Lack of space is a common issue that arises when planning a kitchen, with the need to maximise the area given over to tables and chairs always a priority, particularly in a city location. Add to that an awkwardly shaped space in which to arrange the kitchen equipment and the challenge becomes even tougher.
This was the situation facing Agnar Sverrisson and Xavier Rousset when opening 28Â°-50Â° in London's Marylebone, sister restaurant to that of the same name in Fetter Lane and to the Michelin-starred Texture in Portman Street.
The corner property is arranged over two floors and the designated home for the kitchen is the basement, while the main dining room and bar occupy the ground floor.
With a reputation for innovative design in challenging spaces, John Nelson, managing director of Nelson Catering Equipment, was called in to provide a solution.
"The issue for us was building in the various sections - prime cooking, pastry, wash-up, prep and pass - within the awkward space and shape," Nelson says. "The problem was fitting it all in and getting the flow so that everything drives towards the pass, with all dirties moving away."
This was facilitated by creating a couple of strategically placed partition walls to separate the different sections and to provide the brigade - up to eight chefs at any one time - with all the tools they require close to their stations.
Providing adequate refrigeration was also a challenge, as executive chef Paul Walsh explains. "We couldn't have a coldroom although we needed to have enough fresh food on the premises for the size of menu and for the number of covers - 50-60 at lunch and 120 at dinner."
Consequently, refrigeration was installed wherever possible, from upright cabinets where space permitted to undercounter units.
Cooking equipment is varied and ranges from the latest in induction technology to the more traditional and very on-trend charcoal oven, visible to diners through an open section in front of which is a 12-seat chef's table for private dining.
|The small pastry area is opposite the pass and consists of a stainless steel bench with single Gram fridge and freezer units underneath and Walliglu wall-mounted refrigeration above.|
|The hot pass and neighbouring larder section sit beneath an opening in the wall, through which diners on the chef's table beyond can watch some of the kitchen action. The space below the pass is occupied by a hot cupboard for plates on one side, and a Gram three-door undercounter refrigerator on the other. â¨A Gram upright cabinet stands at the end to house extra mise-en-place.|
|The Inka charcoal oven is a feature of the restaurant, with its own section on the menu offering steaks, spatchcock chicken and burgers. The temperature is regulated by a vent system and can reach 500Â°C, but the oven is typically run at 300Â°C to 350Â°C.|
|The cooking suite by Control Induction features â¨Slider induction hobs chosen for efficiency, to keep the kitchen cool and for their ability to function as solid-tops with the power controlled by moving the pan. Also built into the suite is a Blue Seal Turbofan convection oven and an Adande refrigerated drawer. â¨A further two Adande drawers are housed in the adjacent workbench.|
|Every inch of space is utilised, with storage built in wherever possible, such as shelves at the end of the stainless steel benches. â¨A Hatco Quick Therm salamander, with plate detection feature and high-powered heating elements that are ready for use within eight seconds, is used to crisp up the skin on spatchcock chicken when it emerges from the Inka oven.|
|A Hoshizaki ice machine shares a corner with a Nelson NW600 pass-through dishwasher, which is sited next to the door to ensure dirties do not enter the food prep and cooking areas. In terms of capacity the dishwasher offers 20% more volume than standard models, which is a valuable asset given the lack of kitchen space.|
|Another workbench with Iglu refrigeration under and above serves as the garnish section and lines up along the back wall with a Valentine fryer, Lincat griddle and six-grid Rational combi-oven.|