The Salford deli with the best name in Manchester has a new home — and it’s even more of a hidden gem than ever

They've been there since late last year but now they've truly made the little mill house a home.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 17th March 2024

If you’ve ever ventured down Chapel Street in Salford or sat with a pint in Bexley Square, you’ll probably have noticed the shop, cafe and deli space that once sat on the corner.

More accurately, if you know the spot, you’ll likely have chuckled to yourself when looking up at the sign and reading the name above the front door: Deli Lama. Still makes us smirk to this day.

The best-named Wholefoods Shop and Cafe sat as a literal cornerstone of the Salford community for over a decade and was a real favourite amongst locals but has since moved premises, and whilst it is more out of the way than it used to be, it has only reaffirmed Deli Lama’s hidden gem status even more.

Now located in the old Islington Mill just across the road — which currently serves not only as a residential space but as a key cultural hub for creatives and artisans — it’s arguably situated even deeper in the heart and soul of old Salford than ever. You’ve just got to know where to find them.

And that’s where we come in. After initially heading out on a weekend and wanting to enjoy a brew and a bite to eat, we decided to go on the hunt for their new venue and ventured down James Street to stumble across the mill itself.


An unassuming space, to say the least, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s still out of use at first glance, but once you spot the boards pointing you in the right direction of Deli Lama and the other names who have popped up in here, it does feel like you’ve stumbled across the best-kept secret in town.

Walking down the tunnel past the notice boards and the other indoor studios, you emerge out into the quiet little courtyard to find the deli’s new location, with fairy lights in the window and the old still just propped up against the wall as they’ve had little time for finessing — they’re just cracking on.


Although the space might be a little rough and ready in parts, what it achieves is that genuine rustic feeling that so many other trendy new openings attempt to contrive, whilst also carrying over a sense of familiarity from the former venue.

In the spacious new spot, you’ll find the same cupboard and pantry staples from rice, pasta and pulses to organic fruit and veg, bakery items, preserves, condiments and so on that you would find in the old shop, only now there’s room for more of anything.

There are also shelves of organic tea and coffee, fridges full of chilled drinks, soups and freshly prepared ciabattas, as well as literally the best vegan cookie we’ve ever had. They even make their own seitan.


Looking at the menu itself, as well as a regular rotation of specials, they do vegetarian brekkies that will knock your socks off like the Caribbean scramble, as well as plant-based breakfast burrito that we devoured within seconds alongside a big healthy portion of their chilli bean soup.

Topped with jalapenos, herbs and a lovely dollop of guacamole which thickens up the texture the more you swirl it in, just like when you used to dip your buttery bread into the bowl at home, it was divine and we could have had ladles of the stuff if it wasn’t for all the other customers ordering a portion as well.

Speaking of the crowd, you can tell this is a real haven for artisans and the other residents. The mill has stood there for 200 years and as it now boasts apartments upstairs, virtually everyone living and working here has become a regular, with people from all ages and walks of life.

As well as being a quaint little creative corner, Islington Mill is also important in the LGBTQ+ community, with the Islington Mill is Queer audio series recorded here, not to mention serving as a key part of the council’s ‘The Other City’ fund and artist-led community project bigging up Salford as its own entity.

As for Deli Lama themselves, they’re a team of just three led by founders, owners and local couple, Linda and Lincoln, who opened up the original shop 12 years ago but have been set up here since November, insisting they are “much happier at home here” and now starting to regain their rhythm.


Together for two decades themselves, you can tell this isn’t just their livelihood, it’s a passion they’ve bonded over and a way of continuing to contribute to the area that clearly still means so much to them.

What this small but incredibly dedicated team manages to do, beyond just delivering high-quality produce, is make every person who steps in the door feel like their best mate and part of the family. We’re not exaggerating when we say they knew everyone’s name in the two hours we spent there.

Even from the cosy little snug where you can sit on an armchair in the window next to some plants and a little poster wall promoting upcoming community events, to the little kitchen just behind the counter, you do get that feeling of being in someone’s home even with the big window and skylight above.

There’s plenty of bustle next door and across the courtyard from the pottery place, needlework studio and tufters also based within Islington Mill, but somehow this place manages to help block out all the business of town just down the road and even outside is relatively tranquil.

We were only supposed to come in for a coffee but we ended up feeling so relaxed we didn’t want to leave and ended up eating twice, buying a takeaway butty and some stuff from the fridge just because we fancied it.


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More importantly, the wholefoods, zero-waste and almost entirely vegan approach means that Deli Lama is one of the most sustainable, sourcing directly from local co-operative Organic North and even eyeing plans to set up their own in the future.

They also cater events and private functions, including a substantial corporate do or two when they can, and might also be making their groceries and food menu available on Deliveroo later this year.

It’s also crucially one of the most reasonably priced cafes and stores of its kind you’ll find anywhere so close to the city limits which, in a cost of living crisis, should never be overlooked or left unapplauded.

Please give the wonderful team at Deli Lama Wholefoods Shop and Cafe in Salford a go — you will not regret going for the short wander to find them and we promise, you’ll fall in love with it just like we did.

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Featured Images — The Manc Group