The Five Carbs You Need To Eat At Arcade Food Theatre

By Lydia Manch Last edited 13 months ago
The Five Carbs You Need To Eat At Arcade Food Theatre

We cannot medically advise eating them all in the same visit.


Nobody can remember what Arcade Food Theatre was before it just... was. A sleek glass-and-dark-wood space spread across the ground floor of Centre Point. Unnecessarily opaque website. Loud, bass-heavy beats. Every corner holding a miniature version of that restaurant you regularly want to go to but can't ever be bothered to deal with the queues for. And despite Arcade Food Theatre being heavingly busy, we've yet to have to queue for anything.

It's not all about the carbs at London's newest food hall. There are phenomenal tacos from Pastorcito, a compelling Iskender kebab from doner-mongers Oklava. But holy macaroni, have they packed a lot of splendid pasta/pastries/pide into the one room.

Pici alla Norcina from Lina Stores

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Lina Stores could fill the Top 5 Carbs list on its own. Its daintily-sized counter turns out hot, tensile pappardelle — the pasta all handmade daily — with gamey crumbs of veal, sage-fragrant, clinging to each ribbon. It dishes up butter-parmesan tagliolini that makes a few-metre radius of the space in the market magnetic with its smell of warm truffle. But the pici with porcini and Umbrian sausage — small, autumnal and rich, is the go-to brighten-a-dull-day dish.

Price: £7. Satisfaction: immense.

The Black Sea Pide from Oklava

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One of the joys and risks of Arcade Food Theatre is being able to sit at the restaurants' kitchen counters, watching them prep your food. It's hard not to overorder, tripleorder, to order everything you see being coaxed out of dough and eggs and dairy while you watch.

Oklava's one of the highest risk stations for that. Best to just order the Black Sea pide from the start: it'd take some iron-willed veganism or a dangerous lactose intolerance to resist it after watching the amount of butter, cheese (multiple) and garlic that gets wedged into the smallish puffy-crusted flatbread. Egg yolk wobbling on top, zatar painting the edges, dairy bubbling away. You'll want one of the hot, cheesy discs being scooped out of the oven to be winging its way over to you.

Price: £12. Mouth-burning: an almost-certainty.

Wagyu dripping fries from Flat Iron Workshop

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Not a lot of explaining to do here. Hot, fat-crisped potato. Bit crunchy. Bit fluffy. The Flat Iron counter has a few variations on its usual restaurant menu — it's considered a test site for new dishes — but novelty is for suckers when dripping chips are on the cards.

Price: £4.50. Mouth-feel: so good it's worth using the word mouth-feel over.

The katsu sando from Tóu

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Tóu's a concept album of a restaurant from the TaTa Eatery team, a thought experiment in 'if you make an Instagram-famous katsu sando, do you need anything on the menu that isn't just 100% katsu sando'. Mostly the answer is no (though honourable mention to the vegetarian egg-tofu version).

Fatty pork — like, actually fatty, in big, chunky seams, not just daintily marbled — toasted brioche, raspberry sauce. No less moreish for being faintly like a very meaty Victoria sponge.

A bartender at Arcade confides that this is the one dish in the building he never eats now, declaring it 'just TOO MUCH' in both calorie terms and needing-to-have-a-lie-down-after terms. This is true, it is just TOO MUCH. For the days when you want a sandwich that is objectively just too much, and also magnificent, this is The One.

Price: £14. How porky: extremely porky.

Marmite and cheese swirl from Popham's Bakery

A daytime-only option, this one, but a compelling reason to get to Arcade Food Theatre ahead of the afterwork hustle. Popham's makes small feats of structural engineering out of sourdough pastry, and laces them with things like bacon and maple, or banana and jam. Or this one, Marmite and cheese and spring onion. We don't usually buy into that love-or-hate Marmite shtick, but all three elements are punching quite pungently hard here and this is probably quite a divisive pastry. We're firmly on the love side.

Price: less than £5. Umami game: big.

Arcade Food Theatre is open 8am-11.30pm Monday-Saturday, and 10am-10.30pm on Sunday.

Last Updated 14 August 2019

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