Once a central London bus stop, Arcade Food Theatre is an impressive 12,500sq ft, Grade II-listed location filled with six independent kitchens, a coffee and bakery counter, three bars, an outdoor terrace and The Loft, an incubation-focused mezzanine kitchen space available for private hire.
Inspired by food markets from around the world, Arcade Food Theatre is an all-day and all-night space where guests can use the venue as they like. Large groups can take over one of the banquet-style tables, while those hitting a deadline can plug into one of many discreet power supplies and work away uninterrupted – it’s as much about groups as it is solo diners. We recommend going as a gang based purely on greed: trust us, you’ll want to try everything.
Each of the seven restaurants offer counter-top seating if you choose to dine at just one spot, otherwise guests can order from multiple sites, leave their phone number, and collect when their dishes are ready. When it comes to drinks, a central bar serves up interesting cocktails (we enjoyed the paprika-tinged ‘Japanese Highball’), craft beer, cocktails on tap and a decent selection of wine.
Architecturally, leading design studio Macaulay Sinclair has created a contemporary response to brutalist building Centre Point’s mid-century modernism: terrazzo, marble and polished concrete sit in contrast to hardwood and marmoleum details, giving off the vibe of a stylish 60s penthouse filled with modern touches. Two structural ‘pilottis’ – both sculptures themselves – bring the outdoors in, natural light floods through double-height ceiling-to-floor windows, and there’s giant cacti and plants galore. It’s a good-looking space.
Here’s what each of Arcade Food Theatre’s seven spots have to offer…
Anyone who’s queued for a table at Lina Stores will know that this concession is worth waiting for. A 75-year-old Soho institution, Lina Stores’ Soho eatery offers some of the capital’s best pasta and antipasti. At Arcade, look out for pici alla norcina (pici pasta, porcini mushrooms and umbrian sausage); pansoti con burrata (burrata-filled pansoti with Datterini tomato, toasted pinenuts and basil); and polpette di melanzane (Aubergine polpette served with a traditional San Marzano tomato sauce).
TŌU by TĀTĀ Eatery
From the same duo behind cult pop-up TĀTĀ Eatery comes TŌU, the latest project from Nuno Mendes-trained Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng. TŌU serves up Insta-famous katsu-sandos and Japanese rice bowls, and has taken the first residence in The Loft’s incubation kitchen space upstairs. You’re not allowed to leave without trying the ‘Iberian Katsu Sando’ (toasted brioche with slow-cooked and deep-fried Iberian pork neck, shredded cabbage, raspberry brown sauce, and xo shallot sauce), but we also enjoyed a fresh assortment of Korean-style pickles.
The latest project from Harts Group – the team behind Quo Vadis, Barrafina, The Drop and El Pastor – has launched at Arcade with an all-new menu of authentic Mexican dishes inspired by the founders’ time living and eating in Mexico City. We loved watching the chefs prepare the ‘Super Gringa’: a flour tortilla filled with charred Al Pastor pork, Oaxaca cheese, slaw, grilled pineapple, morita salsa and gem lettuce and the ‘Tacos Al Pastor’: 24-hour marinated pork shoulder served with caramelised pineapple, guacamole taquero salsa, white onion, coriander and cheese.
Arcade’s Oklava kitchen is the third space by Selin Kiazim and Laura Christie. Focusing on contemporary Turkish dishes, here the menu offers up delights such as skender (lamb and beef döner, grilled flatbread, tomato-chilli sauce, yoghurt and brown butter) and Black Sea pide (Black Sea cheese and butter pide with egg yolk, black garlic, za’atar). Make sure to leave room for the künefe, a crispy pistachio and cheese-stuffed Kadayif pastry, served with orange blossom syrup and kaymak, a Turkish-style clotted cream.
Flat Iron Workshop
From the team behind London’s hit Flat Iron steak restaurants comes the Flat Iron Workshop, a space dedicated to working on new dishes and specialist cuts. Showcasing some very special cuts of beef from responsible smaller producers in the UK, this will be the spot to head to come autumn thanks to its impressive charcoal grill. So far, the hero dish has to be the ‘Steak & Yorkshire’ – a beef dripping Yorkshire pudding filled with charcoal-grilled steak, pickled onions, fresh horseradish and English mustard mayo – and the wagyu dripping fries.
Casita Do Frango
Ahead of the group’s new Shoreditch opening in September, Algarvian restaurant Casa Do Frango’s latest project is this fun stall at Arcade. Casita Do Frango focuses on wood-charcoal grilled piri piri chicken, accompanied by other Portugese favourites exclusive to this site. We suggest opting for the frango (half a chicken brushed with your choice of piri piri, oregano or lemon and garlic); the charred cauliflower, served with maple syrup, piri piri, coriander yoghurt, pistachio; and the grilled chorizo with black olive mayo and guindilla peppers.
Chotto by Chotto Matte
Led by restauranteur Kurt Zdesar, Chotto is more accessible adaptation of the international Chotto Matte brand, offering an authentic taste of nikkei cuisine, an evolution of Japanese-Peruvian fare. Of the lot, we loved the nikkei sashimi (yellowtail, cherry tomatoes, jalapeño, coriander, yuzu truffle soy); ceviche (sea bass sashimi, cherry tomatoes, jalapeño, coriander and yuzu truffle soy) and the nikkei gyoza, filled with pork and prawn and served with aji amarillo and sweet potato puree.
An Islington institution, Pophams redefines the traditional bakery and coffee shop with artisanal pastries filled with unusual flavour combinations. At Arcade, the team has taken residence in the coffee and bakery counter on the ground floor. Expect to sample the likes of coconut custard and raspberry and nectarine and ginger custard Danishes; Marmite and cheese swirls and superlative almond croissants. Excellent coffee comes from local roasters Ozone.
Centre Point, 103 New Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road, WC1A 1DD: Open Monday-Saturday from 8am-11:30pm and Sunday from 10am-10:30pm