This store isn’t exclusively vegetarian but, TRUST ME, it’s so good you won’t mind the chorizos hanging out in the corner of the fridge.
I was introduced to Palm2 first by my friend, but then I moved away from Hackney for a month (one scary month) and, obviously, I forgot about this place. When I moved back to Hackney in March, I was reminded of this place by my boyfriend. It’s situated on the corner of Lower Clapton road, across the road from Clapton Pond. Since I remember the old Clapton (when it was unattractive), this still amazes me. The place is heaven.
First of all, it’s pretty: wooden floors, wooden stalls, cans stacked on floors and in unexpected formations (pyramids of canned plum tomatoes, anyone?). They also properly decorate the place. Try going here after a faceless bright-lighted Tesco experience (there actually is a Tesco just 1 minute’s walk down the road) and you will cry and reevaluate your whole life. And then never want to leave.
Second, the choice of food is amazing. Million different kinds of tofu (ok, ok, not million, but I counted at least five different ones, how many can you find in Tesco?), paneer, fresh greens and a great choice of fruit and veg, a tall stall of rare spices and herbs, a craft beer selection and an impressive wine corner. The deli counter is so good I felt like I was about to faint when I first saw it: many different kinds of olives, cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and so on. All this added on top of an average supermarket selection of groceries.
They also bake their own bread (wholemeal rye is very good, with a crispy crust and tender middle), croissants and other pastries (they are still warm in the morning and early afternoon), have a selection of cooked meals (with an Italian and Middle Eastern twist), and they bake sourdough pizzas to take away on the weekends.
They say they have lots of events taking place at the store too, from cooking classes to the World Cup screenings, from theatre performances and ukulele Wednesdays to community suppers.
"The painting is of the Palm 2 grocers and off licence on Lower Clapton road. The evening I made the drawing of the location, was one of those all too rare, beautiful balmy English summer moments, which seem to be eternal. The City had been heated up all day, it was friday evening around 6 pm, people were beginning to switch off from work, collect their groceries from the fabulous palm 2 shop and wander about a bit with Ice creams. My ambition for these drawings of the High Street shops is to capture something of the interactive spaces that shop entrances create; while the street goes up and down in a straight line, the shops, like the Palm 2 especially allows for a different flow. There is the psychological threshold between inside and out, and the ownership of the shop space and special care that shop owners either display or lack, flavours each part of the High Street. One man came up to me while I was drawing and said that he liked the drawing, and that the Palm 2 and the newly opened Clapton Hart pub had made sense of living in the area for twenty years. High streets make places to call home in the way faceless out of town shopping malls can never do."