All over London wiry cranes stand as spires of construction, pin pointing an endless influx of steel and concrete, speaking volumes of the city’s building boom.
I have become intrigued with these new urbanised ecosystems, predominantly composed of what appears to be the more profitable office spaces that seek to draw both worker and reveller. I get the concept, but how do they work in reality?
On the one hand they make perfect sense: people need offices to work, and where they work they need amenities, including food and drink. And yet, these spaces can sometimes feel forced, clinical, utilitarian even. I’m yet to be convinced they can work as organic spaces.
Feast – part of the Incipio Group, the company behind Pergola and as of more lately, the Prince Pub in West Brompton – is a restaurant that sits itself squarely amongst a sleek myriad of brand new office blocks in White City Place, a stone’s throw from the old BBC television studio (another area undergoing a huge transformation).
The venue – and it is more of a venue than a restaurant – is vast, with a layout that speaks of functionality. When you enter you are greeted by what can only be described as a beer hall. Long, high wooden tables laden with stools run in lengths all the way to the back, drawing the eye to the bar.
Hidden behind is a casual dining area that’s within earshot of the kitchen, so that you can feel closer to the real action and away from the inevitable hubbub of drink queues.
As is the growing trend, two pop ups are featured: Morty & Bobs and Del 74. The former is a food stall turned all day eatery from East London, known for its grilled cheese sandwiches and bloody Mary’s. The latter, a dressed down taco outfit serving traditional Mexican food, their ethos is straightforward: Ã¢â‚¬Å“keep it simple, keep it realÃ¢â‚¬Â.
First up, we tried Del 74 and dived into a few plates of nachos. Served with beans, cheese, Pico De Gallo (a tomato salsa), and sour cream. They were Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as promised Ã¢â‚¬â€œ simple, but delicious and highly addictive, as nachos should be.
Giving Morty & Bobs a turn, we settled for their signature grilled cheese sandwich with mixed onions. A dark, crispy exterior contained an ooze of melted cheese, just what you want. The onions had been sweated down until buttery soft and sweet, thwarting the full-bodied Unami tang of cheese.
On an M&B high, we continued with Morty’s burger (sorry Bob): a buttermilk fried chicken burger with pickled cucumber, baconnaise, sesame brioche and house fries. Crispy chicken but still moist, lots of sauce but no soggy bun and tonnes of great flavour. I was unhappiest when there was none left.
Unfortunately, Feast doesn’t serve pudding, so we opted to finish with some calamari and saffron aioli. The golden rings were soft, still sizzling hot and of course a great pairing with the aioli. I easily could have eaten a bucket of these with a few beers and sat happy all night.
Overall the food was perfectly fine and has obviously been developed to be casual, the type of fast food you share with work colleagues and wash down with a cold beer, this is perhaps reflected by the beer hall layout and lack of a dessert menu. If this is what Feast was aiming for then it has hit it’s brief.
If, however, you’re looking for a more enriching experience, then I’d hop on the tube and head to Westbourne Park or Notting Hill. Ultimately, I felt a disconnect with this new space and its shiny surroundings.
At its heart is Marty & Bobs and Del 74, bringing warmth with soulful food and natural character, but separating this was a colder space with not a lot going on. Where was the charm? Where was the personality?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find either of them. With time I’m sure this will change, but I wonder how many Morty & Bob’s or Del 74’s will pass through its doors before then?
Only time will tell.