I’ve been to Gallagher’s Deli and Kitchen three Saturday’s in a row because I can’t stop thinking about their Tiny Taties.
The business opened inside a Grade II listed building on St Edward Street, Leek, back in October, born from a local lockdown project.
Husband and wife duo Jessica and Chris Gallagher opened the ‘grab-and-go’ deli after their supper club home delivery service ‘Gallagher’s Home Kitchen’ was a roaring success. The couple were set to start new hospitality jobs in March, but when the pandemic hit, they took their combined 30 years experience and love of food and created a special, community restaurant from their Cheddleton home.
So, it’s no wonder that when they opened the deli that they sold out of sandwiches in two hours – and today, six months on, there is still a queue up the road from 12pm onwards.
Last Saturday, I’d sadly missed out on a fresh pastry, but ordered some Tiny Taties, a deli sandwich, a cup of tea and a Tart of the Week.
Let me tell you about Tiny Taties. Just £3 buys you a pot of pure joy at Gallagher’s Deli and Kitchen. These baked baby heritage potatoes are locally sourced from Carroll’s Farm, and slowly baked with oil and house seasoning. They fit into your mouth whole and as they pop they just melt in your mouth. The seasoning is something we’ve tried to recreate at home, but it’s just not the same as Chris’ top secret recipe. They come in a tub the size of an ice-cream pot, and Jessica packs them as full as possible. They’re a great snack to graze on whilst taking a walk through the market town of Leek.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, though (that said, the mini spuds are pretty filling), then you have to try one of the deli sandwiches. All of the sandwiches are made fresh in house daily. If you pop in before 12, you’ll see Chris zipping about the kitchen filling bread.
I opted for The Boss sandwich, which is packed full of Prosciutto Ham, Pecorino Cheese, Truffle Cream, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Rocket on homemade Garlic and Olive Focaccia. The footlong sandwich costs £7, and is absolutely crammed with flavours that work beautifully together for the ultimate taste sensation. Jessica and Chris have worked in multi-Rosette and Michelin restaurants, and even owned their own Food Truck business, so have certainly picked up some amazing culinary knowledge along the way. This is not your bog-standard butty – this is restaurant quality delicatessen that you won’t be able to stop thinking about for a week. I’ve always been a fussy eater, and so, I’d never tried truffle cream or sun-dried tomatoes, and was blown away by The Boss, which has been so thoughtfully and consciously crafted with local produce and lovingly baked bread. You can always taste when something is made with care and attention.
After the Tiny Taties, I knew I’d never finish the whole sandwich, and actually took it home and cut it into three for my mum, dad and myself for lunch – and even a third of The Boss was enough to satisfy one’s hunger.
I love the grab-and-go concept, because you can quite happily walk through Leek whilst annihilating the sandwich. But also, because it’s cold and it travels well, you can take it home to enjoy too. I know when we’re able to go for picnics again I’ll be making a trip past Gallagher’s Deli on the way there – though no-one would believe me skilled enough to make them.
And finally, the Tart of the Week – something I eagerly await the announcement of on a Thursday morning. Previous weeks has seen Apple tarte tatin with hazelnut crumble, clotted cream and blackberry; Sticky Toffee Pudding tart and Lemon Meringue with toasted coconut and crushed pistachio. This week though, was custard with rhubarb and ginger. The tart of the week is £3 to £3.50, and always combines a range of interesting flavours. This one featured a creamy custard base, with tangy fresh rhubarb and dotted with ginger gel. It was like rhubarb and custard sweets, with a subtle ginger spice (no, not Geri Halliwell). These are freshly baked and available from 11am each day, and you can pick up a fork and a few napkins from the deli if you just can’t wait until you get home to eat it.
Gallagher’s Deli and Kitchen is working on a one-in one-out basis due to Covid, but another example of their thoughtfulness is that there are four umbrellas perched outside the shop in case of Spring showers. And whilst Jessica bags up your order and puts it through the till, you’ve got time to browse a selection of locally sourced and sustainable products, from The Staffordshire Oatcake Company oatcake mix, to local honey and jams.
Gallagher’s Deli is an absolute gem in Leek, and the town is fast becoming one of my favourite places for a wander around when I want to get out of the house. There’s a real community buzz in the town, and places like Gallagher’s helps feed that – both literally and metaphorically. Ooh, and they do a loyalty card for hot drinks – who doesn’t love a free brew for supporting a small biz?