I was very excited by the prospect of going to my first store launch. This is a unique occasion to mix with famous (or wannabe famous) people as well as stuff yourself of gorgeous free food up to the nose.
According to one of my friends who accompanied us prices in Whole Foods Market are not that high and comparable to a Waitrose.
The Whole Foods Market launch did not disappoint. I saw a few famous people (for instance, one of the chaps that went on the Apprentice was there). The crowd was a mixed of analysts (food and financial), journalists, writers and of course the wannabe famous. Obviously there were a few lost members of the public who must have befriended one of the higher class listed previously.
Gorgeous free food was handed out or to pick up. We even got a free goodies bag at the end. The queues for the serious sections were quite long even later after the start. Needless to say - most of the food from the freely available display had long disappeared. Lesson to learn: get there first!
The Whole Foods Market store layout is quite surprising with the main food section downstairs (you take the escalator as does your little trolley) They have a bulk section which provide lots of cereal, nuts and also fresh peanut butter .... in bulk, how healthy can this be? You will also find downstairs a health section with product names I have never heard off and functions I could not understand. Whole Foods Market also has invested in a health treatment boutique with trained staff ready to pin point all your physical deficiencies and hopefully make them all disappear in a wink of an eye.
On the main floor, fresh food such as cheeses and wines is available as well as vegetables and fruits. There is also fresh fish in abundance. You can find lots of different bread made locally. I suppose that counts for your daily allowance of fresh fruit and vegetables. You could buy the ingredients for your lunch picnic here every single day and not get an inch on your belt! Joking ;-)
Upstairs you will find proper food bars with seats and tables as well as a proper bar you know with booze (not just carrot juice). For instance Whole Foods Market have a great ice cream section which lots to choose from. Also the meat section is fabulous with great roasted meat to make up a fantastic sandwich. Of course they have to sell Japanese food, thus the expected Sushi bar (every food hall has to have one right?). However to redeem themselves they have a top nosh meze bar to die for.
According to one of my friends who accompanied us prices in Whole Foods Market are not that high and comparable to a Waitrose. However he was prompt to highlight that Waitrose has also high end stores in London who will offer Whole Foods Market a tough resistance. I must say I didn't look too much at the prices myself. I did tried a few wines which were ok for instance a nice little Chardonnay Latour. I also tried a few English cheeses with surprisingly bags of character (I am making reference to a method Camembert cheese).
We followed a little tour - organized by 2 of the lovely and most professional Whole Foods Market staff - sadly only part of the downstairs area was in the tour (they left out the chocolate section!).
What more is there to say? It was a great evening and the Whole Foods Market in the Kensington is truly amazing and provides a fantastic experience for any food lover. I would expect to be a great success!