1. Bloomberg Arcade
What is it: Running through the site of Bloomberg’s new European headquarters, the covered pedestrian arcade will comprise 10 independent restaurants and is being billed as a “culinary destination unlike any other in the City of London”.
What’s its USP: Bloomberg’s restaurant writer Richard Vines has turned ‘restaurant curator’ for the project, in consultation with fellow critic and restaurant adviser Nick Lander, and both are promising to create something a bit out of the ordinary. “We didn’t want another sandwich shop, another coffee bar; we wanted something original, people with new ideas and fresh approaches to food,” says Vines. “We wanted diversity: cuisines from different parts of the world and different styles of service. Choosing the restaurants was like playing a food version of fantasy football and we’ve got some of the biggest names in the business.” That said, the announced line up isn’t that dissimilar to many of the other developments opening in the capital.
Who’s coming in: Bleecker, Koya, Caravan, Vinoteca, Ahi Poké and Homeslice will all open new outposts of their popular brands here. A new name to watch out for, however, is Brigadiers, a fresh concept from JKS Restaurants – the company behind the likes of Gymkhana and Hoppers. It is being described as a classic Indian barbecue restaurant and drinking tavern inspired by a traditional Indian army mess. French chef Pierre Koffmann, whose restaurant Koffmann’s at The Berkeley closed at the end of last year, has been linked to one of the vacant sites as has Sourced Market. Andrew Wong, chef-patron at A. Wong in Victoria, is also understood to be looking at the development to launch a more casual Chinese restaurant. Should these come on board, Vines and Lander will truly have succeeded in their aim for originality.
2. Coal Drops Yard/Granary Square
What is it: Built in the 1850s, Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross takes its name from the drops that received and sorted coal as it arrived from the north of England. The huge multi-site, multi-level development includes five separate building areas, the fourth of which has been earmarked for restaurant use and comprises space over two levels as well as three other units.
What’s its USP: According to the developer, King’s Cross is the largest mixed-use development in single ownership in central London for more than 150 years. It’s certainly a development with scale and, therefore, one likely to attract a lot of customer interest once open. Restaurants already trading nearby include Dishoom, Caravan, Granger & Co and Vinoteca.
Who’s coming in: Columbo Group, which operates the Blues Kitchen and Jazz Cafe venues, is taking the site below Universal Music’s headquarters and Tom Dixon is taking the space previously set aside for Jamie Oliver at the Fish & Coal buildings. There’s been talk of the Hart brothers potentially taking a site at the development, with their El Pastor taqueria most likely for the location, although a potential new brand from the pair could also materialise. The team behind Padella and Trullo have also been linked to Coal Drops Yard. Chef Stevie Parle, who has close links with Tom Dixon – with whom his Craft and Dock Kitchen restaurants are in partnership – is also expected to join forces with the designer once again for a restaurant project in the development. Richard Caring has snapped up Bruno Loubet’s Grain Store on Granary Square, opposite the development, for an as yet unnamed Caprice Holdings project.
3. Battersea Power Station
What is it: A consortium of Malaysian investors bought the site for £400m in 2012 and is turning it into a huge development that comprises office space – Apple will be the largest office tenant – retail space and luxury apartments. It is its riverside Circus West Village complex, however, located between the power station and the 200-acre Battersea Park, which houses the restaurants, that is of most interest to restaurateurs.
What’s its USP: Battersea Power Station is one of London’s most iconic and loved buildings. Its waterside location gives it the edge on other developments in the capital, although it means people will have to make the dreaded journey south of the river to visit.
Who’s coming in: The first phase restaurants include Darwin & Wallace’s new bar and restaurant No29, cocktail bar and restaurant Pedler Cru, Duckroad, a sister restaurant to Soho’s Ducksoup, seafood specialist Wright Brothers, bakery and café Flour Power City Bakery, The Coffeeworks Project, wine shop and bar Vagabond, butchers Allens of Battersea and Ben’s Canteen. Francesco Mazzei will also open Fiume (Italian for river) at the development, his third joint venture with D&D Restaurants. It is also home to the first UK site of Copenhagen-based pizza restaurant group Mother, which has already opened its doors. Nahm chef David Thompson has even been linked to Battersea, with speculation that he could open a site under his fledgling Thai street food concept Long Chim here.
4. BBC Television Centre
What is it: A £1bn development on the site of the former BBC Television Centre that is due for completion next year. The site has been home to Pergola on the Roof, which offers a changing roster of restaurant residencies on the top of Television Centre, since May last year, but this will end next month.
What’s its USP: Television Centre is part of a cluster of west London developments that include Westfield London and Westfield Phase Two, White City Place – some 1.5m sq ft of offices and retail for new workers and the BBC’s remaining 3,000-strong workforce – and Berkeley St James, a collection of new apartment buildings around a new public park opposite Television Centre, meaning that there should be a lot of footfall in the area.
Who’s coming in: Indian restaurant Kricket has taken on the site that was previously set to be Salt Yard Group’s next restaurant. It will be joined by pizza brand Homeslice, Patty & Bun and a second site for D&D London’s Bluebird Café. Soho House is set to open its Italian restaurant Cecconi’s here as well as a hotel, private members’ club and gym.
5. White Collar Factory
What is it: Located by Old Street’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’, White Collar Factory is a hub for creative companies and tech firms. It has 237,000sq ft of new office space and includes the Old Street Yard, which will contain three restaurants, totalling 10,000sq ft.
What’s its USP: Developer Derwent was keen to fill its three restaurant spaces with less obvious names and, judging by those rumoured to be going in, has succeeded.
Who’s coming in: Nuno Mendes, executive chef at Chiltern Firehouse and Taberna do Mercado in Spitalfields, is set to launch a venture at the development. It is understood that the former Viajante chef could be looking to bring his outdoor street food market project The Long Table to the scheme. Foley’s, the world food-inspired restaurant from ex-Palomar sous chef Mitz Vora is also set to open its second site in the development and in addition speciality coffee roaster, wholesaler and retailer Workshop Coffee is expected to join the scheme.
6. One Tower Bridge
What is it: A mixed use development of apartments, commercial and cultural space.
What’s its USP: Located at the foot of Tower Bridge the development has pride of place opposite UNESCO world heritage site, the Tower of London.
Who’s coming in: The Ivy and Welsh chef Tom Simmons have already opened at the development, and they will be followed by Rosa’s Thai Cafe, which will occupy 1,250sq ft on Duchess Walk – the development’s new pedestrianised street – and The Coal Shed, the Brighton steak restaurant that is making its way up to the capital for site number two. Dominique Ansell Bakery was rumoured to be going into the development at one point but no longer plans to, but another US import, vegan restaurant By Chloe, has now been linked to it.
7. Westgate Oxford
What is it: Four years and £440m in the making, this 800,000sq ft retail-led mixed use development will have a 142,000s q ft flagship John Lewis as its anchor department store and will provide space for 125 shops, restaurants, cafés and leisure outlets, including a five-screen Curzon cinema, when it opens on 24 October.
What’s its USP: Westgate Oxford is promising to create an ‘enhanced retail core’ that will reduce ‘leakage’ out of the city and encourage shoppers to stay for longer periods.
Who’s coming in: The developers have blended large international chains such as Nando’s, Comptoir Libanais and Le Pain Quotidien with smaller, predominantly London-based groups that are starting to take tentative steps outside the capital, including Cinnamon Kitchen, Dirty Bones, Pizza Pilgrims, Polpo, The Breakfast Club, Benito’s Hat and Shoryu.
8. Tunsgate Quarter
What is it: A development in Guildford comprising 18 retail units and eight restaurants scheduled to open in October.
What’s its USP: Tunsgate Quarter will connect the High Street with Castle Street and has its own car park with 64 spaces.
Who’s coming in: Despite opening in only a few months, The Ivy Brasserie remains the only restaurant group to have confirmed it is opening on site. Sticks n Sushi was in talks to open there, but is thought to have pulled out of the scheme.
9. St Andrew Square
What is it: £75m project at 3-8 St Andrew Square in Edinburgh that is a joint venture between the Standard Life Investments Pooled Pension Property Fund and developer Peveril Securities.
What’s its USP: Before development started the site had lain vacant for five years. Much of the square is home to offices of banks and insurance companies, making it one of the major financial centres in Scotland, while its close proximity to the city centre is good for footfall.
Who’s coming in: The development has been dogged with false starts, with four of the announced seven restaurants – STK, Big Easy, Iberica and Busaba Eathai – pulling out after agreeing on sites. Dishoom is already open there, as is Drake and Morgan’s The Refinery and Wagamama and they will be joined by The Ivy Collection, and a £1m, three-floor Vapiano in the autumn. Gaucho will be the last to open there, with a site in November.
10. Thomas Neal’s Warehouse
What is it: Billed as a 21,000sq ft flagship retail opportunity this warehouse comprises a 12,000sq ft ground floor level and 9,000sq ft basement floor with has four main entrances.
What’s its USP: Sites of this scale in London’s West End are few and far between. Add to that the fact that it is located in one of the most vibrant areas of central London within Seven Dials, and that nearby Tottenham Court Road underground station is being redeveloped as part of Crossrail, with passenger numbers using the station set to rise from 55m to 73m a year, and it’s a compelling offer.
Who’s coming in: That’s the big question. It is understood that a number of businesses have shown interest in the site, including London Union, which is currently on the hunt for a location for its planned flagship market in the heart of London.
This is a web version of an article that first appeared in the September issue of Restaurant magazine, the leading title for the UK's restaurant industry. For more features, comment, interviews and in-depth analysis of the restaurant sector subscribe to Restaurant magazine here.