Harden's survey result
“The old standard of cooking is long gone, yet the bill defies gravity…” – that’s the overall verdict on the TV chef’s “chic” (but some would say “surprisingly small and claustrophobic”) Chelsea flagship, whose long overdue turnaround would provide great material for one of his TV shows. On the plus-side, there are many loyal fans who say Matt Abe’s cuisine can be “fabulous” and who continue to laud Jean-Claude Breton’s “impeccable” service. Criticisms that the place is “stuck up”, “down a notch on previously” or just “quite underwhelming overall” are far too prevalent however, which given the “shocking prices” can lead to a sense of “crushing disappointment”. Mr Michelin Man wake up – this is not a three star performance.
Clare Smyth’s departure – with Matt Abe taking up the reins – has stymied the recovery of GR’s Chelsea flagship. Fans do still laud this “grown-up and charming” chamber as “amazing on every level”, and the service in particular remains “exceptional”. Ratings fell back significantly this year however, with numerous attacks on modern French cuisine that’s “rather blah, fine-dining-by-numbers” and “way, way, way too expensive”. The chasm between reality and Michelin’s three stars has never looked greater here.
Slowly but surely, GR’s Chelsea flagship is clawing its way back into London’s very top tier. As yet, it still inspires too many gripes about a “boring” experience at “stratospheric” prices, but year-on-year the ‘swingometer’ is steadily heading in the direction of its admirers who – lauding Clare Smyth’s “absolutely impeccable” cuisine – say “the bill is eye-watering, but after such a superb meal, you won’t care!” Stop Press – in early October 2015, Clare Smyth announced that she was stepping back, to open her own place in Autumn 2016. Her No 2. Matt Abe will succeed her here.
Critics of GR’s Chelsea flagship still decry it as “lacking innovation or interest”, and even fans warn of “hysterical laughter at the prices”; its ratings recovered somewhat this year, though, supported by more praise for a “class act”, and in particular Clare Smyth’s cuisine that’s “amazing from start to finish”.
68-69 Royal Hospital Rd, London, SW3 4HP
|Number of Diners:|
|Tuesday||12 pm-2:15 pm, 6:30 pm-10:15 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm-2:15 pm, 6:30 pm-10:15 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm-2:15 pm, 6:30 pm-10:15 pm|
|Friday||12 pm-2:15 pm, 6:30 pm-10:15 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm-2:15 pm, 6:30 pm-10:15 pm|