Every now and then you come across something that does make you stop and smile and this newly opened shop in London’s chi-chi Primrose Hill does just that.
As the name probably suggests, fishmonger La Petite Poissonnerie is a not very big purveyor of wet fish. And the usual modus operandi in this form of retailing is to take a counter, fill it with crushed ice and lay the fish, in a variety of permutations, on top of it.
Equally normal in this kind of situation is the sight of staff positioned behind the counter ready to help with your selection and to offer handy cooking or gentle poaching tips.
In spite of its rather twee name, La Petite Poissonnerie eschews this approach and puts the shopper in the middle of the piscine action. Rather than a fish counter, there is a rowing boat, into which crushed ice has been heaped, positioned with its prow facing towards the entrance.
The net (pun intended) effect of this is that shoppers can make a full 360-degree tour around the display, making close inspection of the fish easier and rather more engaging. The staff meanwhile are at the back of the shop quite prepared to chop or fillet as desired, but not poised to pounce as is more usually the case.
This sort of thing costs money and uses space in a somewhat cavalier fashion, but for a new take on displaying an age-old commodity this is interesting. Service with a real smile also marks out this store as one that is worth a visit, if only to see what is possible with a little imagination. Very Primrose Hill really, but all the better for it.