Leicester's such an interesting place to work in these days. So many positive stories (think Richard III and Leicester City Football Club for starters) , and there's a real buzz about this city.
The area where I work, around the Cathedral, has been changing over the last few years, with a pride in our heritage. Likewise, new cafes and bars are springing up everywhere.
Which brings me to this building below, which is the Bank of Ireland Savings Bank, built in 1873. It's a historic listed building , but it's lain empty, unloved and decaying for the last ten years.
Dry rot, water damage, a glass dome, still dirty and opaque from the black out paint put on World War II, this building was becoming a problem, in an otherwise really vibrant area.
Until now that is. It has become a deli after the new owners were given a grant by Leicester City Council from a fund called the Greyfriars Townscape Heritage Initiative, which is looking to restore at least twenty historically important buildings dotted around the city..
Well, the old bank turned deli (called Delilah) was officially opened last week by the City Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby . In addition to the usual speeches and a Hindu tradition which involved smashing coconuts with owners Richard and Sangita Trynor.
What a transformation inside....
It was a busy evening...with champagne, wine, locally produced gin and artisan beers to taste...as well as lashings of ginger beer and other refreshing soft drinks such as Cloudy Apple and Rhubarb from Franklins and Son.
Many of the artisan producers were there to showcase their products....it was good to meet Emma, the Managing Director of the Welbeck Bakehouse in Nottinghamshire. Such a tasty array of breads and pastries - no wonder their four seeded sourdough loaf and Christmas pudding have recently been awarded Great Taste awards..
From bread to cheese, and there was a lot on offer to taste. The creamy, oh so moreish gorgonzola was excellent, and I may have helped myself to more than a tasting stick of it. Well yes of course I did.. I felt like cutting the whole cheese in two, and walking away with it , it was that delicious.
But I can't just single one cheese out ...Jane Hewson was there from the Belvoir Ridge Creamery out at Eastwell. She and her husband make the most fine cheese...Slipcote is an absolute winner, which slips down your throat, leaving a creamy aftertaste from the raw milk it's made of.
There were pates, cold meats , olive oils infused with hazelnuts, balsamic vinegars with figs and pomegranates (I bought some) ..and the hot bites kept a coming from the kitchen. Bruschettas, jamon Iberico de bellotta, honey glazed chorizo....I'm salivating just recalling them all.
Now, I will always prefer savoury treats rather than sweet ones, but I was so taken by the lemony treacle tart, I had to have two bites.
A good launch, but the deli is already doing well serving breakfasts and lunches, based on the tried and trusted methods of their other Deliah deli in Nottingham. I left a crowd sitting outside enjoying the buzz, and wandered back through Cathedral Gardens to what was next on my Friday night agenda....