Carpo - Greeks bearing chocolate, coffee, nuts and honey make Piccadilly cosy

London thoroughfares don’t come much more distinguished than Piccadilly. Home to the Ritz, the Royal Academy, Fortnum and Maison’s  and the Burlington Arcade and breaking  out at its western edges  into the gentle green slopes of Green Park with Buckingham Palace visible through the trees. Piccadilly, the street not the Circus, has always been one of the favoured avenues to walk in the capital.

With great hotels, great art, the city’s finest department store and an elegant, historic shopping arcade, Piccadilly seemed to have it all. But, until recently, it could not lay any claim to cosiness or neighbourliness. Until Carpo arrived from Athens.  So who or what is Carpo? Well simply put,  Carpo sells nuts, chocolate, honey, coffee and  dried fruit in their lovely store close to the Meridien Hotel at number 16 Piccadilly. But that dry description does not do this delightful venue justice.

Already wildly popular in their home base in the Greek capital, this is Greece and the Mediterranean at its best.  This is the place to stop for a coffee or a tea with honey where you can escape the predictability of the coffee and sandwich chains nearby. There’s a toasty smell of roasting nuts wafting from the back of the store. A soundtrack of  jazz, Sinatra or Montand fills this big high-ceilinged space with its, slabs of chocolate, sacks of macadamias, walnuts, cashews, almonds and  mini-mountains of preserved fruits: figs, dates, confit lemons, goji berries- all reminding us that while Greece is in Europe, part of her will always face east to the Orient.  Elegantly decorated, warmly lit and with friendly Greek staff who will remember you after a visit or two, Carpo is a surprising and welcome  arrival that brings a human scale to the grand avenue that is Piccadilly.

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