When you think of a convenience store, harsh fluorescent lighting, rickety metal shelving, a suitable layer of grime and a notoriety for items past their sell-by-date usually springs to mind.
They’re often cold and unwelcoming, capitalising on, as the name suggests, convenience and whatever standards of comforts we’re happy to sacrifice in its name. It’s a quick in and out, and while some now include small supermarket options, they’re not a place you look forward to doing your shopping.
But that’s about to change with the imminent launch of Pantry by Marble, the new grocery, retail and service station concept by celebrity chef David Higgs and restaurateurs Gary Kyriacou and Dino Constantinou. Given the dynamic team’s pedigree it’s no surprise that the project, announced last year, has more than delivered, adding a dash of their luxury signature to the forecourt shopping experience.
The first thing you notice when arriving at the petrol station, a partnership with Sasol, is the absence of towering plastic facades and generic branding. Here, retro meets futurism. The 20s inspired “Pantry” logo scrolls across digital signage in a modern take on old-school theatres or drive-in displays, welcoming you in.
Beneath the canopy, wood-panelled ceiling fins are interspersed with greenery, while red brick, breeze block-esque detailing adds a touch of nostalgia. Supporting pillars, adorned with high-gloss tiles in jewel tones of greens, blues and purples ensure that this is without doubt the most stylish and futuristic of stations to refill your tank (or charge your battery, the station included a Mercedes-Benz electric-car charging point).
The design, as is the case with all their projects, has been under the stewardship and keen eye of Marble group interior designer Irene Kyriacou together with Grid Worldwide and Redeco. They’ve created a warm and welcoming retail environment with textures of cork, wood and terracotta. The touches of terrazzo are used to great effect, while gentle curves and arches create a natural flow throughout the space.
Naturally, Higgs and former Marble & Saint head chef Tyler Clayton have overseen the food side of things with a gourmet deli and bakery, and ready-made and takeaway food.
Expect the likes of freshly baked breads (including the signature Marble loaf) and pastries. Ready to-go meals including roast chickens, ribs, pies, wraps, sandwiches, hot chips all available with the an selection of salads and sides from the deli counter.
Group pastry chef Megin Meikle has created an array of her beautiful, petite pastries, while an old-school soft-serve machine will swirl out hearty, creamy dollops of nostalgia and enjoyment.
The inclusion of a wood-fired oven, of course means the team are bringing their pizza-making skills to the counter — here serving thin and crispy Roman-style pies (rather than Saint’s Neapolitan versions) that can be enjoyed in the small, outdoor courtyard or at home.
Besides the usual convenience store fare, the retail side will have a curated retail and grocery experience, including meat from Marble’s in-house butchery, fresh fruit and veg, a host of goods from local producers, a small florist display by LouLou D (the same team who do all of the group’s restaurant florals), homeware, gifting and a wine selection by Marble sommelier Wikus Human.
The Pantry will be open 24/7 starting in late February, just off the corner of Jellicoe Avenue, on Jan Smuts Avenue in Rosebank.
Follow The Pantry by Marble (@pantry_jhb) — “fancy, but easy” — on Instagram for updates.