Something very exciting has happened to New Oxford Street. As if from nowhere, Arcade Food Theatre has sprung up on the ground floor of the iconic Grade II-listed Centre Point building and it’s shaping up to be pretty HOT.
Until recently, London was seriously lagging when it came to food halls in comparison to our European friends across the pond. Then all of a sudden we had Mare Street Market, Market Halls and Spitalfield Market’s Kitchens.
However, this sexy opening looks set to beat them all hands down. Arcade Food Theatre is a very stylish all-day affair, housing seven open kitchens and a further three bars, with cocktails on tap. Aside from the counter seating at each kitchen, there’s the main hall which is surely going to attract the after-work crowd, coming to let off some steam. Is this just an easier way to eat out now? It’s certainly more democratic. There’s no fear of splitting an expensive bill when you only had a starter and payday is still weeks off. It’s also easier to include people’s (many!) dietary requirements, letting everyone find a cuisine to suit them. And it beats going to an old man’s pub where the only thing on offer in way of sustenance is a packet of pork scratchings. It’s particularly exciting to see in an area that until recently has been mostly scaffolding.
We were specifically here to check out Pastorcito, a new concept from the team behind El Pastor. Like all of the open kitchens in the ‘theatre’, the menu is concise with a focus on Mexican heirloom corn, which is made into tortillas in-house and forms the base of all tacos served.
Veggies will appreciate the fresh peas, charred corn, jalapeño and Mexican oregano filling but our favourite was the Baja fish tacos made with corona-battered seabass, shredded cabbage, fresh salsa and coriander. All the tacos come in pairs, whilst the ‘gringas’ are huge juicy beasts that we’d highly recommend sharing if you’ve any hope of trying any of the other kitchens. There are just two – one meaty, one veggie – but they’re essentially a burrito minus the rice. In our case, the flour tortilla wrap was stuffed with freshly carved carne pastor pork, grilled pineapple, cheese, slaw and crunchy gem lettuce.
Joining these guys on the line-up is Oklava (who we adore for their modern Turkish-Cypriot dishes), Casita do Frango (a mini version of London Bridge’s piri-piri restaurant Casa do Frango), pasta aficionados Lina Stores, Flat Iron Workshop (a Flat Iron Steak spin-off serving steak in a Yorkshire pudding among other things) and Chotto with ceviche, sushi and other Japanese-Peruvian fare.
On top of all that you’ll find Popham’s coffee and bakery counter, three bars and an outdoor terrace, as well as an incubation-focused mezzanine space known as The Loft, showcasing the city’s emerging culinary concepts – currently housing TŌU by TĀ TĀ Eatery serving one of London’s most Instagrammed dish of late – the Iberian Katsu Sando.
Don’t leave without getting a chocolate & cherry old fashioned for the road.