In conversation with: Nick Jones, Soho House
What makes Farmshop unique? Can you describe it in three words?
Farmshop in three words would be 'tasty, simple, quick’. We have created somewhere to get great quality food, fast.
How will its culinary mission differ from your other Soho House restaurants?
Farmshop is, quite simply, about serving a great all-day menu of British food to the table within around five minutes of ordering. We know visitors to Bicester Village are mostly there to shop, but we don’t think being short of time should mean compromising on what you eat. So we’ve created a menu using the best local ingredients, which can be served fast, so guests can get back to what they came for.
Can you give us a sneak peek of what we can expect to see on the menu?
We’ve got lots on the menu so there’s something for every time of day. Eggs, lots of salads, warm sandwiches out of the wood oven, heartier dishes like rib of beef, and proper puddings like Bramley apple pie and lemon posset.
What about the interior – what features were important to you during the design process?
It was really important to us to stay true to our surroundings, as with any of our projects. So we have a countryside feel with lots of exposed beams and barn doors, together with a nod to 1950s ‘general store’ style with vintage chairs and a painted floor.
What’s the secret to getting the atmosphere in a restaurant right?
Lighting is key. I'm also big on arms on chairs – it’s so important to be comfortable when you’re eating, so we try to include those where we can. The table depth needs to be just right too, so you’re not shouting over at your friend across the table.
What made you decide to base the restaurant in Bicester Village?
We’ve been talking to Bicester Village for a while and wanted to come up with something that we felt was a perfect fit – that had relevance to the surrounding area and tied in with the needs of its shoppers, hence the idea for Farmshop was born. When you don’t have long to sit down and have lunch, you’re often forced to grab a sandwich, we wanted to change that and make it so people can sit down and get great food, quickly.
It’s clear you have a passion and an eye for interior design – but who are your favourite fashion designers?
I quite like Bottega Veneta and also John Smedley for jumpers. James Perse is great for day-to-day stuff.