Spanish food & drink specialist Brindisa has completed the refurbishment of its Hildreth Street store in Balham, focusing on a tighter selection of products and improving the shop’s potential as an events and tasting space.
First launched six years ago, the deli is one of two owned by the 35 year-old wholesaler, in addition to five tapas restaurants around the capital and a kitchen bar in Borough Market. The Balham store is located next to the ‘Balham Cheese Caves’ where the company stores its cheeses and matures a selection of them.
During a visit to the recently refurbished shop, Brindisa B2C Manager Clare Panjwani told FFD that as part of the rethinking of the shop, founder Monika Linton had whittled the range of products down from 500 to 250. “It’s now a mix of what she calls her hero products – small scale, handmade, artisan – through to things that people know and love.”
Cheese and charcuterie are now displayed in fridges spanning a new 5m-long counter. A smaller selection of pre-packed items are available, but the idea is that customers are more likely to purchase foods they’ve tasted. “These are high-quality, expensive products – you should probably try them before you buy them. It’s not like these are all familiar, most of them come from small artisan production.”
Along with the curated range of dry foods are fresh fruit and vegetables, and what product training manager James Robinson said was a new, wider range of wines, which have been tried and tested across the Brindisa restaurants. “The idea of pairing at home is really interesting people – cheese and charcuterie, sherry and cheese. Our selection has improved no end in the last two years, so we decided to showcase it here.”
The counter also has an extendable end with seating for tastings and events, which could include the ‘ham school’ training sessions already held at the Borough store. “It’s really just about trying to make it more interactive on all levels and getting people to taste stuff,” he said.
The next step could be to trial later opening hours on certain days, and hosting pairing events themed around a wine, charcuterie and cheese of the week. “It’s all about seeing what catches the attention – it’s a totally different crowd to the one we get up in Borough, and I think that’s probably the hardest bit, figuring out the neighbourhood – even after six years.”