In all the time I lived near Brunswick, Alara was known to me simply as 'that organic store'. P suggested going there for lunch, so I arrived rather curious as to what they had to offer. There's a vegetarian buffet where your plate or take-out box is priced by weight, and students with valid ID are given a discount on all purchases including the fresh food. The store itself turned out to be great for a wander, and I ended up stuck at the soap section while waiting for P to arrive.
The lunch-time crowd is quite substantial and in-store tables are snapped up almost immediately, so we ended up braving the winds at the semi-sheltered seating outside after we got our grub. Lunch offerings include a hot and cold section, and the plates provided are quite wide so I ended up piling on quite a fair bit of things. My plate looks like a hot mess, but trust me, most of it tasted great.
The vegetable lasagna was the weakest link - although I took first cut out of a freshly prepared pan, it got cold and hard very quickly once I took it outside, and the lasagna sheets were a tad squelchy. Everything else though, was excellent. The ratatouille included huge chunks of sweet aubergine, and went surprisingly well with the hummus, which was creamy and smooth. I had no idea what was stuffed into the grape leaves, but those were good too. The tzatziki was really refreshing, as was my massive pile of cucumber salad. But what I enjoyed the most was the very moreish orange and fennel salad, which had great crunch.
I felt completely stuffed but ridiculously healthy after lunch, and was rather pleased. Will go back soon to get a bar of soap and maybe another meal.