The Grocer on Elgin is one of those food stores that is a feast for the eyes. The window is lined with enough cakes and tarts to make a modern day Marie Antoinette proud and when you venture inside the shelves are stocked with posh ready meals along the lines of lemon and thyme risotto or duck leg confit. Not being a ready meal type of girl myself I have long been a fan of the Grocer on Elgin for their breads, tarts and takeaway sandwiches (I recommend the chicken with mayonnaise and rocket a truly inspired combination). The owners Ashley Sumner and Vivenne Hayward must have an Australian background as the Grocer also offers a few hard to get Australian treats on its shelves such as Mint Slice biscuits, Milo, BBQ shapes and even Violet Crumbles. It is easy to see why the Grocer on Elgin managed to win Time Out’s Best Traiteur award in 2007.
For all my love of the takeaway options from The Grocer on Elgin I had never ventured to the cafe downstairs so I decided this had to be rectified and took myself there for lunch on the weekend. The cafe is a bit disappointing compared to the glamour of the upstairs shop, it is literally an underground bunker and even the light wooden walls do not lift the slightly gloomy feeling. The wait staff were pretty harried on my visit and despite the fact that the cafe is small in size it was hard to get their attention and when you did they managed to do things like forget to give you cutlery or to bring your bill.
The menu is fairly limited and my first choice of quiche was not available so I opted for the toasted ham and cheese sandwich and one of The Grocer on Elgin’s homemade lemonades. I can’t really fault the sandwich, I think it had been pan fried to make the bread all golden and crunchy, but let’s face it, it was a ham and cheese sandwich and it cost me £6.50 so it had better be good (pictured below).
The truth is that you are spoilt for choice of cafes in Notting Hill and so I have to say that there is no reason that I will ever venture downstairs at the Grocer on Elgin again. In the future I will stick to the ground level and my beloved chicken sandwiches and Mint Slice biscuits.
Details: 6 Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill, W11 2HX (Ph 020 7221 3844)
8/10 for the grocery part but 4/10 for the cafe