Philip Cundall is a man who is very proud of his heritage – at least when it comes to traditional British food.
He likes it so much that when he got the chance to run A Gold, a charming little delicatessen in Spitalfields, full of old-fashioned British delicacies, he did not need to think twice.
Standing in front of the shop at 42 Brushfield Street gives one a feeling of nostalgia. A provisions store in the Victorian mould, it is full of old-fashioned sweeties, cakes, pickles and soda.
Through the small windows you can see an array of delicious offerings, and a handwritten sign inviting you in.
The façade looks as if it hasn’t changed in a hundred years, and its traditional style gives the atmosphere Mr Cundall wants. His motto is to be ‘a village shop in the City’ – a piece of old England in the heart of London.
“At my shop, people can buy exceptional traditional food of Britain – food you usually don’t find in supermarkets,” he says. “Our food is from local farmers and small suppliers around this island.”
Despite his firmly nostalgic outlook, Mr Cundall has made some concessions to changing tastes. “Our store has changed a little, as people are more interested in takeaway now than they were before,” he notes. So they now offer different sandwiches to take away every day of the week.
The sandwiches are freshly made every day, from their own oven. “People love them: we have a lot of regular customers coming here in their lunch break,” he says.
At weekends there are a lot of tourists visiting the area, and many of them simply cannot resist dropping by this charming store. “I like it when tourists visit. They are usually very interested in our products, and ask a lot of questions. And that is something I like the most about this job, the direct contact with customers.”
“This place originally opened in 2000, but I took it over a few years ago,” Mr Cundall says. “I really hope that there will continue to be a market for traditional British food in the future, so I can run the shop many years from now.”
“I’m really proud of this shop. We get a lot of good responses about our food, and the shop in general – people like our one-of-a-kind store,” he explains with a smile.
A Gold, 42 Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, E1 6AG. Phone: 020 7247 2487