Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Brand New Morrison's - Victory Park, Portsmouth

Well today at 9am was the opening of a brand new Morrison's store in Portsmouth.  All the advertising stated it would be 'a fresh new shopping experience'.   Was it?  What did I think of the store?

Well as the Foodie I am, I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype, so I arrived at 9am to see for myself.  There was quite a line of shoppers ready to see in the the new store, many asking if there were any opening day deals, but there were none to be found.

What was to be found (and pleased me no end) was the amazing array of unusual global produce that introduced itself to you as you stepped through the door.  Yes the 'greengrocer' section was laden with all sorts of goodies and things you have possibly never heard of.  Produce included Kohlrabi, black and red kale, eddoes, galangal, tumeric, krachi, turia, white asparagus, candy and golden beetroots, smoked garlics, samphire, just to name a few. A great opportunity to go home, look them up and get creative, I was inspired to say the least.   There was an impressive mushroom section too and I was pleased to see the likes of Chanterelle, King Oyster, Pied Bleu and Enoki and many more exotic varieties to be found.

The store displays especially in the fresh grocery sections, very much reminded me of the Whole Foods Market chain of stores I have visited in the UK and US.  I hope this is the future of supermarkets.

Over at the fresh meat and fish counters the staff were eager to assist.  I was told that the butchers section makes it's sausages fresh and rusk free, and you will be sure to find at least 98% meat in them compared to the pre-packed ones.  They have traditional British beef which is something new that they have rolled out in only 7 UK stores including this one, and that it is an exciting time for Morrison's as these 7 stores will be rolling out new products and ideas, that won't be found in other stores.  If this is to be true then it may be worth a regular visit to see what they intend to produce!  The fish counter I was told only sells fresh and sustainable catch, and fishcakes, fish pinwheels, fish wellingtons (as they call them!), are all made daily. There is also a charcuterie counter.

It was funny to see Portsmouth's Lord Mayor walking about asking shoppers questions about what they had in their baskets - I quickly walked the other way!!!

I'd like to have high hopes for this store, but what it really needs is the people of Portsmouth to get behind and support this exciting produce, that will be hard to find elsewhere in Portsmouth all under one roof.  Because inevitably, if we don't support it and sales are down, then the powers that be will just get rid of the global produce by replacing it with everyday fruit and vegetables. 

So I encourage you all to dust off those Indian and Thai cook books you have sitting on your shelves, find yourself a recipe that has 'unusual' ingredients only found in ethnic stores, pop down to Morrison's and enjoy the 'fresh new shopping experience' it boasts about.  I did, and will be back next week armed with a decent shopping list!

A selection of fresh vegetables

Global fusion foods

A dedicated charcuterie counter

Much room for Mushrooms!

Seaweed, Spiced Curry and Lemon & Thyme rolls, great with soup I would imagine!