Inside the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-inspired restaurant in London's Kew Gardens

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Here’s a venue for sweet-toothed restaurant-goers to get their teeth into – an eatery that’s inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Described as a mixture between the beloved Roald Dahl novel and a ‘nature-led laboratory’, the new Family Kitchen restaurant, situated in London’s Kew Gardens, is a ‘world of fantasy’. 

The children’s writer is at the heart of the interiors – fixtures such as the zany mushroom sculptures and a giant apple chair are ‘inspired by fantastical worlds in literature such as Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach’.

The new Family Kitchen restaurant is a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-inspired ‘world of fantasy’ in London’s Kew Gardens

The new Family Kitchen restaurant is a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-inspired ‘world of fantasy’ in London’s Kew Gardens

The ‘multi-sensory’ restaurant, which was designed by London-based Mizzi Studio and can accommodate up to 250 diners, is set beside the Children’s Garden

The ‘multi-sensory’ restaurant, which was designed by London-based Mizzi Studio and can accommodate up to 250 diners, is set beside the Children’s Garden

While Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory revolves around sugar, the mission of this restaurant goes a bit further, to ‘offer children an insight into plant types, local produce, agricultural techniques, food processing and meal preparation’. Interactive installations that teach families about the ‘origins of their food’ are dotted throughout the eatery.

The ‘multi-sensory’ restaurant, which was designed by London-based designers Mizzi Studio and can accommodate up to 250 diners, is set beside the Children’s Garden.

At the entrance, visitors are greeted by a ‘radiating LED sun’ on one wall. There are blue seats patterned with mosaics of waves, inspired by the work of Antonio Gaudi, and raincloud-shaped hanging lights suspended from the ceiling. 

At the entrance, visitors are greeted by a ‘radiating LED sun’ on one wall and blue seats patterned with mosaics of waves

At the entrance, visitors are greeted by a ‘radiating LED sun’ on one wall and blue seats patterned with mosaics of waves

The whimsical blue hand sanitisation station, pictured, features signs that highlight the antibacterial properties of plants like lavender and rosemary

The whimsical blue hand sanitisation station, pictured, features signs that highlight the antibacterial properties of plants like lavender and rosemary

Diners are then led to a whimsical blue hand sanitisation station, with signs that highlight the antibacterial properties of plants such as lavender and rosemary.

Up next is the ‘spring zone’, with green booth seating. There, children can press LED-lit push buttons that activate educational animations, teaching them about the ‘process of germination and the magic of seeds’.

Moving into the centre of the restaurant, visitors find a pink pizza oven that’s covered in ‘bright red infinity mirror periscopes’. Peer inside these periscopes and you’ll see harvested fruit and vegetables.

In the ‘spring zone’, pictured, children can press LED-lit push buttons that activate educational animations

In the ‘spring zone’, pictured, children can press LED-lit push buttons that activate educational animations

Pictured is the restaurant's pizza oven and dining zone, which is decked out in booth seating in summer berry tones

Pictured is the restaurant’s pizza oven and dining zone, which is decked out in booth seating in summer berry tones

The restaurant's pizza oven, pictured above, is covered in ‘bright red infinity mirror periscopes’

The restaurant’s pizza oven, pictured above, is covered in ‘bright red infinity mirror periscopes’ 

Peer inside the periscopes on the pizza oven and you’ll see harvested fruit and vegetables

Peer inside the periscopes on the pizza oven and you’ll see harvested fruit and vegetables

‘This is where children will learn all about how food is made, where ingredients come from, and how to recognise and name the different foods that make up their meals,’ a statement says.

Visitors can pick their own ingredients for their pizzas at the topping station. If they don’t fancy pizza, there’s also cook-to-order hot food options, a salad bar, and an ‘artisan’ sandwich station.

‘Created with sustainability in mind, the menu for the Family Kitchen will also feature an array of plant-based offerings, allowing visitors the opportunity to enjoy a selection of eco-friendly food,’ the statement notes.

This plant-based menu extends to the ice cream bar, where ‘children are introduced to nuts and plants that can be made into milk substitute including soya, rice, coconut and oats’.

And diners won’t go thirsty – the restaurant has an espresso bar and ‘infinity’ soft drink refills.

Once visitors have chosen their fare, they move on to the dining space, which is decked out in booth seating in summer berry tones.

A large pink sculpture of an Enset tree – a species of flowering plant in the banana family – with illuminated leaves towers over the space.

A large pink sculpture of an Enset tree – a species of flowering plant in the banana family – towers over the dining zone

A large pink sculpture of an Enset tree – a species of flowering plant in the banana family – towers over the dining zone 

It’s here that the artist Tom Hare created the large-scale, handwoven willow fungi sculptures that celebrate ‘the magical world of mushrooms’. 

Interactive wooden displays, known as the ‘wood-wide-web’, educate guests on the significant role of fungal organisms in our woodlands and forests. 

Family Kitchen also features an adjoining shop, which sells books, toys and planting kits for children. The building exterior, designed by HOK architects, is a net-zero carbon, timber structure.

Visitors can choose between cook-to-order hot food options, a salad bar, an ‘artisan’ sandwich station and an ice cream servery

Visitors can choose between cook-to-order hot food options, a salad bar, an ‘artisan’ sandwich station and an ice cream servery

The artist Tom Hare created large-scale, handwoven willow fungi sculptures that celebrate ‘the magical world of mushrooms’ (pictured)

Interactive wooden displays, known as the ‘wood-wide-web’ (pictured), educate guests on the significant role of fungal organisms in our woodlands and forests

The artist Tom Hare created large-scale, handwoven willow fungi sculptures that celebrate ‘the magical world of mushrooms’ (pictured on the left). Interactive wooden displays, known as the ‘wood-wide-web’ (pictured on the right), educate guests on the significant role of fungal organisms in our woodlands and forests

A giant apple chair in the restaurant. The decor is 'inspired by fantastical worlds in literature such as Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach’

A giant apple chair in the restaurant. The decor is ‘inspired by fantastical worlds in literature such as Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach’

The ‘magical restaurant’ promotes the global research undertaken by Kew Royal Botanical Gardens scientists, whose mission is to ‘understand and protect plants and fungi for the well-being of people and the future of all life on Earth’.

It’s not the only eatery in Kew Gardens – there’s also The Botanical Brasserie, which lays out afternoon tea, al fresco dining at the Pavilion Bar and Grill, and Orangery, which plates up ‘amazing toasties’.

Jonathan Mizzi, Director of Mizzi Studio, says: ‘Kew is an institution that has brought so much value to the entire world. Our goal has been to design a space that celebrates nature and learning, helping to make children and parents excited about food growth, hygiene and preparation.

‘It’s Charlie and the Chocolate factory meets botanical science laboratory. Through colour, texture and wild nature-inspired form, we have created a space that brings families closer to the roles of the elements in nature, to seasonality, and the overall journey from plant to plate.

The ‘magical restaurant’ promotes the global research undertaken by Royal Botanical Gardens scientists

The ‘magical restaurant’ promotes the global research undertaken by Royal Botanical Gardens scientists

It's not the only eatery in Kew Gardens - there's also The Botanical Brasserie, which lays out afternoon tea, al fresco dining at the Pavilion Bar and Grill, and Orangery, which plates up 'amazing toasties'. Pictured is the Palm House at Kew Gardens

It’s not the only eatery in Kew Gardens – there’s also The Botanical Brasserie, which lays out afternoon tea, al fresco dining at the Pavilion Bar and Grill, and Orangery, which plates up ‘amazing toasties’. Pictured is the Palm House at Kew Gardens 

‘The Kew Family Kitchen is a place where the entire family can learn about our ecosystem – how the sun works, how plants work, and how food is grown. As we are living in a climate crisis, Mizzi Studio believes that nothing is more important than using design to champion humanity’s role as stewards of our great and beautiful planet. Our goal is, therefore, to help children fall in love with nature so that they will instinctively treasure and protect it as they grow.’

Sandra Botterell, Kew Gardens’ Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise adds: ‘We are very excited [about] Kew Gardens’ brand-new food and retail venue, the Family Kitchen & Shop. Situated next to the wonderful Children’s Garden, the restaurant is an ideal space for all the family to enjoy a meal. We hope this space will bring to life a sense of adventure and curiosity and encourage families to appreciate the delicious choices which plants offer in our daily lives.’

For more information visit www.kew.org and www.mizzi.co.

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