New restaurants at Stansted Airport are at the cutting edge

Top chef James Martin at the launch of his new eatery at Stansted Airport.

Top chef James Martin at the launch of his new eatery at Stansted Airport. - Credit: Archant

Restaurants are investing in something different for their outlets at Stansted Airport.

Essex, through Stansted Airport, has become the cutting edge for many of the restaurant outlets in the newly revamped terminal building.

At whatever end of the range the eatery is at, the airport offering has become somewhat bespoke from what is offered at outlets across the rest of the country.

Perhaps the best example of this is the new Starbucks Evenings which has become the first outside of the USA to offer food and alcoholic drinks.

Across the pond 30 of its coffee shops, both in airports and on the high street, open from 4pm in a bid to attract a whole new audience.

Victoria Robertson, senior brand manager at SSP which runs the Starbucks franchise in transport hubs, said: “It is about offering not just coffee and cake.

“We are already looking at expanding it where we operate, and Starbucks themselves are looking at it too though it is very early days.”

It means if you spot food on offer at Starbucks on your high street in the coming years, you have the chance to try it first at Stansted Airport, which runs the food offering at an earlier time.

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At Burger King the airport outlet’s format is in line with one of the fast food chain’s “urban” stores with charging points for people to top up their phone and laptop batteries while they eat, along with a drinks machine designed by a team from Ferrari which offers 103 different varieties – including cloudy lemonade.

Nearby sushi chain Itsu is offering coffee for the first time at the airport restaurant.

Although not all of the restaurants offer fast food, the idea is that they all offer fast service.

At Giraffe passengers are encouraged to tell staff when their flight leaves so main courses can be recommended depending on the time available, while some of the outlets offering packaged food have designed it with plane seat trays in mind.

Offering food within an airport offers a set of unique challenges around security and delivering produce.

However this has only served to galvanise the restaurants, many of which now bake their pastries in-store and use fresh, not frozen produce.

A number of the outlets, including rather unusually the revamped JD Wetherspoon Windmill Pub, include an open kitchen in their design.

The Windmill is also one of just two Wetherspoon’s in the country to have a rotisserie.

Some of the new names are moving into airports for the first time.

Coffee chain Harris+Hoole has its first airport outlet at the terminal, while the James Martin Kitchen – launched by the celebrity chef himself – is his first ever concept idea.

Despite all of the international glitz and glam on offer, the airport’s Essex connections have not been lost.

Some of the outlets offer locally-sourced ingredients, while the Windmill Pub continues the chain’s real ale tradition with beers from local breweries.