Heston Blumenthal’s new ‘nostalgic British restaurant’ will be called The Perfectionists’ Café and will open at Heathrow’s newly redeveloped Terminal 2 in June.
The concept, which has been inspired by Blumenthal’s ‘In Search of Perfection’ TV series, is said to provide fast, friendly and informal service with the menu featuring a range of burgers and traditional fish & chips.
The 18-month development of The Perfectionists’ Café has been led by The Fat Duck Group’s executive head chef Ashley Palmer-Watts and head chef Julian O’Neill, who together with Blumenthal have been working on the somewhat unique specifications required to open a restaurant within an airport terminal.
“The demands of an airport outlet are quite different from our other restaurants,” said Blumenthal, who also owns The Fat Duck, Hinds Head and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
“Some guests will 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 palate and at the same time easy to enjoy.”
Based on Blumenthal’s years of research and development work, which culminated in his first TV series airing in 2006, the menu at The Perfectionists’ Café will celebrate some of Britain’s favourite dishes and ‘embrace the eccentricity of Great British invention’.
The burgers, for example, will be made by grinding all the meat grains in the same direction to maximise the juiciness of the meat; the traditional fish & chips will be served with crunchy batter and pizzas will be cooked in the first ever wood-fired oven in an airport.
“When we made ‘In Search of Perfection’ we travelled to Naples in Italy and spent hours researching the exact temperature of pizza ovens that deliver the perfect crispy but chewy base with meltingly soft toppings,” added Blumenthal.
“We knew that could only be achieved here with the right oven, so it was really fortunate we were able to incorporate one into the design.”
The design and theme of The Perfectionists’ Café will be nostalgic, harking back to the heyday of 1960’s passenger flights, when air travel was deemed glamorous. The café signage will be a large mechanical clockwork knife, as appears in the logo.
Richard Seymour of design agency Seymourpowell 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 shift of emphasis from the ‘creator’ to the diner themselves, by moving the inverted comma to the end of the word, pays homage to a customer who’s fed-up with junk, but wants exceptional food quickly.
“We called it a café because that’s what it is: fast, friendly and informal. The clockwork knife came out of thin air. I wanted something that clearly said ‘chef’ not ‘fast food’ and yet evoked Heston’s boyish delight in the mechanical worlds of William Heath-Robinson and Professor Brainstorm.
“Having created the image, we then set about seeing if we could actually make it work as part of the signage. Design doesn’t get much more fun than this…pure whimsy.”
The restaurant will be built over 4,768 sq.ft and will be located immediately after security when passengers enter Terminal 2’s departure lounge.
The £2.5bn Heathrow Terminal 2 - The Queen’s Terminal will eventually serve 15.8 million passengers a year after it re-opens on 4 June. Blumenthal’s new restaurant, for which he has yet to appoint a head chef, will join a host of new restaurants and retail units including Giraffe and The Restaurant Group concept Wondertree, and The Gorgeous Kitchen.
The Terminal’s redevelopment is the next major step in the £11bn transformation of Heathrow, and will continue the progress the airport has made in recent years with the opening of Terminal 5 and the refurbishment of Terminals 1, 3 and 4.
The Perfectionists’ Café will open at Heathrow Terminal 2 on 4 June.