A city within a city - there is no other way to describe the largest shopping centre in Europe. Westfield Shopping Centre, opened on 24 October 2008, is admired even by the most confirmed of sceptics. Never again will those who have visited it once will feel the urge to return to the unbearable crush of Oxford Street. True, there is no lack of shopping enthusiasts in Westfield Centre as well, and yet they all but vanish in the countless departments and winding alleys - you will hardly notice the crowd at all. A giant glass roof, several floors and hundreds of stores selling groceries and clothing, fast food restaurants, a cinema auditorium, fitness clubs, banks... anything you can dream of. More importantly, instead of commercial little shops you will find outlets of genuinely tasteful and stylishly sophisticated brands, the likes of Tiffany & Co, Versace, Foyles and Armani Exchange. Not surprisingly, the new Mecca of the retail world was honoured with the construction of a new tube station, providing comfortable access to the very heart of the shopping centre. You will need a map of the „shopping city", however: it is quite easy to get lost in the maze.
Croque Gascon is located in the Balcony area of the Westfield Centre. It is a surprising fast food restaurant that has managed to knock off the socks of A.A. Gill, the British restaurant critic normally famous for his ironic approach. And if an eatery of any sort is recommended by him, you just have to try it. Forget the eternal cafeterias and reheated burgers. The pet project of Pascal Aussignac and Vincent Lebeyrie (also known as the owners of the Club Gascon Restaurant) destroys every stereotypical preconception of fast food. You will sense it as soon as you set foot inside the restaurant: bright sunlight breaking through the glass roof; pillars with the texture of black marble; the interplay of lighting fixtures in a variety of shapes and forms - the decor is a step away from being ultra-modern and the feel is that of an art gallery. Amidst it all, an excellent duck burger (GBP 14) with fresh crunchy, lightly golden French fries cooked in duck fat. Heavenly! Everything is prepared on order in front of your very eyes - in the open kitchen. There is very little you have to do, just watch your meal cooked on the other side of the counter and, some time later, leave with a full tray to find a table - best of all, somewhere on the balcony offering a truly royal view of the hustle and bustle of several floors of the shopping centre. Cast a glance over the neighbouring tables laden with countless varieties of burgers: with bacon, foie gras, white beans, squid, sweet onions and chilli. Fast and excellent French food! Everybody is eating sitting down. Wine is also available by the glass and in small bottles.
By the way, you are free to sit anywhere on the balcony - it does not necessarily be opposite the restaurant.
Keywords: London, restaurant, fast food