Authentic Italian bistro opens in Dalston

Alessandro Conti and Selena Pellegrini have opened Egro

Alessandro Conti and Selena Pellegrini have opened Egro - Credit: William Mata

An ‘experiential grocery’ that thrived on giving foodies a taste of Italy during lockdown has opened a bistro in Dalston. 

Business partners Alessandro Corti and Selena Pellegrini have launched EGRO POP as a pop up eatery at 584 Kingsland Road - having built the brand online. 

The Italian native pair have a background in food production and are passionate about the journey of ingredients from farm to fork. They brought this ethos into launching EGRO at a shop in Islington Square, selling quality products such as pastas, pesto, couscous, cheese, and chocolate. 

Is that the Gazette? Egro features street art, including this mocked up sandwich board

Is that the Gazette? Egro features street art, including this mocked up sandwich board - Credit: William Mata

But their pride and joy (and specialist subject) is extra virgin olive oil - for which they held popular online tasting and cooking classes when the pandemic struck. 

Now all these products and, of course, a wide variety of olive oils are on sale at the bistro alongside a menu of authentic Italian meals and desserts. 

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The bistro is open 10am-11pm on Saturdays and Sundays, with the venue doubling as another café during the week.

Selena said: “People got in touch with us asking for olive oil as it can be difficult to export from Italy after Brexit. 

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“In a short time, people have come to get a taste for it, but good quality extra virgin olive oil can be very hard to source in the UK.”

The EGRO (which stands for ‘experimental grocery’) online operation is also flourishing, with their website equipped with video explainers for various ingredients, while they also produce a podcast on Italian food. 

For their physical operation, the pair have not ruled out returning to Islington in some form, but are now committed to Kingsland Road. 

Selena added: “In Islington we had quite a success, but it was only temporary. We wanted to open a bistro as there is demand for it. And we really like Dalston.”

Alessandro and Selena are both experts on the production, taste and health benefits of extra virgin oil, which Mediterraneans credit for adding years to their lives. And through the bistro (which they say is the UK’s first to specialise in the oil) they hope to convert north Londoners to its benefits. 

Alessandro said: “It is a natural remedy and of great benefit to the immune system.

“In some villages people will live to 100, and they will say it is because of olive oil.” 

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