Kings Arms

Hotel Kitchen
Hampton Court


A historic building with a modern take on traditional British cuisine

When its current owners took on the idyllically situated Kings Arms Hotel in Hampton, with its sweeping views across the famous Palace Gardens, it was clear that a major refurbishment programme was required. The Grade 2 building, which dates back to 1709, had become stuck in a time warp with its dark and oppressive interior and tired, predictable menus.

Spearheading the sensitive renovation was general manager, Kate McWhirter whose background in hotels includes time spent with Anoushka Hempel’s various projects, Soho House and Firmdale Hotels. One of the most important considerations was the kitchen. Food was destined to become an important focus under the new ownership so getting the right equipment and layout was key.

Although she had been aware of Nelson Commercial Kitchens reputation in kitchen design, the glowing recommendation of Kate’s colleague and friend Sam Harrison, in combination with Nelson’s innovative ideas to take the kitchen forward, sealed their appointment. “They met all the owners’ exacting criteria,” explains Kate, “and their amicable, helpful attitude made the project a genuine pleasure to be involved in.”

team worked in consultation with Michelin starred chef Mark Kempson, an advisor to the hotel whilst still maintaining his Head Chef position at Kitchen W8, and the hotel’s own Head Chef, Jack Scoines.

The layout of the Grade 2 building couldn’t be altered and meant that Nelson had to work within the limitations that the structure allowed. The largest area was devoted to a well specified cookline that includes 2 x 6 grid combination ovens, 2 x countertop griddles, a multi-zoned induction hob and a fryer.

Immediately in front of this is a long L-shaped pass with a number of hot cupboards and refrigerated units. Preparation and pastry are housed within an open room to one end of the kitchen while a warewash area has its own, separate, dedicated space.

As well as its restaurant, The Six, named with a nod to Henry V111’s wives!, The Kings Arms Hotel frequently attracts more informal diners to the bar or lounge and, when the weather permits, to the terrace. However, the contemporary yet empathetic décor and glorious setting mean that weddings and functions are increasingly popular and the kitchen often has to cater for 80-100 guests for a sit-down lunch or dinner and double that for a standing event.

“Mark and Jack’s menus are loosely based on traditional British cuisine but with an exciting modern twist,” says Kate. “It’s important that both our hotel residents and other guests can be sure to find the dishes they want to eat whether that’s breakfast, lunch or dinner or even simply afternoon tea or a bar snack.” Ingredients are largely sourced locally and, during the summer months, the hotel has permission to use herbs and vegetables freshly picked from Hampton Court Palace’s very own kitchen garden.

“We are delighted with Nelson’s sheer professionalism,” sums up Kate. “Nothing was too much trouble and the quality and functionality of the kitchen we have now is even better than we’d hoped for.”

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