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The Last Word: Patrick Belton, Owner of Romeo Jones

 My name is Patrick Belton, I own a deli & café in Dulwich Village called Romeo Jones. I’ve just turned 50, I’m single and live with my dog, Lionel the lurcher.

How long have you lived in the area?

In Dulwich since 1999, South London since 1992.

What brought you here?

Initially to London for work, from rural Rutland. To Dulwich from Streatham as I kept getting burgled!

What has changed most during that time?

Mmm. Lots. Dulwich I fear it has become less diverse as community, but at the same time it has also become a fantastic to place to shop and hang out.

What do you most value about the area/street you live in?

The trees and the architecture, and that I live within two minutes of our first public gallery.

What’s the one thing you couldn’t do without?

The green spaces around me. I have a dog called Lionel who loves all the local parks and squirrels.

Do you know your neighbours?

Yes, quite a few. I come from a tiny village where I knew everyone, so it’s only natural for me to get to know people.

The most famous person you’ve seen or met?

We have plenty of famous visitors coming to Romeo Jones including actors, politicians, broadcasters, writers, artists, and comedians who I think all love the peace and quiet of the place and that they are treated like anybody else – without a fuss. So, no names. However, the late great Keith Chegwin came to my primary school!

Do you belong to any groups?

I am a member of the Dulwich Village Association whose aim is to maintain interest and promote the area #thisisdulwichvillage. It’s a friendly bunch of people with bright ideas.

What’s your favourite place for a night out?

I’m quite easily pleased, and so long as it involves being with my friends – a pub garden on a summer’s evening, I am only a short walk from the Half Moon in Herne Hill.

Where are you likely to be found on Saturday?

During the day, I am usually at work in Dulwich Village in the deli. Working at the weekend has now become part of my routine, and probably my favourite day to work – everyone is jolly and eager to buy treats.

What is your favourite place to eat?

Franklins in East Dulwich and Joanna’s in Crystal Palace. I love old school quality & service.

The best meal I’ve ever had…

I have just had a trip to Southern India and one of the places I stayed in was a guest house in the temple town of Varkala. The food was made by the owner, and it totally blew me away.

What is your favourite shop?

We are so lucky that there are loads of wonderful shops locally, and my current favorite is “Forest” in East Dulwich, it’s literally an oasis of house plants, but more than that it so calming and uplifting – just standing in there for 5 mins does something good. Please do buy something though, don’t just go for the zen bit!

Best bargain you’ve ever landed…

A supersized wicker dog bed. £3 from the Sally Ann on Norwood High Street.

If money was no object…

I would sponsor cookery classes in all the of the country’s primary schools so that every child learns about the importance of good food, and how enjoyable it is to make it.

My secret ambition…

I would love to learn to ride a motorbike, buy a 1980’s Honda CB750 and go touring round Europe staying in wonderful castles & tiny auberges, stopping for swims in crystal clear lakes and getting lost on twisty mountain roads…

www.romeojones.co.uk

This article first appeared in the May 2018 issue of SE21 Magazine

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