February 2020: Toby Burrowes -- head chef since opening (under owner/Exec Head Chef Phil Howard) -- has announced he is quitting.
Harden's survey result
Phil Howard “is going from strength to strength” at his “vibrant and lively” three-year-old, tucked away in a chichi Chelsea backstreet, where survey ratings scaled new heights this year. Deceptively, the slightly “austere” room “has the feel of a high-quality, neighbourhood local, but standards of food and service are, by contrast, top class”. “Phil has gone back to basics” with his culinary approach and his “beautiful, clever dishes are a delight”: “really inspired cooking using seasonal ingredients and recipes” with a “light touch” and “superb precision”. Famously, he’s more ‘flexitarian’ in approach than when he was at The Square and “while it’s not a vegetarian restaurant, it delivers some of the most interesting gastronomic vegetarian dishes ever!” Service is “outstanding” too – “interested, engaged and good communicators”.
Phil Howard’s “exciting”, yet “unfussy” food (“at last, a top chef that has the confidence to cook a beautifully balanced meal and not hide behind another two-bite tasting menu”) “pushes the boundaries, whilst feeling familiar; and always has fabulous vegetarian options that highlight the joys of the freshest in-season produce” (“roasted cabbage was my main dish of the year… and I’m no veggie!”). As a result, a massive fan club “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE” his Chelsea two-year-old, whose “restrained, light and spacious decor” and “professional” approach help set up a “thoroughly civilised and relaxed experience”. But even those who consider the cuisine here “top class” can feel prices are “astronomical”, and this “casual” space can also appear “canteen-like” and far too “noisy” for somewhere in this league.
“A vast improvement over the late and not-lamented Restaurant Tom Aikens that previously occupied this space” – Phil Howard’s Chelsea yearling (in partnership with restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas) has proved one of the better openings of the year, with a “mature reinvention” of his style at The Square: a seasonal, ‘Flexitarian’ approach that’s “bang-up-to-date, light, fresh, modern and exciting!” Feedback is not totally free of quibbles though – in particular even for the area it’s “pricey” (especially given the more fuss-free style) – and the interior is a tad “sexless”.
Chef Phil Howard, famous for his 25 years at the helm of The Square, Mayfair, has paired up with Rebecca Mascarenhas once again to launch a new, modern British restaurant, on the former Chelsea site of Tom Aikens Restaurant, opening in October 2016. A ‘flexitarian’ approach with more emphasis on vegetables is promised by comparison with the more protein-led cuisine at The Square. Stop Press – early press critiques are very upbeat.
Elystan Street Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Very relaxed atmosphere which gives it a neighbourhood feel. The food was all well cooked but every dish appeared muddled with its flavour combinations, always one and sometimes two ingredients too many. As you eat each dish you are asking, what is this? Why is it here. I don't need it. Not a bad night out, but please pare back the cheffiness."
"Fine dining without the mandatory tasting menu makes this an extremely attractive, relaxed place to spend an evening. The food is what you'd expect from this chef. Excellent chicken ravioli; the beef cooked to perfection and the desserts not too sweet. Service doesn't reach the 'special' level of the food but it was fine."
"Outstanding cuisine together with very good service in an agreeable ambience make this a must go to location despite quite challenging pricing"
"Superb food, original menu -wonderful range, light and dark and green and white; a cheese souffle for a main, worked a treat. But gosh the prices are eye watering - will make you think twice about a quick return. and a half empty main room suggests they are pricing themselves out."
"First time here, for lunch, and was impressed. Staff were cordial, chatty and reasonably relaxed. Room is nothing special, but fine. Food was very good indeed and good value at lunchtime."
|Wine per bottle||£23.00|
43 Elystan Street, London, SW3 3NT
|Monday||12:30 pm‑2:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑10 pm|
|Tuesday||12:30 pm‑2:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑10 pm|
|Wednesday||12:30 pm‑2:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑10 pm|
|Thursday||12:30 pm‑2:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑10 pm|
|Friday||12:30 pm‑2:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Saturday||12:30 pm‑2:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Sunday||12:30 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:30 pm|