via ITALIA

Shad Thames' newest arrival is Valentina by Owen Rice

Valentina Shad Thames London Italian Food Grand Opening Cutting Tape

overlooking the river at Tower Bridge is Shad Thames, a secluded set of streets, converted warehouses, riverside bars and restaurants. Tucked in amongst the French and British establishments are new arrivals, often modestly referring to themselves simply as ‘The Italians’, this distinctly family-run affair is called Valentina.

On their launch day in May, Shad Thames’ locals and visitors were treated to opera singing in the street, balloons, jugglers and samples from an exquisite collection of foods. Inside, complimentary Prosecco was generously distributed and an enormous mortadella (a delicious Italian sausage made with pistachios), a basket of breads and focaccias as well as a huge wheel of Parmesan cheese were carved up to taste. This was a real celebration of a family business introducing itself to a new community and it was a great pleasure to be a part of it.

Valentina Deli Interior Shad Thames London Italian Food
The all-Italian staff were passionate about their homeland, their produce, classic foods and, with typical Italian confidence, enthusiastically shared it with everyone passing through. There was even space inside for a small, vintage delivery van, a motorcycle and other deli-related equipment; putting their origins on show in a distinctly modern setting. What was most authentic was the table of a dozen or so family members behind this Valentina venture. Several generations of all ages, sitting together having lunch, really did set the ambience of a true Italian feast.

This family have been in the food business for a long time; originating from Sant’Elia Fiumerapido, a small village near Monte Cassino southeast of Rome, who made their home in south east London. It has taken just three generations to build up a food import (and now restaurant) business and make their prime flagship site right at the heart of London. The Valentina chain began with their first delicatessen at East Sheen in 1991 near Richmond, which steadily grew in reputation and in number to include additions at Putney, Sevenoaks, Notting Hill, Weybridge, Reigate and Chiswick.

Valentina Deli Exterior Champagne Shad Thames London Italian Food
Valentina’s proposition is simple: an authentic Italian delicatessen, restaurant, caffé, and enoteca (wine shop). As soon as you step inside you realise how well they do it.

The deli houses over 200 Italian wines and 1,500 products including fresh hams/salami, cheeses and traditional antipasti as well as Valentina’s own branded pasta, olives and oils. All of these are imported from Italy by Valentina’s sister company, Guidetti Fine Food and Wine.

“This is a very big moment for Valentina

One of the founders of Valentina, Bruno Zoccola said, “This is a very big moment for Valentina. All of our other sites have been where the local Italians eat and shop. We are hoping that at Tower Bridge guests will feel as though they are experiencing Italy when they walk in.”

This is not a regular rustic Italian shop, it is a splendid, elegant and tasteful upper-end experience. It is all the more delightful as the prices in the delicatessen and restaurant are a luxury one can afford every day. Located in the Cardamom building this 6,200 sq. ft. site boasts a £1 million refurbishment and will be able to cater for 100 covers. The Tower Bridge location will also be the home of the Valentina online business.

VALENTINA FINE FOODS
31 Shad Thames
London SE1 2YR
t: 020 7036 6028
w: www.valentinafinefoods.com

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