The Mallard Café
The 120-capacity Mallard Café is a simpler space, located in the Grand Hall and within an area with a huge brick buttress at each end, as well as a main central truss beam. ‘As we couldn’t move these large features, we worked around them to make them contribute to the success of the layout’ commented Alasdair Galloway. The previous incarnation of the café had just a single straight counter, which had been problematic at peak times in terms of customer flow, so the new café features instead a semi-circular counter, echoing the shape of the buttress, so that customers can approach it from any angle. A stainless steel back counter incorporates fridges and coffee machines, with additional shelving, whilst the solid front counter is made up of Carrara marble table tops with deep mild steel plate edges and solid, tubular steel legs in black, inspired by the engine room of the Mallard train. Three heat lamps for the hot food offer are from the Oxford Lighting Company. A re-used chiller unit to the side of the servery has been made more contemporary and fitting to the scheme via a new mild steel framework and mesh panels to conceal its workings.
The Mallard Café features only loose furniture with bespoke oak tables with a mild steel frame and similar tubular design as used for the counter, alongside ‘School Chairs’ from Andy Thornton. To the edges of the space, high oak benches (with Andy Thornton’s Toledo bar stools) also serve as a protective frame to the loose furniture area, to prevent the furniture coming into contact with the trains.
A small retail area to the side, also designed by SHH, is made up of one elliptical and several rectangular blackened steel display units, as well as a table display, with a rivet design on the joins; plus a till station in blackened steel with an oak surround to the tills, plus a dividing screen in mild steel with inset Georgian-style wired glass panels
The Container Café
The third and final dining area is the new Container Café. Here, the exterior of the buttress has been incorporated into the container configuration, allowing them to share certain utilities with the Mallard Café directly behind. The Container Café servery is made up of four individual containers, which were fitted out off-site and then craned into position. One of the four is ostensibly decorative and used for branding, but also serves to create a canopy for the pizza offer below and mask the external portion of the brick buttress. The yellow container is the ice-cream offer, whilst the red serves pizza. A grey container alongside contains the pot-wash and prep area. All have been adapted to allow access through, with the pizza area also featuring a glazed screen to allow customers see the prep area, adding visual interest whilst they order and underline the freshness of the order. Three further containers have been painted and opened up (with one also cut in half) to provide semi-covered seating areas, in addition to the loose furniture in the courtyard.