WORDS Robyn Alexander IMAGES Bwefar & de Boer
At Klein the Grocer, innovative South African restauranteur, retailer and cookbook author Neil Roake is livening up one of Amsterdam’s trendiest streets with plant-based food and fresh design.
“Modern Provisions For Modern Hippies” proclaims the glass frontage across this diminutive grocery store in Amsterdam’s trendy Haarlemmerdijk. Klein the Grocer sells only plant-based food, and there are few mainstream brands on the shelves. Instead, shoppers can expect products in beautiful packaging that also don’t contain any artificial additives, are mostly organic and are mainly from smallscale makers. Think Dutch seaweed “bacon”, Portuguese almond butter, fermented soft drinks and a large selection of fresh plant-based cheeses – oh, and don’t forget the Swedish-style cinnamon rolls, or the organic olive oil.
If the aesthetic at Klein the Grocer rings a few bells – the bold and bright colours, the fearless use of typography, the smart puns – don’t be surprised. This supercute new store is the latest brainchild of one of South Africa’s most innovative brand builders, Neil Roake. In his home town of Durbs-by-the-sea, Neil has run restaurants and coffee bars; a small (and perfect) hotel; and a retail store, The Space, which now has outlets countrywide and helped change the way South Africans shop.
Neil’s also a bestselling cookbook author (his Life’s a Beach Cottage series is into its third volume) and a branding expert who has been part of the team at marketing and advertising studio Modern Museum for 20 years. No surprise then, that when Neil does something new, it’s worth noting. Now based in Amsterdam and taking on a fresh challenge in a brand-new environment, he’s come up with a wonderful store in which to find a special culinary gift while also supplementing your own pantry with guilt-free goodies. The next time we’re in town, we’ll definitely be stopping by…
Klein the Grocer is situated at Haarlemmerdijk 26, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
For more information, visit kleinthegrocer.co.