Streetview: Arcadia Delicatessen
In straitened times some discretionary purchases are curtailed or limited. Food, however, is an essential and Arcadia, one of Belfast’s iconic shops, is a mecca for lovers of good food providing a cornucopia of delights.
On the same site since 1933, this family-owned business is run by Mark and Laura Brown.
Arcadia, sited in one of Belfast’s best shopping areas, has a modern, clean look. The window display is very attractive with an inviting range of charcuterie, olives and cheeses. Walk inside to the clean, bright interior and your senses will be challenged by the colours and textures of cooked meats, cheeses, olives and pates, a fish counter and interestingly packed shelves. At the cheese counter alone you will experience the ‘tyranny of choice’ with Irish goat’s cheese, Cornish yarg wrapped in nettle leaves, Spanish manchego and many, many more. Moving along, squid in spicy sauce or cured salmon in honey mustard may catch your eye. Or maybe, tiger prawns or the famous black bacon from Fermanagh is your item of choice. The shelves are packed with a wide array of produce. Mark follows his grandparents’ tradition of seeking niche products. He and Laura, who has a marketing background, work hard to introduce quality goods.
Irish producers are supported, as with Kearney Blue and Five-miletown cheeses, local fish or Donegal rapeseed oil, but the markets of Paris and London are also important.
The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, some having 30 years’ experience. There is a sense of community in the area and Arcadia supports charities.
Arcadia’s hampers are known for quality and presentation. The cheeseboard, on slate, makes an ideal gift.
The company’s website has become an excellent marketing tool. As Laura points out, even Twitter has a role to play in spreading the word. Cookery programmes, too, have an influence, sometimes leaving Mark scratching his head after getting numerous requests for a particular pasta or paste. Customers are loyal, many being epicureans in their own right. An increasing number of young professionals use the shop.
It is little wonder that in October this year the Observer’s Food Monthly placed Arcadia as Northern Ireland winner and UK runner-up in its Best Independent cateory, describing it as “Belfast’s signature delicatessen”. In 2011 the Guild of Fine Food placed it in the UK Top 10 Delis.
Risk the assault on your senses. You will not regret it.
387 Lisburn Road