Picture of Alara Wholefoods, WC1N 1AB

Alara Wholefoods, WC1N 1AB

  • 020 7837 1172
  • 58-60 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AB (streetmap) (osm) (gmap) (bingmap) (streetview)
  • 8am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-6pm Sat; 11am-6pm Sun

Long-standing wholefood shop/cafe in Bloomsbury, just down the road from Russell Square Station.

The stock is pretty much the sort of thing you would expect from a wholefood shop — pulses, grains, nuts, dried fruit, herbs and spices, herbal teas, a small selection of Japanese foods — but very much towards the "useful and fairly-priced" end of the spectrum, rather than the "posh and expensive" end. Although (like most places of their ilk) they do have a small pills-and-powders aisle, the majority of the stock is actual food. There's a fridge out the back that has vegan and vegetarian cheeses, spreads, sausages, etc, and a freezer with various ready-meals and things.

As well as the shop aspect, they also have a totally vegetarian lunchtime takeaway buffet counter priced by weight (£1.15/100g as of June 2011). Kake used to get lunch from here often when working in the area (around 2003), and it was always fine — for a more recent opinion see Niamh's photos: 1, 2. There are a few tables outside if you want to eat-in (and there certainly used to be some inside seating as well).

Finally, they have an Ecover refill station which as of June 2011 offers refills for washing-up liquid, washing powder, and fabric conditioner.

Kake has been shopping here since around 2001, and it's really not changed at all in that time. On my January 2010 visit they had everything I was looking for at pretty decent prices: dried red chillies (80p for 50g), nutritional yeast flakes (£2.29), veggie sausage mix (£1.35), and tinned water chestnuts (69p). Service was as friendly and helpful as it has always been.

Accessibility: No step to get in, just a small ridge. Although there's not a vast amount of room inside, the aisles are relatively uncluttered.

See also:

Last visited by Kake, June 2011. Opening hours taken from a business card obtained on that visit.
OS X co-ord: 530176 OS Y co-ord: 182350 (Latitude: 51.525071 Longitude: -0.124927)
Last edited 2023-09-05 11:08:31 (version 5; diff). List all versions.