An American Tale

Few locations promise such breathtaking views of London as floors 38-40 of Heron Tower in Bishopsgate, home to American restaurant chain Sushisamba’s much-anticipated debut offering in the UK market.

But taking time out to watch city life unfold from afar was the last thing on Chester-based C&C Catering Equipment’s mind as it set about delivering two separate kitchens, one coldroom and a cocktail bar in a 10-week period prior to the venue’s launch.

With floor 38 featuring Sushisamba’s trademark mix of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, and floor 40 hosting a new 24-hour European restaurant concept called Duck & Waffle, C&C was in charge of bringing in a vast array of bespoke and off-the-shelf equipment for the £800,000 project.

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The actual design work for the kitchens that Sushisamba operates on site was carried out by a US foodservice consultancy, and one of the immediate challenges on the project was that a number of American brands were specified which C&C either had no supply chain connections with in the UK or could not be used due to non-compliance with Gas Safe, CE or WRAS.

“What we had to do was to try and convert that spec into something which was like for like, available in the UK and, more importantly, CE approved,” explains Paul Parry, project director at C&C. “It was a challenge because some of the equipment was quite specialist, so it took us a little while to find appropriate models that were similar.”

Parry adds: “We deal with consultants day in day out but we meet with them regularly and we will quite often go to their offices to talk over drawings, so dealing with a consultant that was distant was a big challenge.”

Areas of the kitchen on level 38 had to be redesigned and equipment that required no waste connections sourced after it emerged that the building owners would only allow 14 waste pipework penetrations through the building on that floor, mainly due to other client occupancy directly below and the risk and complications associated with running waste pipework in their ceiling void.

That wasn’t the only hurdle confronting C&C early on in the scheme. It also had to manage the logistics of getting catering equipment 200 metres to the top of the building while obeying the goods delivery policy enforced by the tower’s management.

“You have to book deliveries in two days in advance and you are given a slot,” says Parry. “When you’ve got equipment coming direct from manufacturers, getting them to agree to a timed delivery slot is not always easy.” The centrepiece of the 40th floor kitchen is a giant bespoke Rosinox cooking suite and getting it in place required some careful planning.

“With no large goods lift running beyond level 38, a jig was configured to hoist and lift the suite in individual pieces up to level 40 so that it could then be welded on site,” explains Parry. “The suite was one of the first pieces of equipment that went in because the programme of works meant we only had a small window of opportunity before the hoist was taken away.”

The fun and games with the Rosinox bespoke suite didn’t stop there. While the separation of the heavy duty range into individual sections allowed it to get the kit into position, the tools it needed to repolish the cooking suite top were not available in the UK.

“A different finish was applied to the stainless steel to what we use in the UK, so Dawson, the UK Rosinox supplier, had to arrange for Insitu Fabrications to be kitted out with specialist equipment in order to achieve the level of finish and quality required,” explains Parry.

C&C roped in the services of a number of fabrication, refrigeration and gas specialists during the fit-out, with more than 15 workers on site at the height of the fit-out. Wigan-based CCS Refrigeration, which labels itself the UK’s first carbon neutral refrigeration group, provided the coldroom for the basement area and supplied the bespoke refrigeration packs to serve a special range of eight foot champagne, saki and wine fridges on each floor.

C&C had to ensure the packs were minimal in both width and height due to restrictions imposed by Heron Tower regarding the roof platform space on top of the building.

“We partnered with Counterline on the fridges and it did quite a lot of research and development on how the units could be made, as they entailed curved elliptical designs with bespoke glazing. Getting curved toughened glass which isn’t a true radius is not an easy thing to do,” says Parry.

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Fabrication work was carried out by Liverpool-based Fabs4 and, again, because of the unique specifications set out by the foodservice design consultant a constant channel of communication was required to achieve the right result. “We were given detailed working drawings on how we wanted the fabrication made and Counterline replicated that well,” says Parry.

Furnishing the kitchen areas involved C&C liaising with a number of different brands, which all supplied equipment to the project in line with the schedule.

More than 30 Foster Integral cabinets were installed throughout the site, while Hoshizaki ice makers were sourced to meet the venue’s needs in terms of ice for both the cocktail bar and the sushi displays. Warewashing units to handle the restaurant’s dishwasing demands was provided by Electrolux.

Cleveland Kettles supplied large capacity tilting kettles, while another Rosinox suite — modular rather than bespoke — was installed in the kitchen on the 38th floor. A Wood Stone chuckanet stone hearth oven was provided by Jestic to bring an element of theatre cooking to the venue.

“There were some unique challenges presented to us on this project, but we delivered under those pressures and within a very tight timeframe,” comments Parry. “We are delighted to win this contract and even happier with the end result.”
C&C will now pick up all the servicing work, which considering the Duck & Waffle operates on a 24-hour basis is a particularly significant element of the wider project.

Somehow you get the feeling that whenever the C&C team is on site to run the rule over equipment they will take a moment to soak up the views of London that they didn’t get the chance to enjoy the first time around when the pressure was on to get the fit-out completed on schedule.

See pictures of the fit-out in our exclusive online picture gallery here.

Spec sheet

Equipment from a variety of manufacturers was used during the kitchen fit-outs at Sushisamba, including:

CCS Refrigeration     Coldroom
Cleveland Kettles      Tilting kettles
Counterline                 Bespoke wine fridges
Electrolux                    Warewashing
Fabs4                            Fabrication
Foster                           Refrigeration cabinets
Hoshizaki                     Ice machines
Insitu Fabrications    Fabrication
Rosinox                       Bespoke & modular cooking suites
Wood Stone               Stone hearth oven

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