Places: Damas Gate

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Pop into Damas Gate for a routine grocery round-up and you may well find that you leave with some freshly made aubergine salad and a few tins of baba ghannouge, as well as the cornflakes you originally went in for. This is because Damas Gate is an Aladdin's cave of Middle Eastern goodies, either imported directly from Syria (hence its name) and surrounding countries, or cooked each day on the premises.

Uncle and nephew team Ekrayem and Shaban started this delight 10 years ago, and are proud to report that although the first couple of years were "too hard", they are now flourishing, with an ever-expanding supermarket, a warehouse currently wholesaling to more than 300 other shops and a clientele who make pilgrimages here from as far afield as Brighton.

And should you ever tire of the 27 different platters of olives, the jumbled top shelves offer a host of non-comestibles to enchant, including 2ft-long Egyptian hubbly-bubblies, decorated with silver, painted glass and beading for a truly novel smoking experience.

Damas Gate, 81-85 Uxbridge Road, London W12, 0181 723 8428.

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