Chelsea’s oldest pub, The Cross Keys, will reopen on 5 March following an extensive refurbishment under new owners, DM Group. Publicans Mark Dyer and Eamonn Manson (the duo behind Fulham pubs The Sands End and The Brown Cow) plan to return the iconic 80 cover boozer to its former glory.
Sitting between King’s Road and Cheyne Walk, The Cross Keys has been part of the Chelsea community for over 300 years. Since its opening in 1708, its bar has served the likes of Dylan Thomas, Agatha Christie, Bob Marley and the Rolling Stones. When the pub closed in 2012, following a short term ownership by Andrew Bourne, it attracted large-scale media attention when squatters took over the unused building. The DM Group was able to come on board after a local campaign overturned a residential planning application for the site.
The pub’s original features, including its faÃ§ade, wood burning fire and exposed brick walls, will remain – blended with some rather opulent-sounding new (but antique) touches like 18th Century Portuguese panelling and early 19th Century Parisian street lamps. A traditional oak bar made with reclaimed wood takes centre stage and antique mirrors and chocolate-brown banquettes run along the back wall of the dining room.
Heading up the kitchen is Natasha Cooke (formerly of Chelsea’s Medlar) alongside DM Group Executive Chef, Oliver Marlowe.
On the menu: An array of bar snacks including the group’s signature Scotch egg, sausage roll and Welsh rarebit; starters such as warm cured sea trout with toasted quinoa, pickled fennel and crème fraiche and rabbit ravioli with carrot and cumin puree, broad beans, mustard and pea shoots. Main courses include confit lamb belly with potato gratin, turnip puree, onion rings and salsa verde; and Cornish mussels with ‘nduja, leeks and samphire, alongside more traditional and simple dishes of oxtail and stout pie and ale battered hake and chips. The dessert menu features lemon tart with blackberry sorbet and homemade vanilla yoghurt with rhubarb and ginger compote.
Reservation lines are now open on 0207 351 0686 or book online at www.thecrosskeyschelsea.co.uk.
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