On a warm August afternoon, with the market bustling away in the background, there are few better spots than Golborne Road to sit down and watch the world go by. For Alex Loncar, the co-owner and manager of Golborne Deli, it is a scene he knows well.
Having hung out on Golborne Road for years, Alex was familiar with the market and its many characters, calling many of them friends. In fact, it was a conversation with one of these friends that led him to where he is now. “Enzo, the previous owner of Golborne Deli told me he was looking to sell the business,” says Alex. “I thought the deli had real potential and it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.”
Together with his business partner George, Alex bought Golborne Deli 18 months ago and hasn’t looked back. “I’d always worked in the hospitality industry, managing restaurants and clubs, and have a pretty good understanding of what customers are after,” he says. “If the right atmosphere is there, the food is tasty and the prices are reasonable, then people will always come back for more.”
First up was some refurbishment work, keeping the deli’s familiar layout but refreshing the furniture and decorations. Pictures and photos from local artists now adorn the walls, while an assortment of tables and chairs, both old and new, were brought in to give the deli real character. In fact, the furniture changes regularly to keep it fresh. “With so many furniture shops and stalls round here, it’s too tempting to buy a table or some new chairs if they happen to catch my eye,” says Alex.
But central to the success of Golborne Deli is undoubtedly the food. Not only did Alex bring in a brand new menu when he and George bought the deli, but it is constantly evolving to incorporate new ideas, popular dishes and the freshest, tastiest produce. “Our focus is on creating good quality, authentic Italian cuisine and this determines our approach to everything on the menu,” says Alex. “Fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables of course come from the UK, but where at all possible we source our ingredients from Italian suppliers. It gives customers a genuine taste of Italy and we think it makes a real difference.”
There’s also an emphasis on healthier foods such as gluten free bread and granola, alongside soya and rice milk, to cater to increasingly common preferences. “My wife follows a gluten and dairy-free diet, so about six months ago I decided to give it a go too, and was frankly amazed at how tasty the foods were. More and more people are adopting these diets, so we’ve adapted our menu to give people as much choice as possible.”
And what about the art? “Although they are superb pictures and photos in their own right, the fact that they all come from local artists adds something special,” says Alex. “The people that produce these pieces are my friends and customers. If you come here for a coffee it’s quite likely that one of the artists will be here too. And isn’t that what a neighbourhood deli, especially one in a place as friendly as Golborne Road, is all about?” On a day such as this, with the warm sun in the sky and a cool drink in your hand, it’s very hard to disagree. Golborne Deli, 100 Golborne Road, W10. www.golbornedeli.com