Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s latest restaurant venture has opened its doors within the newly developed Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport.
The chef, famous for various TV series showcasing his unique take on cooking, is also owner of The Fat Duck in Berkshire; which has been voted Best UK Restaurant, has won three Michelin stars and received consistent full marks from The Good Food Guide since opening in 2007.
The Perfectionists’ Café opened in Terminal 2 on 4th June, otherwise known as ‘The Queens Terminal’ of the London airport. The project of the café follows on from Heston’s hit BBC TV series which first aired in 2007 ‘In search of perfection’ and is aptly named to follow suit.
Richard Seymour of design agents Seymour Powell said:
“As much of the menu concept emanates from Heston’s ‘In Search of Perfection’ TV Series, it seemed logical that the Café’s name should reflect that.”
The Perfectionists’ Café has been under development for a year and a half, and aims to meet the specific unique requirements and needs of airport terminal customers.
“The demands of an airport outlet are quite different from our other restaurants, some guests have very little time to spend with us and others, in transit or with longer check-ins, will have time to linger. The restaurant will of course cater to both, but we want to deliver food that is fun and familiar – food that is stimulating to the palette and at the same time easy to enjoy.”
The Perfectionists’ Café aims to add a touch of glamour to the airport experience, taking a nostalgic point of view, referring back to when air travel was deemed glamorous and travellers wore their best clothes to fly. The café’s expected audience is the customer who wants a meal quickly but is fed up with junk food offerings.
The menu celebrates the best British dishes, whilst embracing British mechanics and eccentric ways in Heston’s usual manner. Beef burgers are made grinding meat in one direction, fish and chips are served in a traditional crunchy batter and pizzas made in a classic wood burning oven.
During the TV series ‘In Search of Perfection’, Heston and his team travelled to Italy in a bid to discover how to make a perfect pizza. Heston’s team recorded everything required to make the best dish, from the exact temperature the wood burning oven should be, to the perfect base. The specific details are hoped to be apparent in the restaurant, which will serve up only the best quality foods.
The design of the building, done by Afroditi Krassa is based around the concept of pace. The seating is arranged based on the experience the café’s customers want. The front of the café has quick, easy access; a combination of high seats, flexible tables and hard wearing surfaces. The main feature of the design is the propeller shaped communal table, a subtle nod to the location and travel in general.
Going further towards the rear of the restaurant, away from the rush of the departure lounge, the pace slows to a more relaxed dining experience, with softer furnishings for added comfort. In addition, Afroditi Krassa designed observer booths. Customers seated in these areas will have a clear view of the airport runway, watching airplanes take off and land before taking off on their own flight.
Afroditi, founder of Afroditi Krassa explains:
“This restaurant design extends beyond the layout, colour and finish; it’s the sound of space, the smell of kitchen, the weight of furniture and the clever lighting on the dishes that accentuate the creativity behind the cooking. We picked up on the multi-sensorial element of Heston’s cooking and set ourselves a brief that challenged the boundaries of restaurant design. I wanted this restaurant not to feel like a compromise, as so many restaurants do, but a destination; a place that has a real sense of arrival and a buzz of optimism running through its DNA, just like the food you are about to be served.”
The kitchen design is divided into sections, there’s an ice cream parlour creating Heston’s iconic liquid nitrogen ice cream, a bar with a bakery and deli offerings followed by an exposed wood fire oven. In keeping with Heston’s unique ways, both the ice cream parlour and the open oven are firsts in the airport industry.
The café’s signage, a large mechanical clockwork knife is said to be an idea that came from nowhere, when Heston Blumenthal and designers were looking for something that clearly insinuated good food, rather than ‘fast food’.
The redevelopment of Heathrow Terminal 2 has been in planning since 2009 with the construction of an entirely new main building beginning in 2010. The new terminal will eventually serve 15.8 million passengers per year and will be home to 23 star alliance member airlines as well as Virgin Atlantic Little Red, Aer Lingus and Germanwings.
The terminal redevelopment process has an array of retail outlets and restaurants including Cath Kidston, Ted Baker, Thomas Pink, Boots, Dixons, EAT, WHSmith, Yo! Sushi, Bottega Veneta, John Lewis, Michael Kors and The Gorgeous Kitchen; all of which sit alongside Heston’s The Perfectionists’ Café. Passengers can browse and reserve products online prior to arrival and the new terminal also offers a personal shopping service and free play areas for children.
Summit Design Ltd
Summit Design Ltd specialise in the design, supply and installation of mechanical services, including kitchen extract, fresh air ventilation & extract systems, air conditioning and heating. The company was founded in 1993 and within this time has worked on many prestigious projects, including The Wolseley Café, The Ritz, Oblix at the Shard, Coya in Piccadilly, Roka Mayfair and Fischers as well as Aspers Casinos in Westfield and Milton Keynes.
Working at The Perfectionists’ Café, Summit Design Ltd was responsible for the installation of both the mechanical and electrical services, including the air conditioning; fresh air supply; kitchen supply and extract ventilation; plumbing; heating; hot water, lighting and small power.
Summit Design Limited’s CEO, Dave Veysey, said:
“It has been a fantastic experience to be involved on such a ground breaking project. We are delighted to continue our working relationship with a client who dares to surpass the boundaries of limitation; and we are thrilled with the finished article which will maintain its iconic status within this awesome new building.”
“At Summit Design we always try to exceed our clients’ expectations. We design and install energy efficient systems which continue operate often in hazardous and excessive environments. Whatever our client demands, we pride ourselves on delivering them that little bit extra.”
Hallmark Kitchens Ltd
Hallmark Kitchens specialise in the design development, supply and installation of all types of equipment for commercial catering facilities, including back-of-house kitchen items such as cooking equipment, refrigeration, ventilation, fabrication and dishwash systems. In addition, the firm provides front-of-house food servery counters and bar installations, as well as having a service division which offers both reactive and planned preventative maintenance.
Hallmark was established in 1983 and the current owners, Kevin Jennings and Chris Douglas acquired the business in 2007.The firm have worked across a broad spectrum of projects within various sectors including business and industry, public service facilities, healthcare, education, hotels and restaurants.
Most recently the firm has worked on The Perfectionists Café at Heathrow Airport and was appointed by Gareth Sefton of SHW to design and develop their initial scheme. The firm worked alongside the on site team to manufacture, supply, deliver and install all catering equipment elements.
Kevin Jennings said:
“Hallmark is developing a successful reputation within the restaurant sector and has completed a number of high-profile projects for such business as Corbin & King, Gordon Ramsey Holdings, Aqua at The Shard, Lima, Bruno Loubet and was therefore delighted to be appointed for this prestigious project by SHW for Heston Blumenthal.”
With regards to what the firm pride themselves on Kevin answered:
“We believe Hallmark offer a personal and professional service to ensure that our client’s aspirations for their customer vision is met with the minimum of fuss whilst maintaining close attention to detail, deliverability, programme and cost.”
Sefton Horn Winch
Sefton Horn Winch undertakes the consultation for the design of food and beverage facilities, including kitchens, servery’s and bars. They have offices in the UK and UAE and are proficient at completing projects worldwide operating across all sectors.
The company was founded in 2005, initially under the title Creative Kitchen & Restaurant Concepts, before joining together with Gareth Sefton and Ken Winch to form Sefton HornWinch Ltd in 2009. Since their inception the firm has worked with a plethora of clients including Corbin&King, The Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel, Cafe Colbert, The Wolseley, plus other restaurants for The Fat Duck Group, including The Fat Duck, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and The Crown.
In other sectors the firm has completed projects for Tate Galleries, JP Morgan, Alan Yau Restaurants and hotel group St Regis. Most recently Sefton Horn Winch worked alongside The Fat Duck Group during the creation of The Perfectionists Café at Heathrow Airport.
Working alongside The Fat Duck Group Executive Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts and Head Chef Julian O’Neill Sefton Horn Winch helped develop the kitchen layouts and detailing. They were an integral part of the project including ascertaining the wood burning oven, which is an airport first. Sefton also worked closely with the HAL technical team to prove out the extract and safety compliance system.
Gareth Sefton, from Sefton HornWinch said:
“Working with a group such as The Fat Duck, is incredibly important due to the level that they operate, whether 3 star Michelin level of The Fat Duck or at The Perfectionists’ Cafe at Heathrow, the standards are the same. On a personal level, working with a chef like Ashley really pushes our expertise and we have learnt something new.
“We pride ourselves in challenging the norm through different cooking styles and methods. We deliver kitchens that work efficiently to a high quality and we are always sympathetic to the interior design.”
UHS group specialise in furniture for the hospitality industry. The company has been in operation since 1976.
Besides the Perfectionists Café, UHS group have worked with other restaurants in the industry, and have had contracts with chains such as the Gondola Group and The Restaurant Group as well as working with restaurants such as the 28 to 50 wine workshop, Wetherspoons and Byron Burger.
Working for the Perfectionists Café, UHS group provided a classic to contemporary range of furniture.
Marketing director of UHS group, Dan Gillmore, said:
“UHS prides itself in working closely with the clients and designers to create the look they want. We’re very good at customisation and coming up with a range of products.”
Aegean Stone Ltd
Aegean Stone Ltd specialise in the installation of all types of wall and floor tiling throughout the UK. The company have been in operation for 11 years. In this time, the company have worked with a number of prestigious clients such as the Nationwide Building Society flagship store at No 1 Treadneedle Street, London, Galvins by Windows restaurant, hotel refurbishments to Hilton Hotel group at Waldorf and Park Lane London, Metropole in Birmingham and Caledonian in Edinburgh as well as completing retail works including Selfridges, Debenhams and John Lewis
Aegean Stone Ltd have also completed work on a number of listed buildings such as John Rylands Library Manchester and Bisham Abbey. They can also boast working on the complete shopping Centre refurbishment at Elmsleigh Shopping Centre in Staines.
Working on The Perfectionists’ Café, the company installed all of the wall and floor tiles in the venue.
Ray Graham said:
“It was important for us to work on The Perfectionists’ Café. We worked with Barnwood Shopfitting Ltd design team and tile supplier Solus Ceramics Ltd, to create the clients design.”
“We pride ourselves in working with our customers to a common goal.”
Renovate Contracts Ltd
Based in Leicestershire, Renovate is a contractor specialising in supplying and laying timber flooring. Having been a limited company since 2003, the business has completed many developments in sectors such as sports and leisure, retail, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs.
Taking part in The Perfectionists’ Café was quite a large scale project involving the supply & laying of new timber flooring . The British café is a recent development set in Heathrow Airport Terminal two, supported by TV celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal.
Director of Renovate, Duncan Maclauclan said:
“They had a very good standard of work at the Perfectionists’ Café, with a high quality floor finish. We are pleased to be associated with quality projects like this and a quality company like Barnwood shopfitting .
Renovate Contracts are proud to say that they also provided their quality services to the Royal Opera House set in London, having supplied & fitted a new chevron timber floor. Additionally, the firm has carried out projects with popular restaurant chains such as Pizza Express; and pubs such as O’Neill’s, an Irish themed chain.
For more information, please visit www.renovatecontracts.com