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Meet the people: Dalip Matta, Bold Street grocer

There for all your culinary needs and more, Matta's has been a food Nirvana for well over 20 years. Ben speaks to Dalip Matta – shop worker and believer in good breathing...

Published on July 9th 2008.


Meet the people: Dalip Matta, Bold Street grocer

So, Dalip. How many are there of you?!
There’s one, two… five family members and about three of four staff that are part-time. About eight or nine of us.

The shop’s not always been on Bold Street has it?
No. We’ve been on Bold Street for about 24 years. Before that we were in Granby Street for about another 15 or 20 years

If you think you’re
the best then you
get complacent, you get big headed and then you get taken over by your ego

And you’re how old?
I’m 38.

What was it like for you as a young lad?
I was always doing errands and helping out. When you’re a kid it’s fun.

Are you the youngest?
Yeah. Out of five.

Do you like to have a drink outside work?
I used to, but now I follow a different path. I’ve been on that social lifestyle since I was a teenager. It’s just over the last three or four years I’ve thought to have a change.

What I do now is called the Art of Living. I’ve actually got an event on the 20th at the Philharmonic. It’s meditation and breathing techniques and they do their own yoga. It’s just so profound and good. It’s about rejuvenating your body with your breath because we all, over the years, stop breathing properly. The only time when we actually breathe properly is when we’re babies. It affects stress...

Back to the shop… What do you sell?
We sell food from all over the world. We sell more organic foods now, more whole foods, a few superfoods because the demand is there. As the demand changes we change… Foods from Africa, India, Japan, Thailand…

What do you sell that other shops don’t sell?
To be honest I’m not a hundred percent sure of things that we have that nobody else does because those days are over. Years ago I could have told you that, but with so many people now in the same game I don’t want to be saying we’re the only people that sell a particular thing.

But surely you’re the best?
It’s nice of people to say that. Sometimes I think we could improve on certain things. If you think you’re the best then you get complacent, you

get big headed and then you get taken over by your ego… Actually what you can’t get anywhere else is our own special blend curry powder! It’s a recipe that we’ve had for over 30-40 years.

Do you cook yourself?
Not as much as I used to.

What’s your speciality?
It used to be Thai green curry. Or fish marinades for a few friends.

Is there anywhere in particular you like to eat out?
I do like Eureka. (7 Myrtle Parade). That’s really good. (nb. This place also comes recommended by the ed who was particularly happy about being able to take her own booze).

What’s a typical day for you?
I get in most days at 7:30am. There are vegetable deliveries, bread deliveries… I set up the shop, get all the vegetables out… restock. Generally getting all the deliveries in and getting them out of the way before the street gets too congested.

What sort of bread do you sell?
Greek breads, German breads, organic breads…

Do local businesses buy stuff from you?
We get a lot of little restaurants and cafes buying bits and bobs. We also get certain bars who want ingredients for cocktails, you know, like fresh mint and syrups for making up all the big concoctions.

What are the most popular buys?
You’ll find customers know when a certain thing is coming in because obviously we have set days for deliveries. The Village Bakery’s bread comes in on Wednesday. People will come in on Wednesday for the bread. There’s a lot of fresh veg. We get that every three days so on the Monday, Wednesday, Friday we find it’s busier as well. A lot of the Asian people like to know when the veg is coming because they always want the pick of the best.

What are the best and worst things about your job?
The best thing is meeting good, nice people. The worst thing? Meeting horrible people.

So, meeting the people for both answers?
Yeah! They can make your day or ruin your day.

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14 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

BethJuly 7th 2008.

Mattas rocks!! What would we vegans do without it?!

MadgeJuly 7th 2008.

Mattas is a fantastic shop and has always got loads of good ingredients for all manners of food, supermarkets cannot hold a candle to it! As long as there is Liverpool, there should always be a mattas!

Sefton ParkerJuly 7th 2008.

Do they still sell 'pan' for chewing?

regular customerJuly 7th 2008.

i always go to Mattas, when i am in liverpool shopping, it is a must. It was at one time the only shop that sold Pataks curry paste. now most of the big stores have copied them. i have been going there for years and tell people about it. the staff are friendly

secret society of vegansJuly 7th 2008.

best city centre shop for vegan and organic foods. Only other decent shop is Windmill Wholefoods on Smithdown Road. Would like to see a review of their shop and News From Nowhere also on Bold Street

AnonymousJuly 7th 2008.

Nice people. Nice Shop. Well done Stephanie de Leng for your fantastic image from the new book, congrats, which totally encapsulates this extraordinary and yet very normal Liverpool family.

carmelJuly 7th 2008.

I love this shop, I never feel daft asking what the different foods are, and the helpful staff suggest ways to cook them also.

careenaceylonJuly 7th 2008.

I HAVE USED THIS SHOP FOR OVER 20 YEARS INTRODUCED TO IT BY MY LATE FATHER WHO USED TO STAND TALKING TO MR MATTA FOR HOURS, HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO MAKE ANY ASIAN DISH, AND THE STAFF AND FAMILY ARE ALWAYS SO LOVELY, THE SHOP IS LIKE A DRUG TO MYSELF AND MY PARTNER, LIKE GOING INTO ALADINS CAVE, YOUR THE BEST!!

AnonymousJuly 7th 2008.

I love this shop. Swivel on it all you pretenders. Matta's is dead about Liverpool.

SiobhanJuly 7th 2008.

What a great place! Has anyone noticed the interesting time portal on a number of different shops on Bold Street? You go in them and wonder about for what feel like 5 minutes and when you come out you're missing a good half hour. Rennies, Shared Earth and Mattas seem to be in the time vortex.

JennyJuly 7th 2008.

My most favourite shop in Liverpool! Loads of delicious goodies at good prices. (Frozen jumbo prawns are a bargain - better and cheaper than supermarkets).The family and staff are lovely people, always willing to give advice if needed.

Curious GeorgeJuly 7th 2008.

Sometimes I just like to peruse the shop because all the different foodstuffs are so fascinating!

Val WallJune 8th 2011.

Mattas is... just so special!

It's great for us coeliacs too.

The shop has a wonderful atmosphere filled with people who care about what they eat & who want the best. The family & staff are knowledgeable and friendly, nothing is too much trouble. I always come out not just with bags of produce but feeling great, a trip to Mattas is a wonderful tonic

It's a real Aladdin's Cave for food lovers.
Mattas your perfect!

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2015.

The food is great, the staff are all fantastic, knowledgeable and passionate about food. As a vegan fan of Indian foods it is always a joy to do my shopping here. Big up to all the Mattas crew!

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