Cundall & Garcia and A.Gold - a short history
Situated between the City and the East End, just outside the old Roman walls, the building at 42 Brushfield Street is located inside what used to be Henry VIII's artillery ground where soldiers once practised archery and musketry and is close to Nicholas Hawksmoor's impressive 18th-century Christ Church, Spitalfields.
Built in the 1780s, the four-storey Grade II-listed house has been home in the past to diamond-cutters, furriers, boot makers, drapers, book-binders and Amelia Gold, an Hungarian Jew who ran a French millinery business. Her 1880s shop sign is still visible across the frontage.
In 2000 Ian and Safia Thomas created a unique delicatessen on the ground floor, taking its name from Amelia Gold - A.Gold.
Then possibly the only shop in London specialising in traditional British food, A.Gold championed small independent producers and makers from across the country. Since those pioneering days, everyone from top chefs to major supermarkets have caught up with their vision.
Of course much has changed since then and Spitalfields has undergone a dramatic shift in its fortunes. Now the shop, keeping it's historic sign but now named Cundall & Garcia, is overlooked by investment banks and international law firms. During the week, scores of City workers squeeze into this tiny space, queueing for home-made food cooked daily by Paulo Garcia, who took over from Ian and Safia in the spring of 2010.
This week, we're cooking
Along with our special sandwich/salad box of the day - always something a bit indulgent, like pulled pork and spicy coleslaw or beer-roasted chicken and herb stuffing - we also make our own Scotch eggs (everyday!), traditional pies and the occasional old-school surprise such as a poached salmon with parsley sauce or Toad-in-the-hole with mash & gravy.
You can buy your lunch at countless places around here now, but we take a lot of pride in our old fashioned, personalised service - most customers know our names - and the fact that we go to a great deal of trouble to produce the kind of food that reminds you of the comfort of your parents' home. One nostalgic sigh a day and we are a happy team.
The shop still features independent brands on its shelves, such as Campbell's Tea - a wonderfully strong, smooth brew from Dublin in its distinctive old fashioned yellow tin. Customers buy four or five at a time.
We also sell The Toffee Shop's handmade fudge from Cumbria, Butterworth's Tea, English Mead, honey from hives placed on rooftops around London and traditional sweets, weighed by the quarter, in little paper bags.
© 2006 shop image by Steve Parkinson
See credits page for photographers' details