Arcade Food Hall’s Opening Menu at Center Point: The First Look

It’s tough to open a new London food hall in the ghost of its former self. When Arcade Food Hall, née Theater, opened in 2019, it brought together a clutch of the city’s hottest restaurants of that year to one glossy, glassy building at Center 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 did not.

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 April 22nd.

The exterior of Arcade Food Hall at Center 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.

More nighttime views at Arcade

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.

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 peppers.”

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 flavors 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 flavor 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 fulfill their function: to work together as a spread.

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 savory 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.

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 savory 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.

Outside the new Arcade Food Hall in central London

The new Arcade Food Hall, in full swing.

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