by Kerry Law
Tucked away in Highams Park, East London, is a little taste oasis. Deli and café Pantry & Co may be small but its vision is broad with a veritable wealth of goodies, from local producers to continental artisans.
Although it only opened in early 2016, it has already established itself as a foodie destination in an area crying out for an alternative to the imposing Tesco a street away. Stepping inside Pantry & Co is like walking into a neighbour’s homely kitchen (albeit a serious foodie neighbour)—owner Pei-Chin and her staff always offer a warm, family-friendly welcome. So pull up a chair at the sharing table, grab a freshly brewed Workshop Coffee espresso or flat white, and scan the shelves for all the goodies you can take home with you.
As well as regular lines, Pantry & Co is always adding new treats so it’s always worth checking in to see what’s new. A fresh bakery section is stocked daily with delicious bread from Karaway, and homemade cakes and pastries from the local E5 Bakehouse (give in to temptation if any vanilla cream doughnuts are still available!). Savoury snacks, including pork pies and sausage rolls from the likes of Ginger Pig and Brays, are also worth a taste. There is a fantastic cheese selection from Mons Cheese and Neal’s Yard—perfect to go with the charcuterie and other meats on offer.
There are lots of local and continental store-cupboard delights filling the shelves—from pastas and preserves to pickles (try some pickled watermelon if it’s in stock), as well as biscuits and artisan chocolate, which make good gifts. And if you accidentally leave the house without an emergency bag of cheese puffs, the small Ella’s Kitchen section means that little ones are taken care of.
It’s not just about stopping for a coffee and cake—Pantry & Co are fully licensed, so you can also enjoy a craft beer (from local breweries Wild Card and Brick Brewery) or wine by the glass from their excellent selection featuring several small-batch producers. A menu of small dishes, including tapas, is the perfect lunchtime or after-work treat.
Dates for your diary include the first weekend of the month when oysters from Wright Brothers hit the shelves—as well as taking home, you can enjoy three oysters with a glass of prosecco for just £10 (we don’t need to be told twice!). Pantry & Co also run regular Wine Club evenings that are a bargain set price for wines and a tapas-style menu in the evening. Keep your eyes on their Facebook page for dates and booking at any of their events.
Pantry & Co’s hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 7pm, Friday and Saturday 8am to 8pm, and Sunday 8am to 4pm (although check Facebook for any changes). You’ll find them on 7 Winchester Road, Highams Park, London E4 9LH; ring them on 07963 481564 or visit their website: www.pantryand.co.uk.