‘Nondescript’ Royal Parks coffee kiosks to get Grand Designs-style makeover

The “nondescript wooden box” coffee kiosks in the Royal Parks are to get a Grand Designs-style makeover in the biggest overhaul of catering in central London’s open spaces in a generation.

Nine ageing kiosks in Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park will be scrapped and replaced by “handcrafted” structures during the autumn under a new 10-year contract worth almost £80 million. 

Seven will be clad in “steam-bent” English oak timber by the Cornish furniture designer Tom Raffield, who built one of the most spectacular homes to feature in the Channel 4 series presented by Kevin McCloud. Two others will be covered in tubular brass. 

The new outlets were designed by the architectural practice Mizzi Studio, which built the award-winning Colicci Coffee cafe at Westfield Stratford City shopping centre. Founder Jonathan Mizzi said: “They really are quite special pieces and will make people’s experience of the parks much better. They will smile when they get a coffee.”

As well as the nine kiosks, the contract also includes a new cafe on the Serpentine bridge similar to the Westfield design, the conversion of a police lodge at Storey’s Gate in St James’s Park to a health food cafe, and the refurbishment of existing catering outlets at Speakers’ Corner and the Boat House in Hyde Park and Victoria Tower Gardens near Parliament.

There will also be six retro ice cream vans. The improvements will move the parks, visited by 50 million people a year, further away from their former reputation for mediocre coffee and bland over-priced sandwiches.

The kiosks, which will be run by the Colicci family catering business, will serve “single origin” speciality coffee from sustainable plantations in Brazil and Guatemala. The kiosks will be open from 9.30am or 10am to 4pm in autumn and winter but remain open until 8pm or 9pm in spring and summer.

Rob Colicci, director of Colicci’s, said he expected the changes to boost turnover by about 50 per cent.

Andrew Varnava, catering manager at the Royal Parks, said: “We are delighted to award Colicci the contract to provide a new fleet of kiosks for Hyde, St James’s and Green Parks. Their vision was refreshing and innovative.”

A new Italian restaurant called Chucs Serpentine is to open in the Zaha Hadid-designed extension at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens next week serving dishes such as asparagus risotto, goat’s cheese and hazelnut powder, and tagliatelle, clams, ginger and bottarga. There will also be a three-course set menu for £25.

Source : https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/nondescript-royal-parks-coffee-kiosks-to-get-grand-designsstyle-makeover-a3801896.html