Thirty Thousand Streets

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Paul's Olive Shop

One of the things I've heard from older Camberwell residents I've fallen into conversation with is that SE5 used to be the province of Cypriots and ex police – a little like a retired version of Cop Land only minus Sly Stallone and I'm sure they weren't corrupt. Well, the police seem to have gone (even the ones who haven't retired), but there is still a Greek presence – even if it is on the wane – mostly in evidence in the handfull or so of Greek run businesses scattered about.

Today I went to Paul's Olive Shop just opposite the Castle on Camberwell Church Street. A funny little shop this, it's sort of a deli, selling mainly Greek produce and run by a friendly Greek lady who vaguely reminds me of a matriachal character from a Miyazake film. It's a half decent greengrocers but what it does really well – perhaps unsurprisingly given the name – are olives. This time I bought some garlic stuffed ones, but there are actually quite a few varieties to be had.. my personal faves being chilli marinated.

What I like about this place I suppose is that it just sells quite a nice selection of little things to eat.. the aforementioned olives, olive bread (very nice), olive oil (seeing a theme here?) and assorted sundry dips such as, you guessed it, hoummous, taramasalata, guacamole and so on. Its fairly narrow remit means that while it probably can't supply everything for your weekely grocery shop, it's great if you just want some bowls of food for a party, or can't be arsed cooking and just want something appealing to suggest itself to you. In addition to my olives I also bought some lovely mozarella, which was so nice I had it with tomatoes for lunch and tea (it was like tearing up and devouring a milky, fluffy cloud).

It all feels pretty healthy too. Indeed, whoever designed the tarpaulin engineered the 'S' on Shop to resemble a snake, and I wonder if this wasn't something to do with the serpent on the Asclepian staff adopted by the medical profession as one of their icons (when they're not, more mistakenly, using the Hermetic symbol the Caduceus.) I could just be talking bollocks there though.

If none of this strikes your fancy then they seem to have branched out with a small section devoted to selling bric-a-brac just to the left of the shop such as old pine furniture, but really, it's pretty dire, and I'd suggest sticking to the olives (they taste nicer, arf arf).

No comments: