British, Modern Restaurants in Chelsea
1. The Five Fields British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 8-9 Blacklands Ter - SW3
“More like the Elysian fields!”: Taylor Bonnyman’s “congenial” but “unpretentious” Chelsea HQ (founded in 2013) doesn’t court publicity, but emerged with the survey’s highest food rating this year. With its “sophisticated” interior, “spectacular wine list” and “wonderful” service – “impeccably timed, professional, yet warm” – it’s long been hailed as an “outstanding all-rounder”. But it has hit a particularly impressive and consistent culinary stride in recent times, with not a single negative report received this year (and we received many reports). Head chef, Marguerite Keogh “strives for perfection, and the care and attention to detail of ingredients processed and plated is second to none”, delivering “divinely flavoured dishes” in a mould that’s “classic in style, but very modern in execution” – “witty and inventive, without being up itself or over-fussy”. Much of the produce is sourced from the restaurant’s own garden in East Sussex. Choose at lunch or dinner from a prix fixe three-course menu or alternative tasting option.
2. Medlar British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 438 King's Rd - SW10
“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?”
3. Hans’ Bar & Grill British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 164 Pavilion Road - SW1X
“A good addition to the area, but standards can be a bit rough and ready” is a balanced view on this “nice, bright venue” in a super-cute enclave off Sloane Street that’s part of nearby luxury boutique hotel, 11 Cadogan Gardens. On most accounts, its “all-day menu is not too expensive for the area” making it a versatile choice for a meet-up in Chelsea; but there’s the odd ‘off’ report of meals “offering a masterclass of how not to do it”.
4. Elystan Street British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 43 Elystan Street - SW3
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”.
5. The Cross Keys British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 1 Lawrence Street - SW3
“Eager staff”, a proper “local pub atmosphere” and a “great menu” of modern British dishes make this a “real discovery” just a stone’s throw from the Thames. The oldest boozer in Chelsea (est. 1708), it has served pints to luminaries including JMW Turner, Dylan Thomas and Bob Marley.
6. Bluebird British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 350 King’s Road - SW3
This smart D&D London conversion of a Modernist 1920s car showroom on a prominent King’s Road site leaves reporters impressed by the venue if rather underwhelmed by the cuisine – “beautiful restaurant and nice service, they just need to up their game food-wise”. Situation normal, then, at this large space, which has never really capitalised fully on its potential.
7. The Enterprise British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 35 Walton St - SW3
Providing “faithful” service to an expensively dressed clientele in one of Chelsea’s prettiest streets – this “lovely local” (too posh really to qualify as a ‘gastropub’) has an excellent buzz and consistently well-rated food. As always, though, there’s the odd grumble here about its price level.
8. VQ British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 325 Fulham Rd - SW10
“Handy… especially when other places are shut!” – these “round-the-clock” diners have grown from their SW10 base (which has been around for yonks) to bring their late-night formula of “decent food, a good vibe, friendly service and dependable value” to ever-more ’hoods: recent additions include sites in Euston and Clapham. Only Chelsea, Bloomsbury and Aldgate are actually 24/7.
9. Rabbit British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 172 King’s Rd - SW3
“Truly delicious tapas” showcasing “great farm-sourced food”, with “some robust, well-judged flavours” win ongoing appreciation for the Gladwin brothers’ five-year-old King’s Road operation. There’s also a “cool vibe” to the “quirkily decorated room – loved it!”.
10. The Ivy Chelsea Garden British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 197 King's Rd - SW3
“Maybe the brand is a bit stretched”, but Richard Caring’s bold expansion is paying off by-and-large, certainly in commercial terms, and – though most branches’ average food-rating is run-of-the-mill – by the standards of large chains, the group delivers a consistent-enough formula, whereby folks accept predictable nursery fodder in return for a dependable dose of ‘affordable glamour’. The “beautiful and festive” Ivy Chelsea Garden (SW3) is the best known in the stable and it’s particularly “wonderful if you manage to get a table in their fabulous garden”. The “big and buzzy” Ivy Kensington Brasserie (W8) is less highly rated, but nevertheless fills a vital niche in the local market for a comfortable, atmospheric and versatile rendezvous (“its bar is also a fun place for a drink”). The City branches (The Ivy Tower Bridge, The Ivy City Garden EC2) and Canary Wharf outlet (The Ivy in the Park, E14) are the highest rated all-round (perhaps reflecting the ongoing lack of convivial spaces out east). “Awesome views” at Tower Bridge are distinct client-pleasers. Other branches taking above-average flak include The Ivy Soho Brasserie, W1 (“busy mayhem” with “slow and disorganised service”) and The Ivy Market Grill, WC2 (“nothing special, rather overpriced, and very busy”). See also Granary Square Brasserie.
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