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“Well worth a visit in this remote corner of Chelsea”: this “outstanding oasis in Worlds End” has won a big culinary reputation, and chef Joe Mercer-Nairne “maintains high standards year-in-year-out”, with a “classic French approach that’s not so over-refined as to suck enjoyment out of it”. “Very good ingredients are cooked with great care, love and attention, but not overdone, nor over-fancy”. Service is of a very “high class” too, while the interior is “sophisticated” (“if a little cramped”). “It’s another surprising omission from the Michelin star list: is it because it’s at the wrong end of the King’s Road?”
“In an otherwise rather barren part of Chelsea”, this low-profile, but immensely popular, fixture is “a great neighbourhood restaurant that’s worth a journey if it’s not in your neighbourhood”. “Why did it lose its Michelin star” a couple of years ago? – we just don’t know, as Joe Mercier-Nairne’s “refined” cuisine is “very accomplished” and often “memorable”; service is “professional” and “exceptionally friendly”; and “the extent and variety of the wine list is a constant surprise, with recommendations that are spot-on every time”. The weakest link is a dining room that some say is “not the most elegant”, but others value its “intimate” feel.
“Joe Mercer-Nairne should have a Michelin star” and why the tyre men took it away is bonkers given the “faultless, complex cuisine with modern flair” and “slick and pleasant service” at this well-known and extremely popular “hidden gem”, at the ‘wrong’ end of the King’s Road. At best the slightly awkward interior feels “classy” and “convivial”, but it can also appear “staid” and “strangely low key”.
“The location’s not great” and “signage needs improving”, but this “welcome refuge” near World’s End – run by alumni of Chez Bruce – “exceeds expectations”, and has won a huge following. “It’s a comfortable, quiet space” pepped up by “professional” staff who “try extra hard”, and the “masterfully executed” food is “seasonal, understated, big on flavour”, and accompanied by an “outstanding” wine list. That Michelin took its star away is a screw-up on their part. Top Tip – “incredible value lunch menu”.
Medlar Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Great to be back, lovely service, good food. Beautifully cooked grouse, just right side of pink, London stalwart, long may it be!"
|Wine per bottle||£33.00|
From the school of Chez Bruce, a (rare) Chelsea restaurant where the emphasis is on the food rather than the ambience - in the light of those priorities, it achieves its aims very well.
We all know restaurant groups have DNA - resemblances between the members of the 'family' explicable by their common origins. A pretty good example is the 'Nigel Platts-Martin group'.
If you live outside restaurant-land, you may never have heard of this former City solicitor, but he's just pulled off the remarkable double of being a major stakeholder not only in Chez Bruce (perennially London's Favourite Restaurant, as determined by Harden's reporters), but also in the restaurant newly-crowned as the one where you get London's best food, The Ledbury.
The subject of this review, Medlar is, so far as we know, the first break-away from the P-M empire. The chef Joe Mercer Nairne is ex-Chez Bruce, and the manager, David O'Connor, formerly held the same position at its Mayfair outpost, The Square.
On the evidence of Medlar, it seems that restaurant DNA can be acquired - unlike the real sort - simply by propinquity and experience. How else to explain that the new Chelsea restaurant feels, for all practical purposes, just as if Mr Platts-Martin had a share in it? (He definitely doesn't.)
Or, rather, it feels as if the early-days Mr Platts-Martin has a share in it, having that slightly 'never knowingly undersold' feeling Chez Bruce used to have, before it got quite famous, a little bit grand, and quite a lot more spacious and comfortable.
Ay, there's the rub. Medlar - as is quite natural for restaurateurs in their early independent days - has that slightly cramped, slightly cramped, slightly 'there-are-no-good-tables' feel Chez Bruce had in the early days.
That's the bad news. The good news is that all the other bits of the DNA have come too, so the menu is full of nice food with a gentle twist, so that you feel you want to eat all the way through it. When the dishes come, you're not disappointed by the results. And the service, by and large, manages to be there when you want it, and mercifully absent when you don't. And a very good wine list too.
In short, you might say, Medlar has many of the qualities you might associate with the legendary 'perfect neighbourhood restaurant'.
Which begs a very interesting question. When was the last time Chelsea had a real reputation as a good mid-market restaurant neighbourhood? If anything, the King's Road has a bit of a name as the-street-with-no-restaurants. It wasn't always so, of course. Not that we were there, you understand, but wasn't there quite a scene there in the '60s? That momentum carried on into the '80s (when we do sort of remember it).
By the '90s, however, the spotlight had begin to move 'Up West', and - with the odd exception in the environs of Sloane Square - not much has been heard from Chelsea ever since. The area may be full of people who are as rich as Croesus, nowadays, but they do seem rather to have stultified the restaurant scene.
But we digress. Will Medlar work? We hope it will, but - times having moved on since the '60s, and even the early days of Chez Bruce, the '90s - we must admit we didn't particularly enjoy eating food of this undoubted quality in surroundings we found slightly uncongenial.
On the other hand, though, many people felt just that when Chez Bruce opened, all those years ago. And look where it is now.
438 King's Rd, London, SW10 0LJ
|Number of Diners:|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑9:30 pm|