MUST DO: Natural Food Store

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Kentish Town’s new all-purpose cafe, organic store and general hangout opened last week


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Efficient and friendly: the staff at Natural. Photo: Piers Hartley
Efficient and friendly: the staff at Natural. Photo: Piers Hartley
It’s been the slowest new mover on Kentish Town Road, hasn’t it? In fact, it seems months ago since the old Furniture Xpress was repainted a muted Farrow & Ball grey (or is it Mole’s Breath?).

And yet this spacious new organic food store, coffee lounge and hire-space is worth investigating right opposite what’ll eventually be the independent cinema.

Exterior with surprising amount of outdoor seating. Photo: SE
What do you think of the logo? Photo: SE
First thoughts? It’s big: the cafe comprises two floors inside, with a long, narrow shop to the right, where you’ll be able to buy everything from organic apples from Kent to organic olives.

Gluten-free pastries, cakes and muffins are lined up on the counter as you enter. And, while the temperature holds, the tiled terrace makes an engaging spot to linger – overlooking, as it does, the very busy lower stretch of the high street.

Pleasant tiled terrace. Photo: SE
Pleasant tiled terrace. Photo: SE
What’s it like for lunch? Well, a plate of mixed salads is currently just £4.95, a bargain for such a healthy plate of five-a-day.

Choose from eight or nine daily options: our mix of al dente kale, sultanas, quinoa, feta, cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot, carrot and orange was more than decent. There are olive oils lined up to offer more punch and zest too, including a rich salsa verde, and a sun-dried tomato variant.

Mixed plate of colourful salads for £4.95
Mixed plate of salads. Photo: SE
Tangy orange and cucumber-infused tap water is on hand if you want to keep things super-budget. But there are freshly squeezed juices (of course), posh teas and the coffee is good, too: a macchiato, made with Union beans, was creamy, rich and assured for a brand new opening. Furthermore, the offer for filled counter baguettes is a snip at £3 a pop.

Creamy macchiato. Photo: SE
Creamy macchiato. Photo: SE
So yes, it’s already proving a hit, despite heavy nearby competition from Mario’s Cafe, Doppio, Wine Cellar and the Fields Beneath. On our visit the place was rammed.

And naturally, several readers have already enthusiastically emailed or tweeted us their support: “I think they should be encouraged and promoted”, reckoned Piers Hartley. He said it.

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Natural Food Store, open daily till 8pm, 136-138 Kentish Town Road NW1. More info here

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