Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Murat du Carta Chilli-Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mehmet Murat from Embassy Electrical Supplies
Where exactly can you buy the best olive oil in London? Maybe Harrods has some exotic Spanish number, with olives lovingly hand-picked by the finest dusky maidens, and served in a phallic diamond-encrusted bottle? Or how about that posh Italian deli with the dried pasta hanging in the window and Luigi behind the counter with the sausage down his shorts? Or perhaps you could try that tiny electrical store down that back street in Clerkenwell, a place crammed from floor to ceiling with cables and light bulbs and switches and other technical electrical shit, but also with the finest olive oil in one corner. Er, what? That's right, an electrical store selling what The Guardian, no less, recommends as one of the top three olive oils money can buy. New York magazine even went so far as calling it the best olive oil in England, but they're Americans so what do they know? It's the equivalent of finding a specialist bookstore selling the finest kobe beef – Slaughterstone's, if you will. Welcome to bizarro world.
Ok, so here's the background. Embassy Electrical Supplies is a small family run business owned by Mehmet Murat, who inherited his parents' olive groves in Cyprus and Turkey. He now produces and sells the olive oils out of a corner of his shop, and via a very modest website. As well as the chilli-infused Cypriot oil I bought, there are also basil, garlic, lemon and mandarin varieties. But it's not just oil on sale, as the deep, pungent smell of oregano that smacks you right in the nose will testify – there are herbs, spices and olives as well. Oh, and behind the tiniest of counters is a poster advertising the family's villas for hire. It really is the oddest shop I've been in, but I love it.
Olive oil prices range from £4 for a 250ml bottle to £22 for a 2.5-litre flagon, however, as I was buying for some friends as well I managed to get a very generous discount on four bottles of 500ml for £20. Phenomenal value, considering the prices you can pay for oils of no better quality. The oil itself is incredibly smooth to taste – it's rich, grassy and warming, with just a hint of heat from the chilli. It will be delicious to drizzle over something like grilled fish or a pasta dish such as arrabiata. I imagine the lemon variety would be amazing as well, especially with salads.
Embassy Electrical Supplies is an absolute gem of a find and I can't wait for the next fuse to blow at Albion Tavern towers.

Embassy Electrical Supplies
76 Compton Street
Clerkenwell
London EC1V 0BN

T: 020 7251 4721
W: www.mroliveoil.com

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