpone.
So maybe Story was always supposed to be ignored but well-loved and serve the kind of purpose that it has to me, a place to take some respite from the frenetic energy outside of its doors.
However, I am sorry Story Deli, now your charms have been brought to my attention, I shall always look twice.