Arcade is a new food experience based on the ground floor of the Centre Point building a moment from Tottenham Court Road station. Riding the food hall zeitgeist, Arcade is right there on the vanguard of dining experiences in London, and describes itself as “design-led”. We visited and prepared some thoughts.
On approach, the facade is left unbranded, enabling the views from within the glass walled space to speak for itself. Inviting scenes from inside beckon you in for a closer look.
Stepping through the threshold, you are greeted by an open area that faces onto a central, round bar. Subtle under-counter lighting helps to create a warm ambiance and pulls focus towards where you’ll purchase your first drink. meanwhile, a digital display made from 12 separate screens is suspended from the ceiling. This creates a further anchor and an element of dynamism through the soft undulation of geometric patterns that also reflect of the polished concrete floor.
We visited through the day time, but we are confident that at night, this would have had a more dramatic impact.
Around the bar area is a flexible range of different types of seating types, including two and four-seat, bar stools and long tables for larger groups and those looking to work.
There are seven different kitchens on on the ground floor, three bars and we were particularly excited to see that East London indie bakery (and now, pasta joint) Pophams has taken up residency here, too.
Some food halls are designed to fit the maximum number of customers in the middle with the maximum number of vendors around the perimeter. This can create a bland design and experience. This is not the case at Arcade. Instead, each vendor is positioned in its own pocket, creating distinct look and feels for each, while adhering to the overall aesthetic.
This tension is a balancing act that we believe has been well considered.
After a refreshing lemonade at the bar, we made our way up to the mezzanine level. ‘The Loft’ is an incubation space that provides an opportunity for some of the city’s most exciting emerging culinary concepts to shine. We’d heard about Tōu, a first-of-its-kind katsu sando concept from the duo behind cult pop-up classic TĀTĀ Eatery. We ordered the classic pork sando and the Japanese pickles. Get the pickles, they’re unbelievably good.
The Loft is its own little world. More than the other areas of Arcade, it has a its own cohesive identity, with lacquered wood-panelled ceiling that complements the warm lighting design and mid-century furniture.
This is a cosier space where you would want to dwell for longer, perhaps with a book and a stiff drink, for a quiet meeting in an intimate setting or for a party.
Looking out over the ground floor, the architecture of the original building stands out, framing the carefully designed interior of the food hall below. The hight of the ceiling is really the start of the show.
Overall, we were impressed by Arcade Food Theatre. It was a good example of an emerging type of food hall, one where the assembly of food and drink offers is more than the sum of its parts.