Harrods Launches A New Roastery and Bake Hall

Imbued with timeless glamour, the newly-renovated great hall brings the drama of history and the theatre of production in one beautiful space

Cake Bars at Harrods new Roastery & Bake Hall. Picture / Mowie Kay

Cakes arranged like precious jewels in glass cases, fresh spices in bell jars that lift to reveal rich aromas and a floor-to-ceiling altar of bread. Harrods doesn't do things by halves.

Today the department store unveiled its new art deco-inspired Roastery and Bake Hall, housing a bakery and coffee roastery, tea tailor, gourmet grocery and new destination coffee and cocktail bar. Designed by David Collins Studio (DCS) it signals the largest redevelopment of the store's historic Food Halls in more than 20 years.

The redevelopment has been driven by Harrods’ director of food & restaurants, Alex Dower, and his team, including 150 in-house chefs and it's the first phase of four in a two-year restoration the store is calling “The Taste Revolution".

Bakery in Harrods. Picture / The Telegraph

"We cannot wait for customers to discover what the room has to offer," says Dower. "Nowhere else will there be such a combination of skill, creativity, experience, outstanding service and variety of food offered in the beauty of a Grade II*-listed environment.”

It's certainly been beautifully executed by DCS, a firm well-practised in the art of reviving classic spaces, like their celebrated restaurant interiors the Roastery and Bake Hall is imbued with that timeless glamour at which they excel.

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The project took four months, during which time the room was returned to its original 1925 proportions. The ceiling and carrara marble floor were restored and existing cartouches and tiles have been retained and highlighted by the dark timber and bronze shelving designed by DCS.

"My vision was to take the historic integrity of this great hall, and to seamlessly meld it with a design which embraces it, yet makes it contemporary and forward-looking," says DCS creative director Simon Rawlings.

"This hall is about the food and the customer; we wanted to create a room which brought all experiences together, to deliver an experience in which the ambience embraces a mood and delivers on shopability. This space brings together the drama of the history, the theatre of production, the precision of detail and the ultimate in quality all in one place."

Spices at Harrods. Picture / Mowie Kay

Several focuses anchor the room. There's the cake counter at the centre, overseen by Alistair Birt and his team of 40, it will create seasonal desserts throughout the year and there are currently some on-trend unicorn cupcakes and bright geometric festive pyramids.

The roastery takes pride of place, encased in a glass-walled room, enticing customers to view the roasting and grinding of coffee beans by a team directed by master roaster Bartosz Ciepaj.

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For those looking for a retail pitstop, there's the coffee bar where they can pull up a leather-topped bar, watch the action and listen out for the bakery's bell, which sounds every 30 minutes when fresh loaves (15 varieties of bread, no less), pastries and biscuits are despatched from the ovens.

The Roastery in Harrods. Picture / The Telegraph

The coffee, bread and cakes produced here also supply the in-store cafes and restaurants. Exquisitely-packaged groceries range from an incredible selection of honey (look out for the organic Zambian honey, it's remarkably complex, almost like treacle) and conserves, to hampers, teas and spices - these are particularly tantalising in their cloches, an idea inspired by the beauty department displays.

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It's hard to imagine Harrods suffering in the age of e-commerce, but perhaps this is about future-proofing the world's most famous department store. As our obsession with artisanship and food provenance shows no signs of abating there's plenty here to seduce and entertain shoppers. Not just the sheer visual feast of it and the attentive customer service, but also the theatrics of the making, a sure-fire hit in our Barista-loving, Bake Off-era.

Also launching alongside The Roastery and Bake Hall is Harrods new food-to-go concept store, Roast and Bake, located on Basil Street and serving coffee, sandwiches, salads and snacks.

There will be three further concepts launched as part of The Taste Revolution, launching in 2018 and 2019. 

— The Telegraph

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