We caught up with Lauren Gurvich King, head of the retail sector at the recently opened Café Wolseley in Bicester Village, which offers exclusive Wolseley-branded homewares, souvenirs and delectable foodie delights to take home. Here she shares how the Wolseley brand expanded beyond Mayfair and what sets the new all-day café-restaurant apart. Read on for an insight into the new retail-dining concept from Café Wolseley
Can you tell us about the new concept behind Café Wolseley at Bicester Village?
Café Wolseley is our latest venture, with an all-day café-restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, along with a takeaway counter and retail shop. Taking reference from The Wolseley, our London flagship restaurant, Café Wolseley offers an all-day menu in the European grand café style, consisting of both Wolseley favourites and new elements. We also have a dedicated space for The Wolseley’s growing retail collection, which includes homeware items, such as candles, crystal glassware and antique silver, along with delectable delights to take home, including shortbread, chocolate truffles and a full range of teas and coffee.
What are the main differences and similarities between The Wolseley in Mayfair and Café Wolseley in Bicester Village?
Location, of course, but just like our flagship in Mayfair, Café Wolseley at Bicester Village retains all of the iconic design elements, attentive service and beloved menu favourites for which The Wolseley has become renowned.
As the head of the retail sector of Café Wolseley, what do you think sets the new space apart from other cafés and restaurants?
We have taken inspiration from classic European institutions, such as Demel in Vienna, which bring together a restaurant, patisserie and shop. Café Wolseley seamlessly offers an exceptional all-day menu while also giving customers the opportunity to take The Wolseley experience home. And for those who find themselves a little short of time, The Counter allows you to take away a coffee or cake to enjoy on the go should you wish. It’s the combination of all three elements and the ambience and service at each that set Café Wolseley apart.
Can you describe the retail collection and what it means to the Wolseley brand?
Over the years, we have received so many requests to extend The Wolseley experience into the home. We are frequently asked whether it is possible to buy our well-known coffee, teas, teapots, tea strainers, wines and more. It therefore seemed to make sense to go even further, with a full range that would allow us to finally fulfil those requests. And so it was with great pride that we launched The Wolseley Collection, giving our customers a chance to take a piece of our Mayfair establishment home. With its unique collection of classic homeware items, the finest confectionary, wine and artisan tea and coffee, it is a perfect representation of our brand.
Café Wolseley offers a variety of menu choices. What is your favourite dish?
Tarte flambée! It’s new to the menu for Café Wolseley and is a thin, crispy Alsacienne-style white pizza with a variety of garnishes. My favourite is the goat’s cheese, honey and thyme.
What are your favourite items from the Café Wolseley retail collection?
It’s very hard to say which items I love the most, of course, but I am very proud of our recent confectionary launch, which includes two types of chocolate truffles, Florentines, hot chocolate and more. It has beautiful, traditional packaging and is all made by small vendors in the UK.
Does the interior design of Café Wolseley in Bicester Village differ from The Wolseley in Mayfair?
The Wolseley provided reference for the design of Café Wolseley, which was led by Shayne Brady of BradyWilliams. Those familiar with the restaurant on Piccadilly will recognise in Café Wolseley signature features from the London flagship, particularly the black and white chevron floor, hand-painted chinoiserie murals and double-volume vaulted ceiling.
Can you describe Café Wolseley in three words?
Timeless, classic, distinctive.
What’s next for Café Wolseley?
We have wonderful plans for the shop during the holidays – stay tuned.
What are your favourite boutiques in Bicester Village?
I love Anya Hindmarch, Acne Studios and Gucci!
Café Wolseley, 145 Pingle Drive, Bicester Village, OX26 6WD, +44 (0)1869 220 676