East London Food & Culture

12 local grocery stores we’d like to thank

As the lockdown enters its next phase, a round-up of walk-in shops we can't live without

The Continental Food Exchange

Even if you need nothing else, the rows of brightly coloured vegetables at this stylish covered Mediterranean market will make you smile. And it’s now truly vast, having just doubled in size to occupy the whole of Panther House. What used to be called the Turkish Food Centre – now rebranded the Continental Food Exchange – is also strong on in-store baked breads, olives, grains and cheeses, and meat (the best end lamb chops are recommended). Even the Turkish vino is a bargainous £3.99 if you’re on something of a budget. Expect to queue unless you’re properly off-peak. Open 8am-9pm daily, 647-661 Leytonstone High Road E11

Stone Mini Market

This is undeniably the best E11 stop-off for refills of all descriptions, from nuts and sultanas to grains and pulses. And we love the craft beer selection, as well as the friendly service and slightly upmarket edit of grocery store must-haves. Open 930-9pm (closed Monday), 743 High Rd Leytonstone E11

Wild Goose

Some of the best sweet treats in the postcode, plus all manner of refills, flours, nuts, seeds and, of course, bread. Oh, and coffee: sip it over the road in the bucolic peace of St John’s churchyard. Open till 4pm weekdays except Tues (weekends vary, see social media). 654 High Rd Leytonstone, E11 3AA

Five Star

Firmly on the weekly shop map, this fishmonger up near The Birds won’t break the bank: fresh anchovies only set you back a couple of quid, while the golden whole smoked mackerel (pictured below) is not much dearer. We’ve also chucked a hunk of ruby salmon loin on the BBQ, and picked up condiments and sauces at the back of the store. Open 9am to 1pm (Sun 10-5pm) to 684 High Rd Leytonstone, Leytonstone, E11


Smoked whole mackerel from Five Star. Photo: SE

Yardarm, Deren and Wild & Fresh

We dip in and out of this useful triangle of Francis Road stores daily. As readers will testify, Yardarm boasts the longest queues – hell, their sourdough (and pretty much everything else) is worth it – so sometimes it’s quicker to pop into Wild & Fresh, who’ve have upped their meat game with fridges packed with Rhug Estate chops and chickens. And corner supermarket Deren is always there, day in, day out, stocked with all the essentials and more. Yardarm 10-5pm, Wild & Fresh 9am-8pm, Deren, 8am till 11pm, Francis Road E10


Another Francis Road cafe-turned-store, this one has usefully kept its coffee-making and even pint-pulling credentials. Go for natural wine, great Wild Goose bread, a table piled with products you don’t need but will end up buying – and posh chocolate that’ll find its way into your bag almost without realising. Open daily till 8pm weekdays, 5pm Sundays, 169 Francis Rd, E10 6NT


The finest butcher in the manor now sees queues snake up the High Road, so our advice is get there at opening time and you might walk straight in. Over the last weeks we’ve become addicted to everything from the lamb shoulder to chicken thighs and sirloin steak. Carefully curated vegetables, cheese and supplies too for non-carnivores. Open 8am -6pm (10am-5pm Sunday), Closed Monday, 158 High Rd Leyton E15

Perky Blenders

Pre-lockdown the Leyton Midland branch of Waltham Forest’s awesome beans purveyors has long been a regular weekday haunt; right now it’s where we head like caffeine-crazed zombies in search of another hit. We’ve explored most of the single origin monthly specials, but our chosen poison is Forest Blend, a delectable grind with notes of dark chocolate and fruit. And it’s perfection in an Aeropress, too. 8am-5pm. Project 660, by Leyton Midland Overground E10

Freshco and 7-In-One

We couldn’t end without a mini rave about our two geographically local shops. Family-run Freschco on Francis Road, with its well-stocked aisles, and friendly, unflappable staff, is way more than a ‘convenience store’: there’s a superior selection of spices, herbs, organic produce, wine and snacks. Meanwhile up on the corner of Newport Road is the 7-In-One, something of a daily go-to for its extensive fruit and veg and decent wine selection. Thanks to you all. Freshco, open 7am-830pm, 96 Francis Rd E10 and 7-in-One open 8am till late, 154 Newport Road E10

Article updated 11th November 2020

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