Deli Box

BEST PART: The View!

  In the words of the great Noel Coward, “Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.” How lovely it is to finally have the opportunity for a picnic lunch.     DESIGN 

We have some lovely green areas to choose from in our fair city. Verulamium park is always lovely as is the sensory garden by the Civic Centre. Today however we selected our favourite area – the Vintry Gardens for our takeaway lunch. Much of St. Albans had the same idea but that didn’t stop it being a lovely venue. This time we were less en-trend and more classical in style. The luscious leafiness provided shade and the springy verdant carpet of grass as yet un-scorched by the sun made a beautiful seat. Added to this the twittering of birds and subtle smell of rosemary and lavender had all but one of our senses enlivened. All the wonders of nature were set against the backdrop of the Abbey, such a majestic and beautiful building (you can’t see the 1980s extension from the Vintry Gardens!).

  However there is always a problem with being outside which is the ruin of festivals, picnics and loitering, which is that the ground is just not very comfortable to sit on. You start off stretching your legs out, but then your arms get uncomfortable. Then you fold your feet underneath you but then they start going to sleep. You end up continually shifting fidgeting to find the mythical position that is actually comfortable but let me tell you, it does not exist. I don’t know how cavemen managed. There are benches in the Vintry Gardens, but they are at a super-premium on sunny days and we were much too late to be in with a chance of these.

  

 
THE MENU

  But this is not a blog about the best parks in St Albans, it is about lunch and the eating thereof. There are many places in St Albans to get a good sandwich. Today we tried out The Deli Box in the Village Arcade for the first time. The selection was smallish, probably because the shop premises are pygmy but the quality of the produce was good. I gave the lady behind the counter free rein to create a nut free vegetarian ciabatta and a meaty one for my husband. She did very well. I would have never chosen hummus, mushrooms and salad together but it was quite delightful. The smell of the warm bread was amazing. 

  My companion’s Parma ham was engagingly fatty, offset by the tart saltiness of the sun-dried tomatoes. He didn’t believe me at first that I had ordered mozzarella with it (he is a distrustful fellow) but it turned up eventually. There were some nice Italian soft drinks to chose from. If I have one recommendation to Deli Box it would be to stock some artisan crisps or perhaps mini garlicky pizza style nibbles. We had to slum it with plain old Walkers. I could have done with something sweet too, even a piece of fruit. Never mind, it was all good stuff. It would definitely be worth popping in for some good olive oil and balsamic vinegar too. There were two or three small tables within the shop but with such lovely weather no one was using them today. 

 I love the village arcade; it is like stepping back in time. A barbers, alterations shop, Petra gems and Carousel (the lovely bag shop) to name but a few are quite charming. A quick local history lesson, the marble on the sides of the Arcade is from the St Albans Lyons Corner house which was demolished in 1068 by the invading Normans. 

 THE TOILETS 

 There weren’t any of course. I had to use the public toilets by the town hall, though these were still closer to our dining area than the ones at Jamie’s Deli. 

THE PRICE 

It was a fiver each for a sandwich, drink and half a packet of crisps (we shared) which is comparable with Jamie’s Deli. To clarify, this wasn’t in a lunch deal. I am sure you could get a sandwich for about £3.50. It was very good value for money for a fine sandwich but to be honest I preferred what I had at Jamie’s by a small margin and therefore we award this picnic lunch 

6.5 / 10

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