In the heart of Chelsea, Christopher Gilmour’s ‘local’ restaurant, perfectly pitched for its affluent local market.
The Hon Christopher Gilmour is one of the most charming men you could ever meet. It has not, however, generally fallen to us to write particularly charming reviews of his restaurants. Ever since he first made his name as a restaurateur – with Christopher’s in Covent Garden – we’ve always felt that his establishments rely a bit too heavily on some supposed in-crowd appeal.
Well, now – spiritually speaking – he’s come home. His latest eponymous outfit is just at the end of the Boltons, in one of the swankiest little restaurant streets in the heart of lushest Chelsea. (Aubergine, where the Sweary One first came to public attention, still trades just up the block.)
And very jolly the newcomer is. This is, it seems to us, a local restaurant pretty much perfectly pitched for the affluent local market. With its stripy wallpaper, it inevitably reminds one of Ramsay’s dismal relaunch of Foxtrot Oscar, half a mile away on the other side of Chelsea. But there is a difference: FO feels like a morgue, and Gilmour’s feels like a party.
Like all the best parties, the food is a bit incidental. That’s not to say it’s in any sense bad, just that it has the manners not to shout ‘look at me’. In fact, everything we had on a set lunch for two was notably enjoyable. Nothing was complicated – starters were of the soup ‘n’ salad variety – but a main course of lemon sole, again simple, was exceptionally well-timed. And the syllabub was excellent too.
As our meal came to a close, we realised that a man in the distance, in the garish sweater, looked vaguely familiar. Who could it be? Step forward Michael Proudlock – still manager, and formerly patron, of Foxtrot Oscar.