I’m never too far from home these days, but a few weeks ago leaving Liverpool Street Station, I noticed that on the ground floor of Broadgate, a sign - Eataly. I had heard it was coming to London but I hadn’t realised it would be here, in an area not too far from home and where I hang out very often for Spitalfields Market and the Brick Lane areas. The shop has now opened and is described:
The flavours of Italy spread across 2 floors with 3 restaurants and bars,
6 eateries and over 5,000 Italian products to buy’. 42,000 square feet (plus an outdoor terrace). And that’s how it is.
I’ve been to four Eataly locations - three in Turin, one in Bologna. The large Torino Lingotto (the very first Eataly) location is a great grocery store with eating counters, somewhere you could visit often in fact and even use as a regular grocery store. The London store isn’t that. It’s a showcase of Italian delicacies, with proper London prices. I’d thought I’d at least come home with a loaf of bread but the £7 price tag didn’t sound worthwhile, not when there are artisan bakeries where I live doing just as well for less money.
I can’t remember everything over the huge area, but I do know that I went in to a giant dessert counter and leading off this was the much-acclaimed Via Del Dolce - a sort of Bollywood-looking corridor leading to several takeaway counters - the inevitable pasta, pizza, and wine bar. An escalator takes you up one floor for the butcher, fishmonger, and cheese counters and a mozzarella station. There are freezers and coolers full of high end dairy, salumi, and other fresh foods. There’s a vegetable and fruit section that’s a bit of a mess, and there are shelves of sweets, jars and tins in an area that leads to a large wine shop. Up here there’s also a dining area, not yet open while semi-lockdown continues.
I had told myself that I would go there after it opened and that I would ignore the price tags and buy some stuff. In reality, I came home empty-handed. I’ll go back more prepared. Will I buy anything? I really don’t know, but it’s very pretty.