Natural, organic, healthy. Long considered dirty words by many Brits (well, steak and pie loving Brits anyway), Natural Kitchen is perfectly pitched for the City boys and girls who seem to be really embracing the concept.
Natural Kitchen looks very... well, natural. Especially given its location in The City where everything thrives except nature. The large glass frontage is a centrepiece in itself with writing in a scrawl-like style promising great food within. Inside, the space is large and hall-like with neat wooden tables sat in the window opposite the long counter of the deli and cafe. The warm wooden floors add a sense of nature, although it contrasts with the modern metal lights. Blackboards cover the walls and cute plants sit on the tables. However, it’s all kept very sleek and almost minimalist, with the vibrant fruit, vegetables and other foodstuffs providing more than enough in the way of decorative embellishment.
Natural Kitchen is the sole domain of City boys and girls, which is no surprise given its location. And these are the kinds of office workers who seek out a healthy edge to an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle of being glued to their desk for 8 hours-plus a day. Yes, the majority of the diners here do look well groomed and like they visit the gym several times a week, and it’s no wonder they’re embracing the healthy food on offer. Much of the lunchtime crowd seem to pop in and out for a quick takeaway desk-lunch courtesy of the deli and the staff do a great job of keeping on top of the crowds that inevitably build up every day between 12pm and 2.30pm.
The prices ain’t cheap at Natural Kitchen, but the diners barely seem to notice and it is possible to enjoy a lower cost lunch here if you choose wisely. Most dishes are priced at £10-£15 and include salads, burgers, hot sandwiches, fish, pasta dishes and meat from the grill. Of course, everything is ethical and sustainable. If you’re not overly hungry and looking for a slightly cheaper option then the Spanish omelette made from Mediterranean vegetables, potatoes and herbs is excellent and well priced at £5.50. However, it’s not the biggest lunchtime dish and it’s also wise to opt for fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a big dish of plump green olives for less than three quid to bulk it out a bit.
But back to the omelette. It’s perfectly cooked and very well seasoned with the vegetables providing that hard-to-pin-down inherent Spanish flavour to the dish. Alternatively, try the chilli beef nachos for £5.75. Hard to see how these fit with the healthy ethos, but they're undeniably good and very filling. The nachos are nicely crisp and salty, and are piled under a spicy salsa, melted mature cheddar, light sour cream and hot jalapenos. See, you can go somewhere healthy and still seek out melted cheese. Brilliant.
This is where Natural Kitchen excels, with their healthy smoothies clawing back the damage caused by those nachos – or so you can tell yourself. Priced at a not-so-cheap £3.95, the Hairy Dog is basically a Virgin Mary, made up of sweet tomato juice, a very hot sauce and crisp, fresh celery. A meal in itself, really. If you really can’t do without the alcohol then alongside an excellent wine menu there’s a surprising organic beer selection, including Samuel Smiths, Weston’s and a choice of Loch Fyne ales.
The Last Word
Natural Kitchen certainly has mass appeal as far as The City goes, although for anyone else it’s an expensive trip to make unless you’re wise with what you order.