It's hard not to admire the confidence of someone opening a new deli and cafe on Deptford High Street at the height of a recession. With lots of new apartments springing up in Creekside and elsewhere, as well as many more to come, it may be canny business sense but I'm still not entirely convinced that Deptford has the market to support such a venture. All the same, I wish Deli X the best of luck with their new venture.
The two women running the new business have had the premises altered to remove the partition between the front and back of the former Bear Cafe, and extend the counter to make the shop area larger. This means it's much less cramped in the front part (and consequently less daunting to enter) and a whole lot lighter in the cafe area at the back.
The front area is a shop-cum-cafe counter; there are shelves and fridges full of posh pasta, continental groceries, organic butter and Neal's Yard cheeses, as well as a selection of fruit, vegetables and herbs for sale. The type of goods - and the accompanying prices, it has to be said - are strongly reminiscent of the Deptford Deli (RIP).
The cafe area is furnished with a rather random selection of sofas, chairs, enormous, huge wooden desks which look rather like office surplus, and coffee tables. In the back yard there are folding chairs and tables if you are lucky enough to catch the sunshine there, and I guess to accommodate smokers. Most of the dining chairs are upholstered in a very vibrant fabric which is fun when seen in isolation but does seem rather incongruous in the company of the wishy washy blue upholstery of the pair of sofas on the raised area of the cafe.
So far the food menu is limited, offering (very tasty) quiches - meat and veggie options - with fresh salad; cheese platters, or homemade pizzas on focaccia bread for example. Prices are under a fiver for the quiche and salad, which is good value for what you get. However it would be even better if they offered a larger portion for a couple of quid more, to accommodate those like myself who have larger appetites/suffer insatiable greed when faced with good food. I understand the menu is under development, and am eager to see what else they will serve. There is a suggestions book on the counter if you have particular groceries you seek to purchase.
In the cafe they are serving top quality brand Monmouth Coffee - going head to head with the Waiting Room's Union Coffee - but initial experience suggests their baristas need to up their game a bit. My 'cappuccino' was more akin to a latte, and although the hint of coffee was a very pleasant hint, it was all but drowned by hot milk.*
However I did get the impression that the young staff were in training when I had my coffee last Saturday; I'll be going back in due course to check if progress has been made. My fundamental requirements - good quality food at reasonable prices - have been satisfied and I look forward to future visits.
Crosswhatfields has also reviewed Deli X. Deli X has a facebook page here.
*updated: a takeout cappuccino I had a few days later was excellent, perfect strength level and good balance of milk to froth