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Food Feedback - Roast Kiosk

Published:  20 October, 2010

Coverpoint’s Jonathan Doughty serves up his regular shopping centre foodservice review. This month he returns to Westfield London to try the new Roast kiosk

The foodservice at Westfield London continues to grow and flourish judging by the level of usage on a warm, but crisp, Saturday afternoon. With the external seating areas of the restaurants on the Southern Terrace virtually at capacity over the lunch period, not least at the recently opened Jamie’s Italian, we fought our way through the crowds in search of a quick, but quality, snack.
One of the many strengths of Westfield is its strategy of actively targeting and attracting interesting, new and growing foodservice concepts. Despite some inevitable changes in the tenant line-up since opening nearly two years ago, the restaurant cluster is now fully let with operators such as Ciao Baby Cucina, The Bull and Jom Makan all adding to the mix. In addition, Busaba Eathai and Le Pain Quotidien were both fitting out during the visit.
The purpose of our visit however, was to review the Roast kiosk offer. This is the first of a planned roll out of the kiosk concept and is the sibling of the flagship Roast restaurant which overlooks London’s Borough Market. With such a selection of quality ingredients on the doorstep it is no wonder that the restaurant is famed for the provenance and seasonality of its menu offer. We wanted to find out if this translated to the ‘Fresh Food Fast’ offer.
Situated on the busy pedestrian thoroughfare to the transport interchange it is ideally located for a ‘grab and go’ offer, judging by the level and frequency of purchases from the unit. The full height glazed frontage allowed users plenty of browsing time, without commitment, although over 80 per cent of window shoppers were converted to purchasers.
The focus of the menu offer, like its Borough Market counterpart, is very much honest, British, hearty food. We sampled a Pork Belly, Crackling & Apple Sauce baguette (£5.80), a Wicks Manor Farm Streaky Bacon Butty (£3.80) and two lattes (£2.00 each). With no seating in the unit, we parked on a nearby ledge and savoured every tasty morsel. The quality of ingredients had certainly translated well.
Iqbal Wahhab, founder of Roast, indicated in the press that future openings are earmarked with a potential pipeline of three units in the next year including sites in shopping centres, railway stations and affluent High Streets. Based on our experience, the brand will be a very welcome addition for those looking for quality, no-frills, ‘comfort’ food. The unit certainly appeared busy throughout the day each time we passed.