Rochelle ICA is the heart – or rather the stomach – of the ICA. Historically, the Bar has always been the physical and social centre of the ICA; many great ideas have been born here.
In October 2017, Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson (Arnold & Henderson) opened a second outpost of their original Rochelle Canteen in Shoreditch, with Ben Coombs as Head Chef and Fin Spiteri as overall Manager of the new lower Bar and mezzanine Canteen, together reviving this crucial cultural and culinary function, offering a simple modern menu with integrity. As legendary food critic Fay Maschler wrote:
‘The ICA at the foot of Carlton House Terrace steps in The Mall has been off my radar for ages. I think I saw Yoko Ono perform her Cut Piece there in the late 1960s as part of the Destruction in Art Symposium, but I could be hallucinating. I do remember a talk given by Leonard Cohen, who observed that that it was so wrong that he was on stage while we, the audience, were sitting below him. When invited to join us he looked absolutely horrified. […] Aficionados of Rochelle Canteen and/or those lucky enough to frequent events catered by Arnold & Henderson will note signifiers on the menus, assemblies such as rillettes and pickled cucumber, celeriac soup and back fat, deep-fried sprats and tartare sauce, Barnsley chop, minestra nera and anchovy, roast brill, lentils and green sauce […]. The cookbook Margot Henderson published five years ago designed for entertaining numbers – always daunting – is called You’re All Invited. Now is the moment to take her at her word.'