G.G. Sparkes

Old Dover Road, SE3

We’re lucky in that we have not one, but two old, well-established traditional butchers. I’ll get to the other one another day, but today I want to concentrate on G.G. Sparkes at Blackheath Standard.

I can find virtually nothing about him on the Internet – save that the business been around since 1952. I’m assuming it’s a family show – either that or the guy’s incredibly well-preserved (or perhaps has bought the business) which makes me happy – places like that, Gambardella, Standard DIY and Pegga Stores lend a real base of tradition among the spotty crop of estate agents, dead banks and fly-by-night caffs.

It’s classic in style – a real “butcher’s” – though has clearly been updated more recently than Drings. The meat has been organic and free-range for 18 years and sourced from really classy places – individually-selected farms and game suppliers. They also do rare breed meats and some very-good-indeed sausages.

Whenever I’ve swished my way through the chainlink curtain, the guy has fallen over backwards to help me, making suggestions and getting me to taste the cheeses (oh yes, they also have a cheese section and a small range of deli-goods – good-looking pastas, sauces, pickles – you know the kind of thing.) I understand there’s a free delivery service though I’ve never bought enough stuff to warrant it.

I’ve heard rumour that he is one of Rick Stein’s Food Heroes, but I don’t remember him from the telly and I can’t find any mention online – maybe someone can set me straight? Perhaps he’s included in an accompanying book or something?

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