Alastair Hendy was one of my favourite food writers and his recipe for fish pie is still my gold standard when I want to indulge in foody nostalgia. Home Store is his labour of love in Hastings Old Town and everything has been stripped back to resemble what a Victorian department store might have been like if they had such things then. The store itself is open from Wednesdays to Sundays and the kitchen is open only at weekends. We knew in advance that the food was expensive, with an emphasis on seafood, but the menu on offer (three starters at £7 and two mains at £16) didn't tickle our taste buds sufficiently to entice us to join the queue waiting for lunch to start. So we decided to explore what else Home Store has to offer. The ground floor is fairly similar to other home-style kitchen shops, with umpteen variations on dusters and brushes, enamelware, glass jelly molds et al. A girl dressed in Victorian garb was busy ironing serviettes on an ancient ironing board, but the impression of being transported back in time disappeared as soon as one saw the electric iron. A corridor down the side has various uniforms for sale in case you want to dress up as a Victorian skivvy back home. Up the stripped stairs, there's a front room full of old tables, ranging from wooden ones from something like the Victorian era to metal ones from the 30s. Everything has a Home Store tag attached with a hefty price. There was even a used, kitchen diary dated 1938 on sale for £12. Another flight of stairs, past a bizarre display of old anatomical drawings (including one of what must be the longest flaccid penis ever seen in public), brought one to a floor where various bathroom accoutrements and furniture were on display. It was so reminiscent of some macabre film set that one almost expected Dr Crippen to appear brandishing a bloody knife (with attached Home Store tag and hefty price). As we walked back downstairs to the 21st century, it struck us that a lot of the items on offer were the sort you'd find in various junk shops in Hastings. It's not surprising that Home Store has divided opinion amongst locals, although I'm sure tourists are lapping it up.
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