Gardening enthusiasts will this weekend head to the Chelsea Flower Show to see what the Royal Horticultural Society has on offer for 2015. And one might think that being so close to Sloane Square there would be no shortage of handy dining destinations for the green-fingered throngs. But, despite the constant upgrading of this most well-heeled of London piazzas, it still lacks a truly decent eatery. In fact Sloane Square’s Colbert (surprisingly “charmless”), Cote (“joyless”) and The Botanist (“dire”) all under-performed in our 2015 survey. Don’t worry though, if you need a bite to round off your stroll around the blooms – try one of the following…
Handy hints for Sloane Square…
“A rare find”; Alexis Gauthier’s “restful” and “cleverly designed” yearling may be “buried in a hard-to-find hotel basement, off Sloane Square”, but it makes a “brilliant” discovery, thanks to its “friendly” style and “refined” Italian cuisine, and all at “incredibly good-value prices” too.
“The menu hasn’t changed in 15 years, nor have the staff!” – this “very Chelsea” favourite, just a couple of minutes from Sloane Square, still delights its devoted following with its “polished, old-school” charm, and “reliable” Italian fare.
“A gem in the heart of Chelsea”; this “brilliant” yearling is a formidable all-rounder, combining “sensational” and “clever” cooking with a “stunning and intimate” interior, plus service that “perfectly balances formality with being welcoming”.
“The best Indian in London by a country mile”; Vineet Bhattia’s “elegant” Chelsea townhouse offers many “mind-blowing” dishes – “outstanding, even amongst the elite places” – in a set of “intimate and unstuffy” dining rooms; you spend a bomb of course, but it’s “worth it”.
“Once a Sloaney watering hole”, this “delightful” pub, near the Royal Hospital, has a bright new look nowadays, and serves an “ace tapas-sized menu” that’s “great for sharing or filling up”.
For finding flowers on the menu…
This Battersea newcomer has been billed by our reporters as “Ramsay does it right!”, so during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show it’s worth a trip south of the river to try chef Anna Haugh’s limited edition menu. Dishes include: Goat’s cheese with edible flowers, sliced radish and crisp baby gem; Dingley Dell pork chop with a carnation salad; and kaffir lime panna cotta with mango, sorrel flowers and crystallised chocolate.
Head to Chelsea’s oldest pub (which reopened this year after complete restoration) to try a special floral afternoon tea. Start with rosewater Bellinis and flower-accented Prosecco followed by chocolate and beetroot cake with hibiscus. There are also gin and cucumber ice lollies with edible flowers inside and rose sorbet with champagne jelly. £30-35 per person.
Until Sunday 24 May
Take a trip to the top of the Shard and visit this 31st floor restaurant’s atrium installation, which has been designed by florist-to-the-celebs McQueens. To accompany the display there is a floral-themed menu featuring jasmine tea-steamed artichoke with teal & citrus jelly and Jerusalem artichoke mousse with viola flowers, followed by roasted wild sea bass with white bean stew, aloe vera cubes, dandelion seasoned with acacia rose vinaigrette. For dessert, an orange blossom and pink pepper panna cotta will be served with black olive crumble and a white chocolate sorbet.
This “calm, comfortable and intimate” townhouse in the backstreets of Kensington has created a limited edition dessert to celebrate Chelsea Flower Show. Aptly named the bouquet of flowers the centrepiece is a bumblebee made from honey ice cream and crystallized honey which sits atop an apple cheesecake base with apple and vanilla compote, all decorated with edible apple roses and lily-hibiscus meringue.
Jesse Dunford Wood’s “fun” and casual hangout, with its “insanely great” retro scoff is serving up a Brulee’d Elderflower, Lavender & Scented Geranium Tart complete with edible flowers. Indulge in this dessert 18-24 May.
Having found their feet again in 2014 this “friendly” and “nourishing” restaurant just off Notting Hill Gate is well worth a visit. To celebrate Chelsea Flower Show, Kensington Place, will serve two special cocktails until 30 May. The Daffodil (Fair quinoa vodka & tenzan yuzu liqueur shaken with Demerara sugar & fresh lemon juice then garnished with a floating flower); and the Grape Collins (G’vine Floraison gin muddled with fresh green grapes and pressed apple juice, topped up with lemonade and garnished with an apple fan and flower).