Basingstoke’s Festival Place. Image: AEW
Food & Beverage / Leisure | Ticker

Basingstoke’s food and beverage appeal expands with arrival of new dining choices to Festival Place

A taste of Asia is coming to Basingstoke’s Festival Place with the arrival of not one, but two new f&b operators expanding the wide menu of dining choices at the region’s leading retail and leisure destination. Independent Japanese restaurant The Sushi Maki and Kokoro, offering a palatable menu of East Asian dishes, have both signed up to open at the 1.1 million sq ft shopping centre.

North Hampshire’s largest retail and dining attraction, Festival Place was ranked 17th in the 2018 Global Data Survey for shopping centre destinations. Home to over 200 shops and restaurants, the scheme is well located at the heart of Hampshire’s largest town. The centre was acquired by AEW in December 2015 with a vision to modernise it and create an improved shopping and dining destination for the region.

The Sushi Maki and Kokoro are the latest casual dining additions to Festival Place following the arrival of the Parisian inspired Côte Brasserie. Festival Place is also home to over 30 restaurants, cafés and bars, including Nando’s, wagama, PizzaExpress, Las Iguanas, Giraffe, Ask Italia and Gourmet Burger Kitchen, along with a recently refreshed 10-screeen Vue Cinema.

The Sushi Maki’s 710 sq ft unit is located next to Gourmet Burger Kitchen and by Festival Square. Bringing the brand’s award-winning dishes and relaxed atmosphere to local sushi lovers, the restaurant will further add to the aspirational setting of Festival Square. The Sushi Maki is the centre’s first Japanese restaurant and will appeal to both locals and visitors from the wider North Hampshire catchment.

Arif Goksel, Founder of The Sushi Maki, said: “Festival Place is the ideal location for our new restaurant. We’re all about fresh ingredients and great tasting Japanese food prepared right in front of the customers offering an open kitchen experience. We’re looking forward to welcoming new diners and creating a warm atmosphere that encourages our visitors to return again and again.”

Taking a 1,300 sq ft unit located in Festival Place’s ‘grab & go’ area, Kokoro will serve a selection of freshly made East Asian dishes, with some Korean and Cantonese favourites on the menu, as well as sushi and sashimi. Kokoro literally meaning ‘heart, soul and spirit’ in Japanese, will be a popular lunch-time choice with local shoppers and office workers. The restaurant will be Kokoro’s 23rd branch, following the opening of its flagship branch in Kingston-upon-Thames in 2010.

The introduction of the East Asian cuisines further strengthens Festival Place’s appeal as a dining destination with a diverse mix of culinary options, enhancing the centre’s daytime and evening economy. Festival Place has some 1.7 million people living within 30-minutes’ drive time, plus 11,500 office workers within a 10-minute walk.

Russell Jewell, Head of Private Equity Funds at AEW, said: ‘The addition of The Sushi Maki and Kokoro along with the rest of our food and beverage offer makes Festival Place a really enticing option for food enthusiasts, during the day and in the evening. The new additions complement the 30 new retail and dining brands we have welcomed to the centre over the last two years, reflecting how the scheme has been transformed by our refurbishment. Additionally, over 60 existing tenants have renewed their leases, adding to the appeal and visual impact of the overall centre.”

As well as the cinema and casual dining choices, Festival Place boasts an improved leisure offer including a Flip Out trampoline park featuring the UK’s first high-tech Ninja Tag assault course, a health & fitness club across seven floors including a 25-metre swimming pool, and a library branded The Discovery Centre with an array of activities for all ages. 

The agents for Festival Place are Cushman & Wakefield and Lunson Mitchenall; CBRE is the managing agent.

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