Degustation - o ye of little faith

Brockley Central was plunged in to a profound gloom a few hours aogo when someone on the site asked whether Degustation had closed down. Shelves had been seen outside and the shop has been closed for a few days. Was the Brockley renaissance over before it had truly begun? Could this be the end of our pain au chocolat fix on a Saturday morning? Would we never again lay eyes on Augustin's cheery face?

Well the good news is, Degustation's back, bigger and better than ever.

Augustin just rang to explain that they are expanding their range of wines, which is why the shop has been closed for a few days.

The shop and his wine business has been doing well and Augustin is delighted with the support he has had from Brockley shoppers, who have formed a regular customer base.

To celebrate the arrival of a new range of products this weekend, there will be a special half-price offer on a range of cakes and pastries on Bank Holiday Monday.

So, panic over. Vive le Brockley revolution.

46 comments:

Bea said...

Phew - what a relief.

tressillian james said...

I went byu the last 2 days and did start to worry. Looks like Augustin has the right tactic - expand the booze....

Anonymous said...

Did someone mention cakes? half price? I'm there.

Monkeyboy said...

Ahhh.... the wee French chap is still there then.

Degustation has a smaller range than the Blue Dandelion but seems more of a proper deli. No idea why I think that and I'm sure my opinion does not stand up to scrutiny. Weird how we make our value judgements.

(Blue Dandelion is still a good thing though - both need to keep an eye on their prices though if they want to be anything more then a place for treats, but then I'm a tight wad)

Headhunter said...

Perhaps it's the French man/name that make it more of a deli in your mind! Blue Dandelion? have you renamed it Monkeyboy?

lb said...

Actually, I'd thought that about Blue Dandelion (as it shall henceforth always be known) too. I went in there a few times and couldn't actually find enough to put together a decent light lunch, let alone a whole meal.

Tressillian James said...

Yesterday went to Blue Dandelion for Breakfast essentials: bread, butter, jam, and marine icecream (I know it's not breakfast but it did seem essential) - came out at just under £10. It did seem slightly too much even though I knew it was going to hit hard.

I think there is obviously a fine line between pricing, encouraging custom, and staying afloat. I, in my turn am trying to support local business, but would like to see a step towards 'encouraging custom'. I can honestly say if the prices were that little bit lower (say about £1.50 lower on my bill), I would shop there more often.

I think it could be acheived. For example the only butter was approx £2,60 for French Normandy butter. Perhaps they could source local farm butter at a lower price - the product would still be in keeping with the deli.

Me said...

Half price cakes and pastries?

I'll know where I'll be taking a walk Monday morning :)

Paddyom said...

Sigh...well that is a relief. I would hate to see a young entrepreneur with an obvious talent for sourcing quality food and drink fail. Best of luck with the new wine range, i will hopefully get a chance to try some. By the way...you got any cider?

Headhunter said...

I don't think either "Blue Dandelion" or Degustation is supposed to be the sort of place you go to get everything you need for a whole meal, more like the little extras that make it a bit more delish, like the fancy ice cream and wine, or a chunk of nice cheese etc

TJ said...

Agree with you about Degustation - and maybe thats why it works so well. But Blue Dandelion sells everything from dry pasta to meat to onions to beans, so I think it is trying to do that.

Headhunter said...

I suppose so, but it's all pretty fancy stuff, so I shouldn't think they're expecting anyone to do their weekly shop there. I view them both as places I go to for something a bit fancy.

Monkeyboy said...

Woteva...!

Still want a fishmongers on my doorstep by the way.

JPM said...

CentralBrockley, it's Dandelion Blue.

I must say that I'm pleased that my prediction in regards to Stationdegust true com has. Fulwonder!

Headhunter said...

Now we're just ripping off that French slang "verlan"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verlan

Anonymous said...

Degustation do indeed sell cider - from Breton. And very good it is too.

Anonymous said...

What are the top three things to buy at Degustation. I go past and see stuff, but I am a fraidy cat, I don't want to buy stuff I don't like. Annoying aren't I

APP&P Troll said...

They have these little coconut cakes, only 20p or 50p, but they are very nice.

Also try the pistacio macarons. mmm!

Dont touch the white bread, its not the best.

Anonymous said...

Thank you kindly for the info, i'll give those coconut cakes a go.

Mara said...

The best thing at Degustation, in my humble opinion, is the duck pate paired with a baguette.

Their Toulouse sausages are also a treat along with their fine cheese selection - but if you only buy one item do the pate.

In fact, I think I'm going to have to wander down there today to get me some!

fabhat said...

mmm...the almond and apple tarts are deelicious as are the duck rillettes.

Brockley Kate said...

The leetle leetle cakes are very nice, but £2.50 each? Shocker.

APP&P Troll said...

whats a leetle leetle cake? don't think i've had those.

boatbum said...

His Fourme d'Ambert is pretty damn good. As are the rillettes. And the leetle mini quiche thingies.

Anonymous said...

No half price cakes! And I walked there in the rain too. Managed to sink a small fortune on a few small lunch treats seeing as I was there. I'm afraid that much as I like the way Coulgate St looks now both this and Dandelion Blue are just too expensive to shop in more than once in a blue moon.

Brockley Nick said...

Oops, sorry about that anon. I popped in on monday too, apparently the cake promotion was delayed until next weekend due to the rain.

sensitive palate said...

I went in but the overwhelming smell of the cheese in the shop put me off buying the cakes. To anyone who's tried the cakes and pastries do they taste a bit you know, cheesy.

Headhunter said...

Had some lovely Bleu D'Auvergne cheese from Degustation on Sat. Also bought a ficelle which was OK but I find their bread less impressive to be honest. Will have to go back for the duck pate and to try some other cheeses though.

Anon - I don't think the cheese is strong enough to affect the taste of the cake. I suppose it's conceivable that if a strong blue cheese was left next to a cake with dairy in it (cream), the mould in the cheese may affect it but most of the cheese at Degustation is wrapped in cling film anyway.

Has anyone tried the Sel de Guerande:

http://www.eco-natural.com/greysalt/index.html

Apparently it's the "champagne of sea salt" and Degustation has a big bowl of it. Does it really taste much different to normal salt?!

lb said...

Yes...and no.

Like a lot of specialist food crazes, the salt thing is rooted in fact (different salts have different shaped crystals, which affects their feel in the mouth) but there's a lot in there that's purely a kind of food placebo effect as well. I just had a quick look for articles on the subject and this one seems to be fairly balanced.

Headhunter said...

Interesting article. So there is some difference in both taste and nutrition. I was always told that salt is salt nutritionally speaking, and sprinkling table salt on your food gives the same nutrition as sea salt, however I learnt a while ago that impurities are removed to create table salt which is essentially sodium chloride, whereas sea salt is packed with "impurities", some of which are quite good for you. Apparently good sea salt also has a "cleaner" flavour

Interesting that Sel de Guerande is compared in quality to Maldon sea salt from Essex. In the interests of shopping locally and not ading "food miles", perhaps I should stick with Maldon!

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old thread but I would just like to revive the discussion on Degustation for a moment. WHAT is going on there? I really wonder about the motivation and business acumen (or lack of) of businesses in Brockley. Is it just a little hobby for the owner? Does he not mind whether or not he makes any money? There is so much that could be done there. It's a French shop selling pastries and yet they can't be bothered to open before 11am. Why aren't they trying to catch the many commuters that walk directly past the shop between 7.30am and 9am? I, for one, would love to pick up a croissant from there because I am certainly not tempted by the soggy ones in plastic packets that are sold on the platform. And why aren't they outside between 5pm and 8pm, offering tired and hungry commuters delicious titbits on cocktail sticks to entice them in? I rarely see anyone in there, and the staff seem to use it solely as a way to phone their family in France for free. I never want to go in because they're ALWAYS on the phone.

Anonymous said...

Brockley is full of dilettante entrepreneurs with little regard for their customers - the exception being the Brockley Barge which is precisely targeted.

osh said...

Firstly, why don't you try saying the same thing, only without being rude and patronising. Secondly, while I agree with you about the opening hours, I have a completely different experience - they're nver on the phone and they're by far the nicest shopkeepers in Brockley. There are always customers in there when I go in.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I thought being rude and patronising was a prerequisite on this site.

Anonymous said...

mmeeeeoow

osh said...

No, it isn't actually. Most people here are very nice. Rather than excusing yourself by descending to the lowest common denominator, be a responsible member of this community. And give yourself a user name.

Anonymous said...

has brockley nick handed over some moderation responsibilities to you osh?

Anonymous said...

I think you may have misunderstood my tone. I was genuinely trying to suggest some improvements to what I think is a lovely shop that could be even better. I would hate to see it fail and I feel that they are missing several tricks, as outlined in my original post. I was merely noting my personal observations about phone calls etc. I don't feel that they are trying hard enough to get people through the door. If they actually opened the door and stood there smiling and saying hello to people with olives in hand (or in a bowl, preferably), people would find it harder to walk straight past.

Mezzer said...

I think you'll find that if you open the door and enter, the staff will put the phone down immediately. All the staff in there have been really nice in my experience.

It's also not fair to speculate on how the phone bill is being paid....

Comment said...

Anon, I think you have hit the nail of the head here. The shops in Brockley are so laissez-faire. I want to see Magi, TSOTH and all the others actively pushing for business with offers, events etc. Doing things to get their names out there, being on this blog, engaging being part of the community.

agony aunt said...

I never want to go in because they're ALWAYS on the phone.

That is an unusual excuse for not entering a shop. Hopefully there is a help group for you to overcome this problem or maybe a change of diet will help? Either way, you appear to be really sad and I hope you recover soon.

M said...

I don't think they're laissez-faire at all. TSOTH are always very friendly when I go in and have any number of ads for community events in the window.
The Broca market are lovely too - they even gave my girlfriend credit when she forgot her purse despite only having been in there once or twice before.
Never had a problem with Dandelion Blue (when it was open) or Degustation either.

Polly said...

I don't see why that's a sad reason for not wanting to enter a shop! I agree that it sends out the wrong message as it feels like you might be interrupting something.

temporary yet flawed advice service said...

A true agony aunt would offer directions to a suitable help-facility. I can only assume you are adopting an unhelpful personae. Please take the time to consider this.

medicated agony aunt said...

You are right temporary yet flawed, being a Monday I often struggle to rise to the occasion. I have acted on your advice though and I have rung through my contacts list but I am afraid I cannot find a support group within the M25 for those who have issues with entering a shop whilst the shop keeper is on the phone. May I suggest the sufferer set up their own group and perhaps advertise the meetings on this blog so that any other sufferers can join in?

Serving refreshments such as bitter lemon tea and wild nettle biscuits will help set the mood.

mobile phone user of the damned said...

If the shop-keeper was using a mobile device I'd like to form such a group of distracted yet committed people who loathe all modernity.

I will position myself near the public lavatories at the top of Hilly Fields during non-daylight hours and I will be happy to facilitate a non-member gathering.

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