Owners Margot Henderson and her business partner Melanie Arnold are to open a cafe, restaurant and bar at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) near Buckingham Palace in October.
The project will be somewhat less secluded than the original Rochelle Canteen, which the pair opened behind the walls of an old schoolyard in Shoreditch in 2006. The restaurant has won plaudits for its unfussy menu and looks set to keep its laid-back vibe in St James’s.
Henderson and head chef Ben Coombs are planning to serve pumpkin soup; pheasant and trotter pie; and a whole pig’s head to share. The restaurant will open from 11am-11pm every day except Monday, with ‘affordable’ daily changing specials paired with a glass of wine.
“The Canteen here will be a place for people to meet for dinner, share a drink and and stay into the evening once the exhibitions close and cinemas dim,” says Henderson.
“Sometimes the food will reflect the exhibitions, sometimes the seasons will be the inspiration, but the aim will always be to feed people first.”
Arnold’s son, Fin Spiteri, will head up the bar with a focus on ‘classic drinks’ and snacks including pork belly and kimchi buns; and Montgomery cheese and chutney toasted sandwiches.
Henderson and Arnold are also taking over two Grade I listed rooms on the first floor of the Institute, which be available to hire for weddings, dinners and parties, with the team handling the catering.
"For me the ICA is an organisation, a social body, and this social body needs to be fed – and it needs to be fed well, fed by the same passion and integrity that you will find in our programmes," says Stegan kalmar, director of the ICA.
Rochelle Canteen's Shoreditch restaurant was ranked 75th in the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards top 100 list earlier this year.