Hey There Delilah
Having passed many a happy hour in Delilah’s previous location thanks to their vast assortment of cheeses and meats, I was pleased to hear that the small delicatessen which had become Nottingham’s best kept secret was expanding. However, the recent re-location to new premises on Victoria Street has proved to be something of a double edged sword for Delilah.
In its previous incarnation, Delilah occupied a cramped and overcrowded shop whose shelves were filled to the rafters with exotic and delicious foodstuffs. Food was ordered and served from a high bar area which also doubled as a register, and had seating for no more than eight or nine. Delilah’s reasons for expansion are obvious – not only was the deli turning away custom due to lack of space, they were also recipients of the Olives Et Al ‘Deli of the year 2012’ award. Thus, expansion was a logical next step in increasing revenue and enlarging the business.
The new Delilah occupies the site of a former banking hall, an imposing and grand building with high ceilings and decorative plasterwork. The renovation of the premises has been undertaken with a delicate and sensitive approach; care has been taken to maintain a balance between retaining period architectural features and introducing contemporary aspects. The overall effect is pleasing; the downstairs area is spacious and allows the quality of the products to finally be properly showcased, with more than ample seating for diners. The mezzanine floor level, although rather dingy in some areas is clean and uncluttered and offers a chance to view the building’s beautiful plasterwork a little more closely. This aspect of Delilah’s transition is the most successful, allowing more goods, more customers and crucially offering a more suitable environment in which to pass a few comfortable hours.
The food is still of the usual standard, T had the croquet-monsieur which thanks to the quality of the ingredients was delicious – the Gruyere was perfect and the bread hearty. I had the Bruschetta; a staple that Delilah always execute differently with varying degrees of success. Thankfully, this time it was perfect. The offering is typical Mediterranean fare, peppered with diner classics (their burgers are divine) but the menu is not overwhelming – most dishes are suitable for a light lunch but as I have managed to prove on multiple occasions in the past, it is possible to indulge on a grand scale when finances allow. Delilah’s real strength is in the consistent quality of the ingredients they source, use in their food and sell. Delilah’s products are by no means cheap, but quality never is. This approach allows you to sample the quality of their chorizo on their Bruschetta and then purchase 5kg of the stuff – ingenious! L decided on Delilah’s ‘Chocolate Oblivion’ which turned out to be more of a chocolate pot hole whilst my request for a ‘Sarsaparilla’ (which I make each and every time I visit) was as usual met with confusion, despite its presence on the menu. I had to make do with a ‘Curiosity Cola’.
The problem lies in the rapid expansion of staff members, which has meant Delilah has lost some of its charm in the process. Being prohibitively small, the previous premises only allowed around three members of staff at one time which meant that if you frequented the Deli, you began to foster an easy relationship with a particular member of staff who remembered your order. The influx of new staff members do not seem to have much attention lavished upon their training and so appear flustered and hurried by the increase in custom, whilst the veteran staff appear embattled. I was aware that Delilah’s expansion would mean that some aspect of its charm would be lost but it seems a great shame that Delilah’s weakness is something that is so easily remedied.
Verdict: Delilah still holds onto its title as Nottingham’s premier Delicatessen, despite teething problems.
Delilah Fine Foods, 12 Victoria Street, Nottingham, NG1 2EX
Tel: 0115 948 4461