Local Treasures: Gennaro’s Deli

MAGIC PLACE
MAGIC PLACE

Have you ever watched Moonstruck? Probably not, you’ve seen The Godfather, though, right? Or Big Night?  I love italian food, but I think I may love the idea of Noo Yoik italian-style delis more. The kind of place you can buy a billion types of pasta and really runny gorgonzola and crazy expensive ham and OH MY GOD the cannoli.

I always figured that these kind of places existed only in Hollywood and possibly in New York, but probably not. Thing is, I found it. Behind a poundland in Lewisham. I’ve seen the promised land, people, and it’s got a hell of a lot of pasta.

Pasta aisle of dreams. I counted approx 30 different shapes including bigoli (spaghetti with a hole through it), stele (little stars) and all sorts of corkscrew shapes.
Pasta aisle of dreams. I counted approx 30 different shapes including bigoli (spaghetti with a hole through it), stele (little stars) and all sorts of corkscrew shapes.

It’s even called Gennaro’s. I mean, COME ON! The guy that runs it is super-nice and genuinely appeared to be having one of those “how’s your dear mama? I have not seen her in a few days” conversations with a customer. I wandered in, looked around and tried pinching myself a few times and looking for the camera. Because this place only exists in stupid movies where Cher somehow manages to win an oscar nomination which frankly is a pilot twist too far. But against the odds it seems that for some reason, Gennaro decided to realise my dreams in a pokey backstreet on a main bus route in Leweyham. Praise be!

That's five different brands of italian anchovies y'all
That’s five different brands of italian anchovies y’all
Dried chestnuts. I don't know why this impressed me.
Dried chestnuts. I don’t know why this impressed me.
SQUID INK PASTA! And all of the meats and cheese...
SQUID INK PASTA! And all of the meats and cheese…

If you’re wanting detail, be aware that this place is a veritable treasure trove for Italian products. San Marzano tomatoes, about 15 types of olive oil, a ton of pasta and some really fun-looking cheeses wrapped in leaves. There’s even Baci (I bloody LOVE baci but I’ve never seen them for sale in the UK outside of Selfridges).

My surreptitious photography style needs work.
My surreptitious photography style needs work.

Local treasure, and one I plan on exploring further.

Gennaro Delicatessan 

23 Lewis Grove, London SE13 6BG – 020 8852 1370

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