JKS Restaurants will reopen Arcade Food Hall, née Arcade Food “Theatre”, at Centre Point this November. With eight new kitchens, a new independent Thai restaurant on the mezzanine level, a counter dining experience, and a standalone bar and outdoor dining terrace, Arcade is going full reinvention, having been closed since March 2020 just eight months after it opened with massive expectations as London’s hottest new food hall in July 2019.
Ultimately Arcade never really took off, and didn’t have the time to ride out the choppy waters of the early days, which were marked by a savage review by the Guardian’s Grace Dent. The so-called, would-be-infamous “£14 ham sandwich” — Tou’s Iberico pork katsu sando, and one of the best dishes on offer — was in the reality the least of the problems for a space whose ordering style and atmosphere were the main barriers to flourishing.
“This will be the first venue to showcase JKS Restaurants’ philosophy of creating multiple unique brands and championing emerging food and drink talent,” the group said in a statement released to press today, 28 July.
Replacing a suite of 2019’s hypest restaurant and cafe brands — from TāTā Eatery’s TOU, via Tacos El Pastor, to Popham’s, Flank, Oklava, and Lina Stores — JKS, which is not yet publicly announcing the chefs and restaurant brands behind each concession, will include food from seven different cuisines:
- Southern Thai food
- Indonesian street food, including fried chicken, duck, and satay
- North Indian fast food with variations on butter chicken
- Spanish tapas
- Middle-Eastern shawarma
- Japanese sushi/omakase/nori snacks
- American-style fried chicken and “smashburgers”
In addition, a daily provisions counter serving coffee, lunchtime sandwiches and pastries is likely to feature rotating guest chefs, while the new operators promise a separate “immersive dessert experience from the U.K.’s most exciting confectionery connoisseurs.”
As well as curating a whole new group of chefs and food operators, JKS is attempting to overcome some of the operational challenges and service bottle-necks encountered by the first iteration of the Arcade Food Hall, by “showcasing a new style in service experience where all food and drink can be ordered direct to guests’ tables from the different kitchens,” they said.
Previously, guests would queue for food at each concession and either at that brand’s counter. Arcade 2.0 will have floating service staff who take guests orders and serve food from the various kitchens, while guests can also order food through an app when onsite. The idea being that “customers can choose dishes from the different Arcade kitchens to collect in one order.”
Jyotin Sethi, chief executive at JKS Restaurants said the group was delighted to finally reveal that the company he runs with his brother Karam and sister Sunaina were behind the reinvention of Arcade at Centre Point. “We’ve always had the aspiration to create a venue that hosts a breadth of creative new brands as well as fostering up and coming talent within the hospitality industry,” he said. “Arcade is the perfect space for us to do this, both with the physical site and through London’s first digital food hall.”
Having created two proprietary, now Michelin-starred, Indian restaurants in west London, for the better part of the last half decade JKS has established itself as one of the leading restaurant groups and investors in the capital. It has backed and in some cases facilitated the openings of Lyle’s, Kitchen Table, Sabor, Bao, Berenjak, as well as delivery brands Motu, Rice Error, and Ambassador General Store, the latter a completely new business created during the November 2020 coronavirus lockdown.
JKS’s Joytin Sethi told Eater in January that its prospects for 2020 were bright — that while the pandemic had been challenging for the company and its staff, it had also presented a number of opportunities. Since then, it has announced a brand new Bao restaurant in Shoreditch, the details of an ambitious fine-dining project in Mayfair, and now — with more to come — what is set to become one of the hypest central London openings for years.
More soon on the details of those behind the kitchens and the mezzanine restaurant.