clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Persian bread, hot chicken, wings... Arcade has it all.
A spread of dishes at the new Arcade Food Hall in Centre Point.

Filed under:

Come Play at the Arcade

Exciting new kitchens and a smoother ordering system from JKS Restaurants make the Centre Point food hall a London dining destination for 2022

It’s tough to open a new London food hall in the ghost of its former self. When Arcade Food Hall, née Theatre, opened in 2019, it brought together a clutch of the city’s hottest restaurants of that year to one glossy, glassy building at Centre Point, near Tottenham Court Road. It should have worked; the food was there. A clunky ordering system — and then the small matter of a COVID-19 pandemic — meant it didn’t.

Tough as it may be, JKS Restaurants — the group behind a suite of the city’s best, (Michelin-starred), and most innovative kitchens — has done it. The new new Arcade Food Hall is less of a collection of kitchens and more of a panoptic restaurant in its own right. A new ordering system, with table service and no queueing, makes dining feel effortless, while the range of food on offer (and the fully fledged southern Thai restaurant upstairs from chef-grower-maven Luke Farrell) makes it as suited to a dinner occasion as to a soaker-upper after a night out in the West End. The music is Now That’s What I Call 90s pop, dance, and hip-hop. The room is busy. The vibe shift? It’s good.

Take a look around, before it opens on 22 April.

The exterior of Arcade Food Hall at Centre Point, with the name written in red capital letters, next to reflective windows
The minimalist signage that greets would-be diners, reflecting the traffic on New Oxford Street.
Two arcade games under a small raised shelf
Downstairs, arcades at Arcade.
Inside the new Arcade Food Hall, at night, with diners sitting and moving around
The space feels considerably buzzier than its previous incarnation, especially at night.
Michaël Protin
An illuminated central bar laden with bottles of alcohol, framed by large groups and booths and tables.
That’s aided by a much-improved ordering system, which lets diners order from their tables more like a traditional restaurant; they can also pick a counter from one of the kitchens.
Michaël Protin/Eater London
A food menu for Arcade Food Hall, featuring its brands: Hero, Shatta and Toum, Manna, Sushi Kamon, Bebek Bebek, Arcade Provisions, Bombas and Parr.
Here are those kitchens.
Four skewers of beef satay over the grill
At Bebek Bebek, the vibe is Indonesian, kicking off with a darkly grilled, broodingly rich beef satay.
The finished dish is fragrant, sticky, and probably demands a reorder.
It’s joined by two “smashed” poultry dishes from the island of Java and the cities of Yogyakarta and Surabaya: bebek goreng, here. and ayam penyet. The former is smashed duck leg, first confit...
The latter its chicken counterpart. The crisp, salty batter crumble on this dish is a particularly clever touch; both use cooling herbs and sweet-sour-salty sambals to cut through the meat.
Blue and white branding for Manna at Arcade Food Hall
At Manna, developed with Bake Street co-founder Feroz Gajia, the focus is on Americana.
A smashburger patty on the flattop grill
Smashburgers, a cornerstone of Gajia’s menu in north London, do good time on the flattop.
An open burger bun being dressed with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and pickles
Pickles, mustard, and ketchup keep it simple.
A Nashville hot chicken burger in a diner-style blue basket
They’re joined by Nashville hot chicken burgers and tenders, both lurid carmine with an oil made from cayenne and a “panoply of paprikas.”
A diner-style blue basket of Nashville chicken tenders
Pickles on the side.
Cutting in to a jalapeño popper chicken burger, again in a blue diner-style basket
There’s also the jalapeño popper chicken burger, pleasingly sweetened from some hot honey.
A yellow diner-style basket filled with chicken wings, coated in makhani sauce.
At Hero, the focus is on the chatpatta flavours of Delhi and the wider Punjab, with many dishes enveloped in makhani sauce heady with fenugreek, tomato, and kabab masala.
Cutting into a butter chicken pau, in a yellow diner-style basket
A butter chicken pau joins the wings, whose flavour profile and composition will be familiar to fans of Brigadiers, in the City.
A waiter carries a stacked tandoori gobhi aloo pau, dusted in chilli garlic salt.
A stacked tandoori gobhi aloo pau, dusted in chilli garlic salt.
Shawarma turns on a traditional vertical spit
At Shatta and Toum, developed with Berenjak chef Kian Samyani, it’s shawarma time.
A waiter carrying barbari bread and cacik
It comes along with barbari, seasoned with za’atar, and a reinterpretation of cacik, the cucumber and yoghurt dip.
A spread of Persian bread, hummus, Indonesian duck, and chicken wings
And the identity of each kitchen is strong enough that all the dishes fulfil their function: to work together as a spread.
Michaël Protin
Sprinkling garnish over a very large sushi roll
With bejewelled sushi rolls from Sushi Kamon and hot sandwiches from Margot’s Pride rounding out the savoury offer...
Two architectural jellies, one red and white, the other yellow
And architectural jellies inspired by classic desserts — here strawberries with cream, and lemon meringue — bringing up the sweet end.
A red jelly, topped with vanilla ice cream, with strawberries and pieces of meringue alongside
They bring together a brown butter biscuit base (no, not now Gregg Wallace) with blancmange, jelly, and ice cream.
A stack of enamelware, in white, blue, and pink
Upstairs is Plaza Khao Gaeng, Luke Farrell’s meticulous homage to regional cuisine of southern Thailand.
A waiter carries a blue bowl of southern Thai curry
The dishes carrying their cargo.
A chef receives order tickets at a pass.
Tickets coming off the line. Plaza is a separate restaurant of its own, but the new design of the floor below — with sit-down service and at-table menus — makes it feel congruous with the whole development.
Looking down at diners sitting at tables, bathed in cool white light, dark outside.
(Enjoy the view on the way up.)
The open kitchen at Plaza, illuminated by strip lighting designed to mimic its inspiring counterparts in Thailand.
The open kitchen at Plaza, illuminated by strip lighting designed to mimic its inspiring counterparts in Thailand.
Michaël Protin
A spread of southern Thai curries, some topped with fried egg, on a blue tablecloth
The structure of the menu invites sharing the intensely sour, hot, and savoury gaeng over plates of rice. Some are dry and rich, like a khua kling of pork, chilli, pepper and turmeric; others, like a gaeng som of fish, tamarind, garcinia, and green papaya, are puckering.
Michaël Protin
Outside the new Arcade Food Hall in central London
The new Arcade Food Hall, in full swing.