I'm ashamed to admit that I've only just discovered 'Leila's Shop' in Shoreditch. Considering it's been open for six years, I'm not quite sure how I missed it - because it is a very nice spot indeed. An excellent place for a bite after a Sunday morning jaunt to Brick Lane.
There's a very personal sense to the shop - you get the feeling that every decision has been made by someone who values quality and simplicity above all, and the level of the produce is exceptional. It's hard to leave without making a spontaneous artichoke purchase.
Leila opened it as a part of her catering business. Before too long, she installed a coffee machine, and a few tables. Then she started to serve some simple dishes. Now she's planning to expand into the next door premises and make the present space a larger café - excitingly the new shop will be a 'cold room' - a fully refrigerated space. I hope she provides hats and scarfs for her customers - I'm thinking a few bits of hand-knit Aran would set off the aesthetic nicely.
Speaking of which - the space is very pleasing to the eye. Ercol Chairs, simple wooden tables, and an open kitchen full of very nice vintage pots and pans. It's spartan, but not cold - and very photogenic.
Leila's Shop, 17 Calvert Avenue, London E2 7JP