June 2014 will welcome the arrival of Heston Blumenthal’s The Perfectionists’ Café at Heathrow’s newly redeveloped Terminal 2 – The Queen’s Terminal.
The concept and menu of this latest venture from the multi-award winning chef have been under development for the past year and a half with Heston and his team, led by Group Executive Head Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts and Head Chef Julian O’Neill, observing the specific unique requirements and needs of guests in an airport terminal.
“The demands of an airport outlet are quite different from our other restaurants,” Heston explains. “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.”
The Perfectionists’ Café will cater to travellers who want exceptional food, quickly. It will provide service that is fast, friendly and informal – as all great cafés do. The café signage will be a large mechanical clockwork knife, as appears in the logo. Through movement it will draw attention to the energy of the café as well as the location.
Inspired by the “In Search of Perfection” TV series based on Heston’s years of research and development work, the menu at The Perfectionists’ Café will celebrate some of Britain’s favourite dishes and embrace the eccentricity of Great British invention. For example, the burgers will be made by grinding all the meat grains in the same direction to maximise the juiciness of the meat. Traditional Fish & Chips will be served with the ultimate crunchy batter and pizzas will be cooked in the first ever wood burning oven in an airport.
Heston adds, “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. 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 concept of The Perfectionists’ Café will be nostalgic and hark back to the heyday of 1960’s passenger flights, when air travel was deemed glamorous and travellers dressed in their best to fly.
Richard Seymour of design agency Seymourpowell explains, “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!”