There are slim pickings during the British seasonal ‘hungry gap’. Yorkshire rhubarb, some ridiculously early spuds (eschew those early Jerseys, for the love of your tastebuds!) and cabbages, cabbages, cabbages. But Spanish blood oranges, Italian artichokes and properly tasty Majorcan potatoes are peaking. This is the one time of year when we have no qualms about capitalising on the bounty of warmer climes.
Just for fun – and because Ben wot works for them is a local lad (they also happen to be WAY up there in the world’s top coffee people) – we’ve introduced Ozone coffee as a ‘guest’ blend. In our grinder at the moment: Ozone’s Hodson; a fruity, chocolaty mix of Ethiopian, Sumatran and Guatemalan beans. It’s too good to miss out on. No, really it is. Ozone’s UK headquarters are just off Old Street in funky-old Shoreditch. Well worth a visit if you’re in east London. Otherwise, just make do with us.
We’ve taken a bit of time to dig out some really spectacular beers: Beavertown’s Gamma Ray and Neck Oil are both back in. Kernel, Brew by Numbers and Moor are on our shelves for a limited run. Locally, we’ve taken on some cracking beers from the Shropshire Brewer and we’re eagerly anticipating the arrival of canned ales from our friends at Hobsons.
As Mont d’Or’s demise sirens the end of winter, the British ewe’s milk cheeses herald the start of spring. Berkswell – made not so far from here by the Fletcher family at Ram Hall Farm – is back in our cheese fridge, packing floral flavours with a remarkably creamy and smooth finish. Spenwood and Wigmore (confusingly made by Ann and Andy Wigmore in Berkshire, not actually from Wigmore, Herefordshire) are both back.
At this time of year we have a homemade soup available to takeaway every day for lunch. Sometimes veggie, sometimes meaty, always made with the same ingredients and care that we’d use in our own homes.
Our private dining room really does exist. Look! Here’s a menu. Contact us for more information.
Apologies for the delay in keeping this page up-to-date. Regular attention to our website (and a revamp of the whole thing) is one of our many resolutions for early 2016.
January and February are quiet months in Ludlow, so whilst trade may not be brisk it affords us a little time to regroup, explore, snoop around other peoples’ shops, and have a good old sort out!
In the shop, we’re always on the lookout for exciting, tasty and sexy new products and suppliers. It’s an evolutionary kind of thing. If you’re a supplier or producer who thinks that you have what we don’t have, please get in touch. Now is your time!
It may be a bit damp and dreary out there, so seek solace here. We’re told that we serve the best coffee in the Midlands (we’re far too modest to concur), our famous Portuguese custard tarts are baked fresh every morning, and at this time of year we’re serving hot homemade soup pretty much every day. Central heating for the soul, sort of. Quiches, salads, terrines and pates are also made here, every day, from scratch.
Our private dining room is also available. It’s a very casual, set-price, set-menu affair. Lunches on Thursdays and Fridays, supper on Friday. Booking (two weeks in advance) is essential. More details to follow.
Earlier this week the town Christmas tree went up in Castle Square so we figure it’s not too early now to jump on the festive band wagon. Being the bunch of traditionalists we are, the carols and decs won’t be coming out until 1st December but until then we’ve got plenty of bits and bobs to wet your Yuletide whistles!
Such is the nature of the retail game that we started putting our Christmas orders in way back in June, and now the time has come that every day box upon box of goodies crosses Harp Lane’s threshold. We’re pretty chuffed with this year’s Christmas range, and we hope you will be too.
Amongst our favourites are: local handmade Christmas cakes from Archie and Milly Hunter (suppliers to Fortnums we’ll have you know!); Macneil’s smoked salmon from Tony and Bee in Worcester; outstanding chocolates from Pump Street Bakery in Suffolk. The list goes on, so please pop in and take a look for yourselves.
Thanks to everyone who voted for us in the 2015 OFM Awards. We were delighted to pick up a copy of the paper this morning to find that we’re runners up in the Best Independent Retailer category for the Midlands.
It’s quite humbling for us after just over a year’s trading, and a great testament to our hard working team, and our loyal customers.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
This unfortunately is an uncharacteristically serious post. An unusually high number of our fellow townsfolk have been victims of burglaries over the last couple of months, so we feel it’s important to highlight the issue as publicly as we are able. As many of you know, Ludlow is generally a pretty lovely place to be! The following is a letter sent from Henry to our local MP, Philip Dunne:
24 September 2015
On Monday (21/9/15) our shop, Harp Lane Deli in Ludlow, was burgled in the small hours of the morning.
The thieves forced their way into the building through a ground floor window, before smashing open a locked office door. They broke into a locked safe and filing cabinet, and took some petty cash.
On the same night two other businesses in Ludlow were broken into, one of them for the second time in six weeks.
Throughout the day we received visits from a PC, a community support officer and scenes of crime officer. They were all undeniably helpful, charming and professional, but they were also harassed and exasperated.
If this incident had been an unfortunate one-off, I should certainly not have bothered writing to you. But, as you are well aware, it was not. Indeed since late spring / early summer this year burglaries – whether to homes, businesses, outhouses, cars and garages – have become endemic in Ludlow and the surrounding area.
It has become a very serious problem that continues with increasing and alarming regularity.
I don’t blame you, or the police, but I cannot very well write to the perpetrators of these crimes and ask them to kindly find something else to do. We all know that Ludlow and its environs are simply not being adequately policed. There is very little to deter thieves from going about their business uninterrupted, so about their business they merrily go.
I’ve been told by the police themselves that they are confident that a majority of these recent burglaries have been carried out by the same people. There are CCTV images, and apparently even a few names floating about. However, reading between the lines, I get the impression that unless someone is caught red-handed, they are likely to continue to get away with it.
I understand that cuts have to be made in order to redress our national financial mess, really I do. But at the expense of even semi-adequate policing? At the expense of your constituents’ safety and security? At the expense of South Shropshire residents and business owners feeling genuinely scared (as I do) that it may happen to them again, or for the first time? What price? And what will it take before something is done about it? A burglar being interrupted in their ‘work’ and lashing out? I sincerely hope not.
Ludlow is not a small village; it’s a town of well over 10,000 people with a large and modern police station which is often unmanned. This is a town that now, more than ever (as recent events have proved) needs frontline policing around the clock.
Co-owner / manager
Harp Lane Deli
The Private Dining Room at Harp Lane Deli
Sample Supper Menu: Autumn 2015
Grilled endive, Roquefort and fig
Lamb rump, chard and anchovy
Rice pudding and damsons
Three courses including coffee: £30
We operate more like a supper club than restaurant, so a bit like a dinner party but without the cooking or washing up!
Our dining room is available for 6, 7 or 8 people only (with eight people, it’s cosy so pick your party wisely!).
We offer a set ‘menu du jour’, using the best produce available at the time. We will advise guests of the menu at least two days prior to your booking.
We are very happy to cater for vegetarians, but unfortunately we cannot offer a vegan menu or dishes for those with serious food intolerances / allergies.
Unlike a commercial restaurant, we buy ingredients and prepare meals for the number of guests that have booked. Please give at least 48 hours’ notice if you have to cancel. You can always ask your friends to take your place and we will try to fill the table if at all possible! But, if there really is no alternative, we require that the cost of the supper is paid in full. We therefore require a deposit equal to the value of two meals at the time of booking. Should a cancellation be made within 48 hours of your booking, this deposit will be non-refundable.
Guests are very welcome to bring their own wine (corkage of £5 per bottle). Alternatively we stock a small, but carefully selected range of wines which are available at shop prices.
Available slots (all 7.30 for 8.00):
Thurs 8th October
Thurs 22nd October
Thurs 5th November
Thurs 19th November
Thurs 3rd December
This lovely little promotional film was produced by the very talented people at Wild Edric Media, right here in Ludlow. Thanks to Carl and the rest of his team for making our little shop look so good!
Voting for this year’s OFM Awards has begun! It feels somewhat opportunistic to mention it on here, but a deli’s got to do what a deli’s got to do…and unlike many, the Observer’s Food awards really mean something.
If you think that we are worthy of recognition please take a minute or two to visit: http://www.theguardian.com/observer-food-monthly-awards/ng-interactive/2015/apr/09/observer-food-monthly-awards-2015-voting-form and go to the ‘Best Independent Retailer’ category.
Voting closes 30th June. Thanks so much to those of you who vote!
It’s been a while since we updated our blog page (Henry’s fault), but we’ve made it at last. Spring has sprung in Ludlow, and our proverbial peckers are well and truly up. We bade farewell to Abby in January and welcomed Lucinda onto the Harp Lane team. A great addition to our little family, Lu can be found behind the counter a few days a week, and is rapidly getting a firm grip on deli-life.
Although the days are lengthening we still find ourselves in the ‘hungry gap’ local produce wise, however wild garlic and early Jersey Royals have been making their way into the kitchen, and the local asparagus is just starting to arrive.
We have hosted our first evening event in the shop – a sell-out cheese and wine evening attended by twenty happy punters and chaired by Henry and Chris Rogers from Enotria Wines – a great success and more to come soon. We’ve hosted a couple of suppers in the dining room, and have two pop-up nights in April courtesy of the Marches Supper Society. Contact us if you’d like to get a group together for an exclusive knees-up!
We’ve got several new products in the deli, including salted caramel brownies from our Portuguese custard tart wizards at Galeta, who have also given us exclusivity on our Pasteis de Nata (rest assured, ours are the best this side of Lisbon!). From Wednesday through to Saturday we are now stocking Robert Swift’s fabulous sourdough bread. By far the best in Shropshire, but get in early as we invariably sell out by lunchtime! Hope to see you at Harp Lane Deli very soon.
January is normally a pretty bleak old month in the world of retail, but fortunately for us Ludlow is a sturdy little town populated by folk who like to eat well and shop local regardless of the time of year, and for that we are extremely grateful. Things may be a little quieter than usual at Harp Lane, but this has given us time to take take stock, re-stock, and hatch a few plans for the months ahead. We’re getting some great new products in over the next few weeks, and our first big delivery of 2015 was a pallet of craft beers. Highlights include a pale ale from Camden Town Brewery and Beavertown Brewery’s floral and citrussy Gamma Ray. Coming up next: some cracking new lines from the lovely people at http://www.makers-and-merchants.com/ including a few chocolatey treats for Valentine’s day.
Henry (l) and Joe (r) contentedly take delivery of our new range of craft beer
Cheese-wise, Vacherin season is finishing soon, and we’ve reduced the last of our stock to an astonishing £18.99 / kg. According to Henry (he’s eaten and sold a lot of ‘Vache’ over the years) it’s never been better. We’ve been sourcing from the affineur, Rivoire Jaquemin this season who has delivered a consistently stunning Mont d’Or over the last three months. Come and get it now, it’s the last until autumn! Stilton (from Colston Bassett) has peaked – unusually – post-Christmas. Full of farmyardy flavours and spicy blue depth, it’s unbeatable at the moment. We’re now solidly confident that we make the best coffee in Shropshire, and one of very few shops to offer both a signature, seasonal and decaf option. Our signature blend is medium roasted with sweet caramel flavours. Our seasonal offering at the moment is an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe blend loaded with lemony and dried fruit notes. It’s the brightest espresso you’ll ever taste, and works wonderfully in one of our flat whites.
In the kitchen local produce is becoming scarce as we reach the winter ‘hungry gap’, so we’re making the most of sweet Sicilian blood oranges and Italian bulb fennel which make their way into salads on the deli from time to time.However, some British veg abounds and a daily lunchtime favourite at the moment is ribollita soup bolstered with some lovely local cavalo nero, meated-up from time to time with Italian-style sausages from Andrew Francis the butcher. Our dining room is ready and waiting for parties of six to eight people. Menus will be posted soon, but in the meantime give us a ring.
Normally we wouldn’t involve ourselves in political / planning matters, but Ludlow is threatened by an out-of-town supermarket which we believe will sap the life from our unique town. You can register online and object at the Shropshire Council website.
And finally. to take the edge off the lean months, throughout February and March we’re doing a special offer on Mondays and Tuesdays: coffee and a Portuguese custard tart for just £3.00!
Well, that’s our first Christmas at Harp Lane Deli done and dusted, and what a cracker it was! Thank you to all our staff and customers who helped make it a truly festive season. Now that 2015 is upon us things have calmed down considerably giving us time to focus on some work behind the scenes, including keeping this blog up to date!
We have just passed our first six months of trading and the aim over the next six months is to improve on what we have already got. We will keep you updated on new stock, new recipes and general tit-bits of information that you may (or may not) find interesting. Please note, that before we fully immerse ourselves into the new year we will be closing for a week from 11th – 18th January for a bit of a breather!
Welcome to Harp Lane Deli, and to our new website! Although we opened at the beginning of July, the webbie stuff went somewhat on the back-burner, but finally here we are. It’s been a bonkers few months, but we’re now finding our feet, and feel fully settled at 4 Church Street. After a smoking hot summer; the Ludlow Food Festival in September; our launch party in October – winter has grabbed us with her frosty fingers, and we’re now but days away from Christmas. How time flies! Thank you to all our customers thus far, regulars and visitors alike. If this is your first visit to Harp Lane Deli, we look forward to seeing you, for real, very soon.