One of London’s biggest and most eagerly anticipated restaurant collectives is now open. The Bloomberg Arcade in the City opened quietly last week — with Caravan and Vinoteca the first to open their doors. Homeslice open tomorrow (14 October) and Bleecker, the New York-style burger trader, will complete the first quartet of 10 new restaurants, when it opens mid-next week.
Koya Bar will follow in mid-November, in what is a phased launch plan for the development. The only other confirmed opening date in the arcade is Ahi Poke, which is slated for the end of next month. Brigadiers — the Indian pub concept by JKS Restaurants — will not open until 2018. Two of the three remaining slots, including the rumoured second restaurant from Michelin-starred A. Wong, are thought to be close to confirmation.
Pizza mini-chain — Homeslice, famed for their 20” seasonal pies, served either whole or by the slice — will open its fourth site on Monday next week. The official launch will be preceded by a 50%-off ‘soft-launch’ this weekend.
A sunken open kitchen and cocktail bar will give customers an eye level view of the staff; booth seating will provide an alternative dining experience. “As we expand our aim above all else is to maintain the culinary integrity and style of service that we already offer,” said founders Ry Jessup and Mark and Alan Wogan. “We will continue to keep things simple with the menu, bringing the City a slice of our signature offering of 20” pizzas, beer and wine, alongside seasonal cocktails.”
Pizzas will include signature margheritas; salami, rocket and Parmesan; as well as more inventive assemblies, such as lamb shoulder, savoy cabbage and sumac yoghurt; or kimchi, porcini cream and basil. Natural wines, prosecco on tap, and a rotating selection of London craft beers will make up the drinks menu alongside seasonal cocktails.
Homeslice first arrived on the London scene with a hand-built wood fired oven in the courtyard of London Fields Brewery in 2011. The brand’s first permanent site opened in Neal’s Yard in 2013.
Caravan also opened its fourth site last week, bringing its so-called “well-travelled” all-day menu and fresh coffee to the City. The location is vast, spread across three levels, with a mezzanine and outdoor terrace.
The restaurant, which says it "draws on inspiration from around the world" and commits to using the "best of local and seasonal produce", will bring new dishes and a changed brunch menu to Caravan City.
A new section of the menu will concentrate on ferments, raw salads and grains. Dishes such as "fermented daikon, black salt and pickled ginger" will feature, as well as "whipped morcilla, house roti and herbs."
Caravan City will keep its pizzas — giving this weekend’s opener Homeslice a touch of competition — and also house a “shrub station,” where diners can create their own cocktails.
Elsewhere, wine bar Vinoteca, inspired by those in Spain and Italy, opened its sixth site in Bloomberg Arcade.
The restaurant and shop has a selection of around 200 wines from 21 countries alongside a food pairings that regularly change. Previous lists have won awards, so the City's bankers may well be in for a treat. A 'special ledger' containing "extraordinary and uncommon wines" will suit: special vintages exclusive to the City bar's cellar include a 1989 Vouvray ‘Le Haut Lieu’ Sec, and a tellingly rare 1996 Gattinara Vallana from Italy. These are not cheap wines.
Vinoteca City has gone all out on its interiors, too. Which is to be expected, given the geography of the place; brushed brass, high-stretching mirrors, a mezzanine (is there a theme, here?) and an outdoor terrace (there is a theme.) White tiles front a curved bar, with green leather seats not a world away from those found in one of many Ivy restaurants.
Brunch includes ubiquitous winners such as eggs on sourdough, lots of avocado, and French toast: that notoriously difficult weekend trade? Acknowledged. Also available is a dish listed as "cured Var salmon, fine herbs and Riesling essence (yikes!) with soda bread."
In the 'food and wine' section of the menu, City favourites such as oysters, langoustines and rock oysters come into play. Mains — all sub-£20 — include cod and lentils, and roast guinea fowl.
Stay tuned for more updates soon.