Latest opening: Sessions Islington

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Latest opening: Sessions Islington

Related tags Sessions Market Dan Warne Food Hall Street food

The group behind Brighton’s Shelter Hall has launched its first permanent location in the capital with a rotating line-up of chefs set to take up residence.

What:​ A 'hybrid restaurant meets food hall concept' that's is located on the former Rodizio Rico site on Upper Street in Islington. Compared to more conventional food halls like Market Halls, KERB's Seven Dials Market​ and JKS' recently relaunched Arcade Food Hall​, Sessions is a smaller proposition, with more of a neighbourhood-style feel to it. The site can house up to four operators at any one time, and is intended to act as a launchpad for 'founder-led brands' looking to gain a foothold in the capital. 

Who: ​Sessions Islington is the first permanent London outpost for hospitality brand development platform Sessions (formally Sessions Market), which was founded in 2020 by former Deliveroo managing director Dan Warne and operates Brighton's Shelter Hall food market. Backed by Imbiba, Sessions' USP is to allow its chef partners to scale their concepts without requiring the operational intensity and investment of a traditional bricks and mortar business. Founder-led brands are refined in Sessions' internal studio before being tested in its operated venues and then scaled across the country through its licensed network of delivery kitchens. The Islington site will feature a rotating roster of brands that will change every four months. For the launch, chefs Hasan Semay, Jay Morjaria, Zoe Adjonyoh, and Richie Hayes and Elliot Kaye have all taken up residence at Sessions Islington, bringing their respective concepts Big Has, Tiger and Rabbit, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, and Norman’s.

The food:​ In an operational change from a conventional food hall, all of the food served at Sessions comes out of a single kitchen, with a team of in-house chefs working across the different brands. Each brand's menu is kept quite tight, with a handful of small and large dishes available alongside one or two sides. The headline concept for Sessions Islington's launch is arguably Jay Morjaria's Tiger and Rabbit, which features contemporary approach to traditional Korean dishes. They include a range of ssambap plates featuring either beef or chicken with rice, kimchi, pickles and lettuce; a Korean chicken burger tossed in maple soy and served with curry mayo, pickled cucumbers and kimchi; and crispy tofu served with ssamjang aioli. Signature dishes to feature across the other menus include Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen's jollof fried chicken with shito mayonnaise; Big Has' mixed shish featuring lamb rump and chicken wings served on warm flatbread with grilled peppers, onions, parsley and pomegranate salad; and Norman's' pork bap with a pork patty, red Leicester, hash brown and fried egg with Norman's house-made brown or red sauce. Prices start at £5-£10 for smaller dishes, with larger plates positioned at around the £12-£15 mark. 


The vibe: ​The décor includes raw, industrial features that utilise sustainable materials, with wall art used to showcase the stories of the featured chefs. Holding a total of 114 covers, Sessions is designed to be completely technology-enabled with guests encouraged to order from all the brands at once via its proprietary app.


And another thing: ​The launch of Sessions Islington comes as the Sessions group gears up for substantive growth. Earlier this year the group raised $10m (£7.3m) in Series A funding to expand the business​ ​nationwide, with at least one more bricks and mortar site expected to launch before the end of 2022.

77 Upper St, London N1 0NU​ 

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