A Deli with Heart
I met Daniel from The Southsea Deli a couple of years ago when I attended one of his supper clubs at his home. He was busy in the kitchen so we didn’t get much time to chat but I had the best night! He runs them every month, each time with a different culinary theme. Guests are greeted with a welcome drink but otherwise it’s BYO. Daniel worked in London at the time as a food technician for Jamie Oliver so obviously, the food was amazing. I sat next to one of his colleagues who’d come down from London for the night. She was a freelance producer who’d also worked for Mr Oliver himself, it was really interesting chatting to her. There were all sorts of interesting people there, I didn’t want to go home!
Although I haven’t seen him much, I’ve kept in touch with Daniel over the last couple of years. Sometimes people just stay on your radar don’t they? When we did the photos for the first issue of Southsea Folk I knew I wanted to include Daniel in the project. People like him are exactly what Southsea Folk is all about; local people doing their own thing, following their passion and bringing energy and creativity to our local community. Carrie (our photographer) and I whizzed in and took this picture of Daniel in his kitchen. As it turns out Carrie is going to be Daniel’s wedding photographer when he gets hitched to Michael this summer… and guess where they’d found her? In my wedding magazine. Hurrah! This is a tale of intermingled promotional self-employment love.
Anyway, I was then planning a party for my wedding business last year and Daniel put me in touch with someone local who provided a fantastic fire dancer for the event. Daniel and Michael came along on the night. He’s just that kind of guy; really helpful, supportive and well connected.
ANYWAY (I promise I’ll get to the point soon), it was all change for Daniel at the end of last year when he quit his job, took on the lease of a shop and started working on The Southsea Deli! It’s set to open on 8th February and I popped in to see him this week for a chat. The shop is still something of a work in progress but he explained everything to me in such mouth-watering detail my tummy was rumbling by the time I left. He walked me around showing me the display fridge where beautiful local meats will be served from, the counter where big bowls of wholesome, tasty salads will be placed. Another area where olives and antipasti will be sat in oily glory waiting for customers to help themselves. Lunches will be filled focaccia, frittatas and the like. The coffee will be excellent quality and wait for it, they’re licensed too so how about a beautifully chilled glass of Sauvignon with your lunch? There will also be local foodie produce for sale; think smoked oils, quality pesto, flavoured salts. Racks of fresh in-season vegetables (think asparagus and Jersey royals) will be artfully piled onto a reclaimed shelving unit. Which brings me onto the furniture. There is just one big table in the window that seats 8. Daniel made the table himself and it’s fantastic (he also made the shop counter, are there no end to this man’s talents?) The dresser and display cabinet has a real French antique feel to them and the crockery is simple, rustic and sophisticated. Although the deli will be mainly takeaway, customers who have time are welcome to have their lunch in, browse the paper and chat to others. The vision for the deli is that it will become something of a hub; a really relaxed beautiful environment to buy amazing food and meet friends.
The supper clubs will be run from the deli rather than Daniel’s home from now on with the first one taking place on 10th February (it sold out within 3 hours which shows how popular they are). It will still have a very intimate feel with the blinds down, 12-14 people sat around one long table, drippy candles, you get the picture. There are also plans to put on foodie workshops, for example pasta making. Perhaps you have a birthday to celebrate? Grab 5 or 6 friends, head to the deli in the evening, learn how to make fresh pasta under Daniel’s expert guidance, have a glass of wine around the sociable table and eat your delicious pasta. I know what I’m doing for my next birthday.
My very last piece of exciting news is to tell you we’re hosting a singles supper club in the deli on Saturday 24th February! It’s not something Daniel’s done before but the format of the supper clubs really lends itself to this idea. 6 men, 6 women, a bit of place swapping between courses and hey presto, matches are made. It’s £35 for a three-course meal including welcome drink and attendees are encouraged to bring a bottle. It’s available to book now via Eventbrite. Spaces are expected to sell fast but hopefully it will become a regular event. At least until I meet a husband anyway…
By Helen Ruff
Featured Image by Carrie Lavers