Five years ago, when I first moved to London, I was rather fortunate to move Bayswater, which, although traditionally famed for boasting fantastic Middle Eastern shops and restaurants, is also home to a small Russian shop, located just ten minutes from my front door.
This was before the days when, as a result of a dramatic increase in migration to the UK from the countries accepted into the EU in 2004, Tesco stocked a vast variety of Polish food and various East European shops had sprung up across the country.
Kalinka Shop (Калинка магазин) can be found at 35, Queensway, London, W2. It is open from 11 AM to 8 PM Monday to Saturday and 12 to 6 PM on Sunday. The shop stocks everything you could ever imagine of Russian (and some other East European countries) origin.
When I first came to London, I happened across the shop because I used to walk to and from Queensway Tube Station every day. My interest in Russian history was growing and I entered out of curiosity. On entering I was faced with products from floor to ceiling labelled in Russian. This is partly why I love London, particularly Bayswater. For me, when you are here, it never really feels like you are in the UK, it always feels like you are on holiday, exploring some foreign land and their produce.