This gorgeous little grocers/deli has only been open for a few months but, perfectly situated a few doors down from Herne Hill Station, I hope it's thriving. I popped in when I was checking out the area as a new place to live and was heartened that this sort of shop would be close by.
Selling a variety of healthy organic groceries along with a good range of vegetarian/vegan foods including tofu and spreads, Sesami is great for grabbing supplies from on the way home from work, and there's even a cafe/coffee shop element - they sell lovely sandwiches and hot drinks all day long and even have an organic sorbet counter. I can vouch for the blackberryYUM.
Living locally, I've tried so hard to like Sesami. The last thing I'd want is for it to go out of business, and for a kebab shop to take its place.
But try as I might, they just make far too many mistakes for me to go back. Today was the last straw - I went in for a soup, and had to wait close to ten minutes for my change (they'd run out of coins and someone had to go get some changed elsewhere). While I was leaving, a man who'd been in there longer than I had had to tentatively ask if his panini had finished grilling. The assistant had completely forgotten, and was stood there eating and gossiping with her workmate. I noticed she didn't wash her hands either, after eating her lunch behind the counter, and then handling the man's panini.
This follows a string of bad experiences at Sesami. My first visit, when it first opened, was marred when I got home and realised that the clotted cream I'd bought had expired days ago.
On another episode, I went in for one of their bagels (which are very tasty, I must admit). I asked for salmon, and got mackarel. The woman apologised when she realised, but didn't offer to make me what I'd originally asked for - nor offered a discount or refund. The mackarel bagel was full of bones and I had to throw it away after a few bites.
Recently I went in for a mushroom soup. I took it home and was really disappointed - their other soups are quite nice, but the mushroom soup felt really gritty, as if they hadn't washed the mushrooms before cooking with them. I couldn't finish it, it was like eating dirt.
The other day I went in for a chai tea latte. I noticed they just use a powdered flavouring instead of a syrup (or home-made chai flavouring) which most places do. This powdered chai I can get in Sainsburys! It was the equivalent of being handed a Nescafe when you ordered an espresso.
Today's experience, having to wait for what felt a lifetime, while my soup cooled and the piece of bread went completely cold, is the last time I'll visit Sesami.
I think they really need to lift their game not only in the products they're selling, but also the customer service they're offering. At the moment it is very limited. Only the male owner actually says "hello", "thank-you for visiting", and smiles. The rest of his workers are mardy, sullen-faced people who are going through the motions of their jobs and couldn't give two hoots about pleasing anyone.
I'd read good reviews of Sesami elsewhere, but it never seemed compelling enough to stop in. Now I've finally been, and I'm a fan!. It's tiny, mid-range prices, but very good quality. I had a brie and tomato croissant, warmed up, which was delicious. I also did a direct A/B test of their chocolate croissant with another nearby bakery's, and Sesami's was the clear winner. It's pretty cramped inside, so why not get a panini and take it on a walk around Brockwell Park?
Sesami sells Mustard & Honey mayo. Great, like I need another awesome store to fuel my mayonnaise addiction. That's not all I can get addicted to in this store. They sell vinegar, spices, honey, goat milk, pesto - all of their stock is organic and most of it is locally sourced. It will cost you a pretty penny, but if you want quality, smack you in the face with goodness food then you won't mind spending £3 on a jar of mayonnaise instead of £1.50.
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