Get ready to let your Anglo-flag fly
By Jacey Gibb, Opinions Editor
In love with the cuisine and culture that Great Britain is so well-known for, but too broke to afford taking an international flight on a weekly basis? Lucky for you, The British Store has you covered!
Located just a few blocks away from Douglas College’s New Westminster campus, this mostly hidden gem recently won the mighty exclusive OPie award for “Best Store on Columbia Street”—and the victory was well deserved.
When you enter the shop for the first time, I must warn you that you’ll feel like you’ve actually hopped over the pond via some magical portal concealed within the front entrance. There are numerous display cases lining the right side of the store, boasting ancient antiques and enough sports paraphernalia to outfit a small hooligan army, along with other knick knacks that contain British undertones. While the majority of their merchandise likely costs more than you have in your Student Saver bank account, there are a few deals lurking on the shelves. I managed to find some pretty slick vintage postcards for just under a dollar each, including one from the movie Aliens that I’m honestly torn about whether I even want to mail or not.
I’m not necessarily up-to-date on my British grocery shopping, but the store also offers a pretty (from what I can tell) extensive library of foods, ranging from shelves full of U.K. famous Tango to a self-serve bulk candy bar. Like the antique section, the price tags can be a bit much, considering some of the items are easily available in cheaper supermarkets, but that’s the cost of dealing with a specialty store.
Though these sections make the store a treat to visit, my favourite part is the shop within a shop, Sherlock’s Café. Consisting of a handful of chairs and two large windows that look out onto Columbia, Sherlock’s offers up the usual menu of freshly-made sandwiches, daily soups, classic British pastries, and more uniquely, a display case full of meat pies.
I’ve always had a reluctance towards savoury pies (growing up, my only experiences were with the gross chicken ones that you buy frozen from the store) but Sherlock’s has managed to change my outlook on this culinary classic. Made fresh every morning (there’s a butcher shop above the store where the meats and many of the bread items come from), the pies have a wonderfully light crust, which slides seamlessly from the tin cup and into your piehole. At $6.50 each, they’re an impressive size that usually finds you full before the halfway mark—though you’ll want to keep enjoying it anyway! While all the meat pies I’ve tried so far have been enjoyable, my favourite is probably the Guinness and Steak special.
The soups are also made every morning, with their potato and bacon soup serving as a personal favourite of mine. Creamy and delicious, it goes perfectly with a few croutons thrown in—which they also make in house from the leftover loaf end pieces. Thrifty and delicious!
If you’re in the mood to try something a little less Subway-ish and have some spare time between classes, head down to The British Store and take in some of the interesting items they have to offer. If the mini Sherlock Holmes shrine in the bathroom doesn’t help you feel more cultured, then I’m not sure what will.