French Restaurants in Chelsea
1. Le Colombier French restaurant in Chelsea Square 145 Dovehouse Street - SW3
“I love it because it reminds me of when I lived in France!” – Didier Garnier’s “good, old-fashioned brasserie” occupies a tucked-away Chelsea corner in a cute, well-situated backstreet, and is particularly “popular with a local upmarket clientele”, who are forgiving of the fact that it’s “a bit packed and noisy” and a little “expensive” for somewhere not aiming to produce culinary fireworks. Selling points are its “traditional French-bourgeois” menu, “elegant” decor, “attentive and professional service” (with le patron much in evidence), and an “extensive wine list” (which, unlike the food, “is not at Chelsea prices at all”).
2. Gordon Ramsay French restaurant in Chelsea 68-69 Royal Hospital Rd - SW3
For the umpteenth year, Gordon Ramsay’s original Chelsea launchpad for TV stardom inspires starkly differing verdicts. To its advocates, “it’s obvious why they’ve retained three Michelin Stars all these years”, given modern French cuisine from Matt Abé that’s “mind-blowing”, service that’s “gold star” and an atmosphere – in this intimately sized dining room – that really makes it “a place to savour”. (Fans likewise find eating at the 4-seater ‘Inspiration Table’ – minimum spend £1,000 – as “truly memorable” as one would hope). Its detractors remain very numerous, though! That the experience is “exquisite but too expensive compared with its peers” is, perhaps predictably, the prime accusation: “Nothing made me stop and think ‘wow’, and at over £600 for two, I expected much more. We had the chef’s choice and the kitchen seemed to have gone out of its way to make sure that the food served was sufficiently middle-of-the-road that no-one would dislike it!”.
3. Bibendum French restaurant in Chelsea 81 Fulham Rd - SW3
“Claude Bosi is really nailing it with his classic French cuisine” (“wonderful flavours and very refined…” with “a complexity that is astounding”) in this “very special” first-floor dining room, in South Kensington’s iconic Michelin Building. Shaking off the pandemic chaos of the past year, scores here have actually gone from strength to strength, and criticism is most notable by its absence. And the room itself – perhaps the late Sir Terence Conran’s finest contribution to London’s restaurant scene – is a major draw, especially at lunchtime, with its “gorgeous, bright and spacious” interior, not to mention the “epic wine list”. “A fantastic all-rounder”.
4. Bibendum Oyster Bar Fish & seafood restaurant in Chelsea Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road - SW3
“You can’t fault” this luxurious seafood bar in the foyer of Chelsea’s historic Michelin garage: an offshoot of Claude Bosi’s upscale restaurant upstairs. It’s a “lovely setting, with original ceramic depictions of Michelin tyre car racing victories from the 1900s”. The food – from a small menu that nowadays includes cooked dishes alongside the crustacea – is “exceptional”, although it comes at “shocking prices”.
5. Orée French restaurant in Fulham 275-277 Fulham Road - SW10
2019 Review: “Fabulous breads and pastries” (as well as “better coffee than some of the favourites”) bring a taste of ‘the boulangeries and patisseries of rural France’ to the three west London sites operated by this outfit from Nantes.
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