Shoreditch stalwart Rochelle Canteen is about to whackamole at the other end of town, and in a very different venue. Famous for creating their school bike-shed restaurant in the heart of E2, Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold are bringing their ‘no rules, and everything will be great – we like parties and we like to have fun’ mantra to the Institute of Contemporary Arts.
The ICA is currently in a state of creative flux, with a new director in Stefan Kalmár who is anxious to reclaim the organisation as a centre for radical culture and progressive thought, and bringing in Rochelle is a natural move as part of this programme.
Henderson and Head Chef Ben Coombs have developed a menu that includes pumpkin soup, braised cuttlefish and fennel, quail escabeche, pheasant and trotter pie as well as an old spot chop with chard and lentils and a feast of whole Pig’s head to share. Herbivores needn’t panic, there will be plenty of veggie dishes including roast beetroot, red onion, soft boiled egg and spinach.
This is all part of a wider series of changes that have seen the fabric of the famous venue stipped bare to reveal original elements of Jane Drew’s modernist architecture. Upstairs the dining room will have two large skylights and the inclusion of three large windows overlooking St James’ and a raised podium with an indoor garden.
And in a nod to the inclusive ethos of the ICA Melanie Arnold’s son, Fin Spiteri, will be joining to run the bar. He has designed a concise wine and cocktail list, with beers from The House of Peroni and an all day bar menu of snacks from pork belly and kimchi buns to Montgomery cheese and chutney toasted sandwiches. The bar and cafe will share a counter, with Alvar Aalto serving Caravan coffee and homemade daily bakes.
If this is the level of work that’s going into the catering we think that the general changes afoot at the ICA under Kalmar must be pretty exciting.
Rochelle Canteen: Opens October 2017, Institute of Contemporary Arts Mall, St. James’s, SW1Y 5AH, www.ica.art
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Phil is Deputy Editor at The Handbook. A Northerner cast away in South London he loves to write about food and travel. He also has a black belt in scotch egg eating.