The natural choice for taste and value
Health food shop and café causes a stir
05 December, 2016 — By Tom Moggach
The generous beetroot quiche plus two salads
IT’S an advert to melt the coldest of hearts: a handwritten sign for £2 brownies on the counter at Natural Food Store.
The author is Andrew, a 12-year-old with “passion for baking”, who is raising cash to buy Christmas presents for his family.
Run by two brothers, the opening of this new health food shop and café on the lower reaches of Kentish Town Road has caused something of a stir. Earth Natural Foods has enjoyed years of busy custom at the top end of the street. A key difference at this venture is the seating. And quality coffee. Natural Food Store has wooden tables out the front and more spread over two floors at the back of this large, lofty shop space.
The seating areas are decorated up with a rustic, recycled aesthetic. My handmade table was inlaid with green lentils, an upstairs wall constructed from sliced wooden pallets. Downstairs, they have used squares of hessian coffee sacks to upholster the chair seats and to fill picture frames up on the walls.
Andrew’s handwritten brownie sign
The café offers teas, fresh juices and smoothies. Lunch choices include seasonal soups, sandwiches or salads. Unlike Earth, which is entirely vegetarian, you can also choose fish and meat such as salmon, tuna, chicken and prosciutto.
I picked a slice of bright purple quiche, made with beetroot, plus two salads (wild rice and bean with feta cheese) for a very reasonable £6.90. Portions are vast. The salads are decent. The quiche was a touch heavy on the pastry but made with good intentions. Cakes are a highlight. My pudding was a peanut and chocolate brownie with an excellent macchiato coffee (£2.30), brewed with beans from the hip Union roastery.
You’ll also find Portuguese custard tarts, cookies, muffins and more. The local Manna bakery supplies a range of organic cakes such as a double chocolate loaf, £2.60 per slice.
Moving to the shop itself, expect a big, bright selection of health food staples. Prices? I nipped up the road for a quick comparison with Earth. On Monday of this week, Kingfisher fennel toothpaste was £2.49 at Natural and £2.85 in Earth; 100g of loose chickpeas 49p / 20p; 1 litre of Vita Coco coconut water £3.99 / £4.09.
Earth definitely boasts a far superior range of bread and cheese. The prices of fruit and veg seemed roughly similar.
“Eating healthy doesn’t mean it’s expensive,” says Onic Bozoglu, one of the co-founders.
Onic has lived in Haringey for 20 years but was drawn to the potential of NW5: “The whole of Kentish Town is uplift.”
I suspect Andrew’s brownies will have sold out by the time you visit Natural Food Store. But you’ll find two brothers working hard to build a friendly atmosphere. “We’re trying to create a good buzz,” Onic says, with a smile.
• Natural Food Store, 136-138 Kentish Town Road, NW1