Discover Benelux, Issue 35, November 2016

Page 27

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Rembrandtplein, Utrechtsestraat & Leidseplein Photo: Wij Zijn Kees

Photo: Teska Overbeeke

Heaven of greens TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

A foodie heaven, a revolutionary health movement, a salad bar; SLA is quickly conquering Amsterdam and far beyond by turning heavenly greens into salads, soups, and juices. The selection is so delicious you would almost forget they are healthy. ‘Eat, Share, Live’: SLA’s philosophy is raised from the belief that knowledge about food must be shared, leading to a world that is healthier and more conscious towards food. “Besides organic, local and healthy food, we are dedicated to accessibility,” says Jop van de Graaf, co-owner of SLA. “With SLA, we want to make healthy food easily accessible to everyone.” SLA’s menu serves a broad range of ready-to-eat salads, DIY salads, juices, soups, and snacks. Dishes are hallmarked by the proof that healthy eating is anything but boring. Think sweet potato falafel salad, pumpkin bread with walnuts, or broccoli soup with mung beans. You can either take away or eat in, but make sure you properly take in the impressive yet calming interior, with the salad bar

(made from the frame of a greenhouse) as SLA’s staple. The great value of the dishes enhances SLA’s accessibility even more.

laughs. “But SLA certainly proved its success. In that way, we might have inspired others.”

The menu changes often, with each seasonal and organic product coming from local suppliers (of which a list is available online). “In line with our ethos, we support local farmers and businesses. It is only things that do not grow in the Netherlands, like avocados, that are sourced abroad.”

After winning over the Netherlands, SLA is now carefully looking at international expansion, and healthy initiatives are created every day. “At SLA LAB, monthly talks and workshops are organised and we will shortly be launching a three-day detox package, delivered at home, with every meal already prepared. Easy, healthy, and really delicious. Because in the end, that is the most important thing.”

So how did it all start? “SLA is born out of necessity,” asserts Van de Graaf. “Like many others, I sometimes had trouble finding the time to cook healthily. Alternatives were fast food, or take outs. From that idea, SLA was born.” SLA’s first branch opened in 2013 in Amsterdam, but quickly the concept reached far past the city borders. Today, SLA counts eight branches all over the Netherlands, and five more are opening in the coming year. “You definitely notice that people have opened up to a healthier lifestyle. Is it a coincidence this movement started after SLA opened its doors? I don’t think we founded the movement,” Van de Graaf

www.ilovesla.com Photo: Teska Overbeeke

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 27