National Heritage Centre - Newmarket Racecourse
THE NATIONAL HERITAGE CENTRE, NEWMARKET
Although many of KCCJ’s varied projects involve refurbishment of an existing site in some way or other we are also involved in the design and installation of kitchens where they are starting from scratch. This was the case at the National Heritage Centre at Newmarket racecourse where we were invited to tender for a project to provide a kitchen for ‘The Tack Room: Food by the Pantry’, a new restaurant that would occupy a space being specially created as part of the redevelopment of the site.
The main challenge for us at KCCJ was the very narrow window that the client gave us for completion of the project – just 6 weeks from start to finish! Indeed, time was so tight that we started work on-site the very same day that we were awarded the contract. Added to the constraints we were working in a Grade I listed building, this tested the skills of our design, M&E and installation teams to the maximum. For example, it became apparent very early on in the design process that the existing apertures in the walls of the building were not going to be sufficient for a traditional extraction system. The building’s listed status meant planning permission would need to be sought to increase the size of the apertures, but given the time schedule and the time it would take to get consent, this clearly wasn’t an option. The solution that we came up with was a Britannia Refresh system. This self-contained kitchen ventilation unit is made up of an extract and supply canopy with a dedicated services tower at one end. The tower has an integral fan and additional stages of filtration which clean the air before re-introducing it to the kitchen and thereby doing away with the need for external extraction.
Situated just off the public atrium in a modern adaptation of the original building, ‘The Tack Room: Food by the Pantry’ is accessible to all members of the public, not just National Heritage Centre ticket holders. Seating accommodates up to 62 people inside, with an additional 22 on an umbrella-covered terrace. The restaurant serves traditional British food with a twist using the very best that East Anglia, and in particular Suffolk, has to offer. During the day it provides all-day-dining including breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, in a relaxed and informal environment. By night it is transformed into an elegant restaurant, wine and cocktail bar, with an emphasis on fresh fish and seafood.
Despite the challenges and time pressures, the project - which was valued at more than £100,000 and included bespoke fabrication as well as equipment from leading suppliers such as Rational, Gram and Classeq - was successfully completed within the allotted time schedule.