The Cornerstone Café — London, UK
The last time this collection of listed buildings saw so much attention was during the Napoleonic Wars, when, known as the Royal Arsenal, it served as a munitions manufacturer and gunpowder store. Now the former gun carriage factory is back in action as a café with a military theme and emphasis on quality British fare. Owner Julia Stone (get it?) hired the decade-old London design practice Paul Crofts Studio to outfit the concrete shell with a peacable interior of white, black and natural wood. He retrofitted European oak walls and mess tables inset with a chevron motif reminiscent of the military theme. A line of banquettes across one wall is upholstered in khaki wool and stores selling gourmet sauces and sweets recall the traditional tuck shop. The white Nonla pendant lights were designed by Crofts himself. Chef Eric Bellancourt, ex of the Swan at the Globe Theatre, has taken over the kitchen, cooking nearly everything on the premises, from the Scotch eggs and carrot cake to the mackerel terrine and Sunday hollandaise sauce. The rest comes from local ice cream and juice suppliers, and London’s The Bread Factory.