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Bellanger is an Alsatian-inspired brasserie on Islington Green in London offering relaxed all-day dining. It is part of the Corbin & King group of restaurants which includes The Wolseley, The Delaunay, Brasserie Zédel and Colbert.
Bellanger offers breakfast, brunch and à la carte lunch and dinner menus as well as a café menu which is available throughout the day. Breakfast is served from 08:00 every morning, seven days a week. The menu includes eggs benedict, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and omelettes au choix. Brunch is served on weekends between 11:30 and 17:00 and the menu includes egg dishes, salads and sandwiches and tartes flambées – wafer-thin Alsatian style pizzas cooked on a wood fire – while coffee and cakes from the café menu are served all day.
An extensive à la carte menu with classic Alsatian overtones is offered for lunch and dinner, Monday to Friday, and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. It features typical dishes such as choucroute, baeckeoffe, a variety of soups, salads, seafood and a number of sharing dishes. To follow, there is a wide selection of gateaux, tartes and ice cream coupes.
Motivation for investment
Bellanger is situated in the former premises of Browns Brasserie and Bar. The restaurant design was carried out by Brady Williams Studio whose brief was to create a 200-cover brasserie in the ‘proper Alsace tradition'.
The front of the dining room has been opened up and a semi-private alcove has been added. Booths down one side of the restaurant complement a ten-seat counter dining area on the other. There is a further large dining room to the rear of the restaurant.
Corbin & King had had very positive experiences in installing Athanor ranges in the kitchens at Bellanger’s sister restaurants The Delaunay and Fischer’s – in collaboration with Sefton Horn Winch (SHW). Senior management felt that the likely levels of business and the style of operation at Bellanger warranted the installation of a bespoke range here as well. Other solutions had been considered but, although Athanor is not lowest cost solution on the market, Corbin & King's previous positive experience with Athanor ensured it was first choice.
Head Chef Steve Collins said: “We have an existing relationship with Grande Cuisine and we approached them directly to work with our Executive Head Chef Lee Ward and kitchen designers SHW.”
In terms of kitchen design and functionality the team at Bellanger was looking for a range that fitted the menu. It needs to have proven reliability because the business operates for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, 365 days a year. In addition, good aftercare and service was essential.
The kitchen has to cater for in the region of 200 covers per sitting. Cooking arrangements therefore need to be flexible with the focus on flexible high quality brasserie dining.
The cooking solution also needs to be versatile enough to deal with a variety of traditional cooking methods including robust cooking methods for meat, vegetables and pastry, as well as more refined work.
In addition, there has to be the facility to keep dishes hot while their constituent parts are being prepared and assembled prior to plating and serving to the guests in the restaurant.
The kitchen was designed and installed in partnership with professional catering consultant SWH and kitchen fit out contractors Hallmark Kitchens.
The kitchen is designed with traditional cooking styles in mind. It features a bespoke Athanor wall cook suite 4.85 metres long. The suite comprises two traditional gas solid tops and two double Plaque Athanor plancha/cook plates.
Reflecting the traditional Alsatian style of the dishes that are created in the kitchen it features a 1/1Gn multi-cooker which has two inset fryers set into the top. Beneath the top are two traditional gas cast iron lined roasting ovens and a set of three 1/1Gn hot holding drawers.
In order to ensure that the solution suited the required specification Grande Cuisine arranged a factory visit so that Lee Ward could fine-tune the suite before it was completed.
Benefits for the customer
Plancha cooking strengthens the flavour of even the most delicate ingredients, delivering consistent perfectly cooked food every time.
The use of a multi cooker enables a number of different cooking operations to be undertaken at the same time in order to maximise the efficiency of the available kitchen space.
Hot holding drawers enable food to be kept hot and then served as required, particularly as the kitchen is in constant operation and there are times when the food is prepared but the restaurant staff are not quite ready to serve it.
Alex Pitchford, new business manager at Corbin & King, said: “We have now been trading for six months. The range has been reliable and we consider it to be a positive collaboration. We have acquired a range that fits our needs and will hopefully give us many years reliable service.”