Friday, October 22, 2010

Unpackaged Organic food shop - Where to find organic food in Clerkenwell

After a disappointing lunch at Santore in Exmouth Market, we headed up north along Amwell Street towards Sun Luen when we came to the street's intersection with River Street. Over there, a cluster of rather interesting shops lie. It wasn't our first time there but it was definitely the first time we had some time to sniff around. There was a cafe in a corner, a fabric (some wollen knitwear if I recall correctly) shop in another. One particular shop caught my eye.

Lloyds Diary Farmers read the large gold letterings on its shop front. Yet on a closer look, the words "Unpackaged - your local organic refill grocery" were barely discernible against the shop's glass panels. I pointed towards the shop and turned to Wife, only to realised that she was already halfway through its door.

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Organic shops never cease to amaze me. Unlike the stuff we got back home, the food stocked in organic shops in the UK always look really appealing compared to supermarkets' 'essential' range. That said, there are the run of the mill organic shops and there are places like Unpackaged where you would actually feel like you are in a proper organic shop and not a supermarket stocking organic items.

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For one, Katherine, Unpackaged's proprietor, would greet you with a huge smile from behind the counter. Then there's this eclectic display of a wide variety of organic foods sprawl across the entire shop area. Fresh produce - bananas, peppers, potatoes, lettuce, cabbage line one wall. Rows of wooden cubicles fill with nuts and dried fruits lined another. In the centre lies rice, both brown and white as well as a selection of cereals.

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Unpackaged+Amwell+Street+London++Clerkenwell+Organic+Food+Shop+Store

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I always wonder why is it that organic products often come with very fanciful packaging. I'm sure you would have noticed that as well. Organic food's packaging, compared to their non-organic counterparts, tend to be more substantial, thicker, heavier and seemingly of better quality as well.

Unpackaged, as its names implies, tries to do away with all that. In fact, it encourages customers to bring their own containers, anything that they can lay their hands on. The empty mineral water bottle can serve as a rice container, the plastic milk container can be used to carry some organic vinegar, even the wine bottle can be used for the honey if you so prefer. Just get your container weighed at the counter before filling them to your heart's desire or till they're full, whichever comes first.

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Even if you turn up without any containers, Katerine has got some paper bags behind the counter. Just ask for it. Else, you could always buy the glass containers that she has in stock.

Well, we carted back some brown rice that day but I'm sure we'll end up with more stuff during our next visit to Unpackaged, which I suspect will be real soon.

42 Amwell Street, London, EC1R 1XT
Tel: 020 7713 8368

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