We’ve all heard it. The ‘O’ word. But what does ‘organic’ actually mean? And is it really that good for us?
We city slickers can be cynics – naturally suspicious about the authenticity of organic food. Particularly when it’s (typically) more expensive than super-brand supermarket produce. So on recognising this lack of general knowledge about the issues surrounding food production, I’ve dug up some of the finest unadulterated wholefood joints in the big smoke to put the city cynics to rest.
London life can be a fast-paced, frenetic, and sometimes frugal existence. Urban dwellers in the capital are faced daily with the threat of air pollution, noise pollution, air conditioning, road traffic, crowds, crime and congestion. Between the office, the tube and home, it’s a wonder we have a chance to eat at all. Never mind lose sleep over the cocktail of poisonous compounds coating our cornflakes.
Now thankfully we can count on a host of healthy, organic-educated eateries in London’s West End to raise both our spirits and our awareness.
These inner-city gems proudly provide organic produce free of any artificial poisons, which won’t contain the highly toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics and growth hormones used in intensive farming.
As well as this your food will be free of artificial colourings, flavourings, additives, sweeteners and the thousands of other unnecessary chemicals used in food manufacturing today.
But how do we know it’s organic?
Thankfully, to ensure that consumers are not misled, anyone in the United Kingdom wanting to grow or process food which is to be sold as organic must by law be registered with UKROFS (United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards) and adhere to regular check ups. In short, if it’s food and says it’s organic, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is. Naturally grown and ripened produce is the way forward. Here’s just a few of the best in the West, tried and tested:
41 Earlham St, Covent Garden WC2H 9LD
Tel: 020 7240 0606
Fancy a pint? Try The Soho Red, a thirst-quenching organic dark ale concocted on site at this micro-brewery. The basement bar is brimming full of signature beers using only the finest natural ingredients. While you’re there tuck into some wholesome pub grub, including wild boar and apple sausage or bier battered fish and chips. It’s a heaving haunt so book a table or arrive early.
Fresh & Wild
69-75 Brewer Street W1F 9US
Tel: 020 7434 3179
Always popular Fresh & Wild is a health-hedonist’s haven. Their Brewer Street branch (one of six stores in London) serves wholesome organic hot and cold dishes from the salad bar, which you can enjoy in the humming café or on the run. Specialties include pumpkin and sage soup, honey and ginger tofu kebabs and a variety of salads and baked goods.
22 Torrington Place WC1E 7HJ
Tel: 020 7436 1929
Firm believers in organic and natural food, Planet Organic is the UK’s original organic supermarket. A fresh juice bar, salad bar, health and bodycare centre, bookstore, dining area and grocer’s reside under one roof. They staunchly ban genetically modified foods, hydrogenated fats, and artificial ingredients from their shelves. Try their revitalising juices and smoothies, including the Fatigue Fighter or Rise and Shine.
The Grocer on Warwick
21 Warwick Street, London W1B 5NE
Tel: 020 7437 7776
A sophisticated concept in casual dining The Grocer serves fine modern organic cuisine in the heart of the West End. Its window neatly displays pastries and sandwiches, enticing you inside the stylish surroundings. There you’ll be greeted by the aroma of freshly baked bread, baskets of cakes and croissants. Using seasonal ingredients free from anything artificial they boast an array of quality ready meals, soups and preserves to buy.
28-29 Marylebone High Street W1U 4PL
Tel: 020 7224 3157
At the Weymouth Street side entrance of this concept salon and experience centre you will find Aveda’s environmental café. Chunky wooden tables and candles add to the earthy atmosphere. Blackboards display a diverse range of organic choices on the menu. And while you wait for your wholesome meal to arrive you can pop into the adjoining salon for a soothing massage.
6 Moxon Street, Marylebone W1U 4ER
Tel: 020 7935 8626
This funky hideaway serves scrumptious salads, paninis, omelettes and sandwiches in a cosy café at the back of the store. They’ve created a colourful menu of healthy super juices like The Alfie (carrot, apple and wheatgrass) and The Akai, a natural berry harvested in the Brazilian Rainforest mixed with guarana. You can knock back a wheatgrass shot on the run or buy dried pastas, soups, breads, fruit and vegetables in their store.
74 Wardour Street W1F 0TE
Tel: 020 7734 8986
Pile your plate high with Vita Organic’s delicious vegetarian and vegan gourmet cuisine. Specialists in live, enzymatic and gently cooked food they have an extensive raw food menu as well as a juice bar. Relaxed and fulfilling, this is a truly uplifting experience without breaking the bank.
Organic Delivery Company
68 Rivington Street W1
Tel: 020 7739 8181
This Soho-based company delivers organic vegetarian produce to the whole of London in the evening and fruit boxes to central London offices during the day. You can order on-line at: www.organicdelivery.com or if you prefer you can call them on 020 7739 8181