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Inside the Restaurant Taking Art Gallery Dining to the Next Level

Rochelle Canteen at the ICA is a new template for operators entering public spaces

Rochelle Canteen ICA London by Margot Henderson is one of the best spots for brunch in London
Rochelle Canteen at the ICA

Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold run one of London’s most revered (and semi-secret) restaurants: Rochelle Canteen, on Arnold Circus in Shoreditch, has been a place to eat for those in the industry or in-the-know, an exhibition of simple, seasonal British cooking. Earlier this month the duo brought the concept to a bigger, altogether more public space at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) on The Mall, off Trafalgar Square. The two locations could not be more contrasting, yet the design, ethos and food remains at ease in its new location.

The original Rochelle is housed in a conservatory in the grounds of an old school (now studio spaces) in a walled garden, a retreat from Shoreditch’s main street; here, at the ICA, on the red road that runs from London’s busiest roundabout to Buckingham Palace, the white-washed space, with flashes of primary colours, rests quietly, bathed in natural light.

Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold

It is notable not only because of Rochelle’s reputation, the operators’ connection to Fergus Henderson’s pioneering British restaurant St. John (both Margot, Fergus’ wife, and Arnold were part of the opening team), but also because going into a space with an existing infrastructure and captive market might just be a move made by more and more of the city’s best and most established restaurateurs in these uncertain times.

For sure, Rochelle Canteen sets a new benchmark for gallery dining in London.

Here’s a look inside:

The bar
Communal dining next to the kitchen

The dishes are an exhibition in simple British cooking

Radishes with whipped cod’s roe and celery salt
Deep-fried sprats with tartare sauce
Brussel sprout tops with suet-crusted pheasant/trotter pie
Rochelle Canteen [official photo]

A takeaway counter caters to the ICA staff

A counter with sandwiches, tarts and coffee

Rochelle Canteen at the ICA is open now.

St. John

26 Saint John Street, , England EC1M 4AY 020 7251 0848 Visit Website

Rochelle Canteen

16 Playground Gardens, , England E2 7FA 020 3928 8328 Visit Website