Once a bohemian hangout for models and musicians in the Swinging Sixties, before punk, Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren hit the King’s Road, Chelsea and neighbouring Fulham (slightly less posh but still extremely posh) is now most famous for a certain reality show. Unless your a gardener, then you probably associate this area with the Chelsea Flower Show – it has been going much longer and the Queen likes it so that’s fair.
Chelsea is a playground for the rich, with expensive properties, expensive shops, and expensive bars and restaurants. If you want a slap-up meal (and you’re prepared to empty your wallet for it) there are plenty of places that would oblige, from London dining institutions like Bibendum to newer-but-no-less-high-end kids on the block like Dinings SW3 and Adam Handling Chelsea. The neighbourhood is also a place to indulge in world-class culture thanks to residents like the Saatchi Gallery and the Royal Court Theatre, and is home to a real London gem in the shape of the Chelsea Physic Garden – hey another one for all the green-fingered folk to enjoy!
Rohit Ghai, who previously worked at Gymkhana and won a Michelin star at Jamavar, has gone out on his own with Kutir in Chelsea. It’s taken over the townhouse building that was previously home to Vineet Bhatia, the restaurant that famously won a Michelin star only to close a week later. As Kutir, the restaurant takes inspiration from the royal hunting traditions of the Indian countryside, so it’s big on seasonal ingredients like game and seafood. There’s an a la carte menu and a few good value set menus too so there’s plenty of ways to play it depending on time and budget. The lamb tandoori chops and the nargisi kofta – an egg in an amazing spicy sauce served with paratha bread and bone marrow – are standouts, as are the deep fried prawns with coconut and roscoff onion, and the guinea fowl biryani, served with homemade raita and pickles. The cocktail list, created by co-founder Abhi Sangwan, matches the menu well by using wild and natural Indian ingredients.
Caravan has gone west for the first time and opened a restaurant in Duke of York Square. However, it’s not just another Caravan, though the travelling link is still there. This one is Vardo, named after the Romani wagon of the 1800s, and it’s taken over a three-storey cylindrical stone and glass pavilion in the square. It’s actually a very cool building; all gentle curves and muted tones inside and the glass wall is fully retractable. Like Caravan, the menu at Vardo draws influences from across the globe with a focus on low and slow cooking techniques. If you’ve been to Caravan before then there’s a lot here you’ll recognise including the jalapeno cornbread with chipotle butter and lime, and the jamon and San Simon croquettes with saffron aioli. There are Asian-inspired grain bowls and European flavours on the pizzas, and the vegetable section of the menu is strong as well as varied, with the likes of slow-roasted carrots with brined mustard greens and ajo blanco and the roasted jerusalem artichokes with green tahini on there.
Flavour comes first at this one-off Chelsea cheese shop that sells 30 cheeses from its counter. That might seem like a small number in comparison to many of the other ‘mongers around, but it’s that way for a reason: the selection of cheeses on offer is tightly curated by a collection of people who seriously love what they do. The range changes according to availability and the season, making sure every single choice is a celebration of the work that goes into these artisanal food products. Most importantly, the guys that run it encourage tasting. Lots and lots of tasting. Don’t mind if we do.
160 New Cavendish St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 6YR, UK
With a pizza oven made out of sand and dust from Mount Vesuvius, Santa Maria is defo a cut above the rest. The slightly chewy dough and THAT sauce made with San Marzano D.O.P tomatoes pre-ordered a year in advance make these pizzas what they are…bloody great.
Ethical hair extension specialist Richy Hair is not only good at adding hair to your bonce, they now have their own townhouse in West London with a salon, meaning they can cut, treat and blow dry your locks even if you don’t need extra hair. Located in Chelsea on the super cute Walton Street, RH London certainly stands out from its neighbours with a huge floral display outside, which also doubles as the ideal insta op – just add a new head of hair and you’re influencing in the wild. And with a focus on slowing down and enjoying some ‘me’ time, the four-story townhouse has ample space for clients to relax after treatments.
Chef Anna Haugh, who’s worked for the likes of Phil Howard at The Square and Gordon Ramsay as well as her Executive Chef role at Bob Bob Ricard, has gone solo with Myrtle. The restaurant draws on her Irish heritage, with dishes including Clonakilty black pudding rolls with Wendy’s apple chutney; crispy stuffed chicken wing with wild trompette puree; slow confit Goatsbridge trout with cauliflower and capers; and buttermilk panna cotta with rhubarb jelly and cinnamon doughnuts.
The original Dinings in Marylebone was long regarded as one of London’s best high-end sushi restaurants before its sibling Dinings SW3 opened up in Chelsea in 2017. Unlike the tiny original the Chelsea site is much bigger, set in a Grade-I listed mews building with the dining room split over two levels, encompassing a bar/lounge area, a sushi kitchen counter and the main restaurant space. Executive Chef Masaki Sugisaki has made his name across both restaurants blending Japanese cuisine with Western influences – not exactly ‘fusion’ but definitely not strictly traditional either, with dishes like mini wagyu burgers with teriyaki sauce and spicy sesame aioli. The sushi here is definitely the highlight though, the super fresh fatty tuna, sea bass and smoked eel with yuzu are particularly good. There’s an excellent list of sakes too, including a couple made especially for the restaurant brewed by Konotomo in Japan. None of it comes cheap of course, but everyone deserves a treat now and then.
If you’re after fresh fish in Chelsea then fishmonger / deli / seafood and champagne bar The Sea, The Sea is the place to go. By day it functions as a shop where you can buy fresh seafood sourced from around the UK as well as directly from fishermen, with a focus on sustainable fish. There’s also a range of deli products like stocks, sauces, marinades, pies and smoked fish on offer too. By night executive chef Leandro Carreira does dishes like Cornish seabass crudo with crispy parsley and squid with pine nuts & sake for the seafood bar’s menu and you can snack on oysters and other small plates on the terrace.
If you like a bit of posh nosh then head for Elystan Street, run by Michelin star team Phil Howard, previously chef-patron at The Square, and Rebecca Mascarenhas, owner of Kitchen W8 and Sonny’s Kitchen in Barnes. The power couple have transformed the space that was previously Tom Aikens Restaurant and created a menu of modern European food that focuses on British ingredients, so expect dishes like smoked mackerel velouté with Porthilly oysters, leek hearts & eel toasts; roast calves’ sweetbread with truffled autumn slaw & seeded nut butter; and roasted figs with goat’s milk ice cream and lemon & thyme fritters. Of course attention to detail is everything at Elystan Street and the drinks list features a selection of hand picked wines too.
The Cheyne Walk Brasserie has been replaced and rebuilt with No. Fifty Cheyne, with a cocktail lounge and drawing room on the first floor and the 70 seat restaurant on the ground floor. Head Chef Iain Smith, who’s worked extensively with Jason Atherton and the Galvin brothers, is serving up a modern British menu with the kitchen centred around an open grill, so that means dishes like Belted Galloway beef ragout with spatzli, spicy sausage & rose harissa, and Cornish monkfish with roscoff onion, potato straws & roast chicken broth as well as epic Sunday roasts. And of top all that, No. Fifty Cheyne will have great views over both Cheyne Gardens and the Thames.
Peruvian seafood restaurant Chicama is from the team behind Pachamama,so that should give you a good idea of the vibe here – super tasty, super colourful Peruvian sharing dishes and killer cocktails. As it takes inspo from the Peruvian coastline, it’s not surprising that the focus of the menu is seafood (with lots of veggies thrown in too), so you can expect dishes like trout cooked in banana leaf, salmon ceviche, aubergine with plantain miso and an ever-changing catch of the day cooked over the robata grill. Of course to wash it all down there’s a whole range of Peruvian inspired cocktails including pisco sours and spicy margs.
Opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 so he could show his collection to the public (although it’s only been on its current Duke of York Square site since 2008), the Saatchi Gallery is known for contemporary art exhibitions and blockbuster shows like Chanel: Mademoiselle Prive and Tutankhamun: Treasues of the Golden Pharaoh.
Established in 1673, Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanical garden in London and one of the oldest across Britain. Thanks to its position near the river and south-facing aspect it has a unique microclimate that allows for plants that wouldn’t normally grow in the UK to thrive – amongst its 5000 different edible and medicinal plants is the UK’s largest fruiting olive tree and the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree.
Housed in what was formerly Michelin’s London headquarters – hence the massive stained glass window featuring the Michelin Man – Bibendum was first opened as a restaurant by Sir Terence Conran in 1987 and it’s been one of the most famous fine dining establishments in the capital ever since. Claude Bosi took over in 2017 and has since earned two stars for his smart French food, with dishes like Brittany rabbit with langoustine & tarragon, duck jelly with onion, veal sweetbreads with cardamom & coffee, and 100% chocolate souffle. There’s an oyster bar on the ground floor alongside the La Maison Remy Martin cocktail bar, where you can sip on seasonal cognac cocktails and paired snacks.
Also known as the Sloaney Pony thanks to its popularity amongst rahs, the White Horse actually has a lot going on to tempt non-locals down to SW6. Their range of beers, both on draught and in bottles, is strong and they host regular beer festivals too. It’s nice and spacious inside with plenty of sofas to lounge on, but if the weather’s good, you’ll want a spot in the beer garden out front.
Blush + Blow, founded by make-up artist and beauty blogger Bridget O’Keeffe, is Fulham’s one stop-shop for all things beauty. As well as offering blow dries, hair extensions and colouring, the salon does manicures, spray tans, facials, massages, waxing, microblading, IPL, eyelash extensions, make-up and aesthetic treatments so you can treat yourself from top to toe. You can even get piercings done here too.
Since 1956 the Royal Court Theatre has been known as the writer’s theatre, supporting undiscovered, emerging and established writers alike. It’s the forefront of contemporary creative work and gives a platform to unheard voices and future talent, and has staged plays by the likes of Caryl Churchill, Jez Butterworth and Martin McDonagh. The building features two venues, a snug 90-seat theatre upstairs and a much bigger 400-seater downstairs – both offering a top-notch view for the audience.
The Belmond Cadogan is a 5-star boutique hotel located on Sloane Street that first opened in 1887 but recently underwent a multi-million pound renovation. Marble bathrooms, luxury toiletries and plush bedding is standard across all rooms with the fancy suites also boasting walk-in closets and sweeping views. This iconic luxury hotel is also home to a restaurant headed by British chef Adam Handling, the secret green hideaway Cadogan Place Gardens (which only guests have access to) and a Royal Suite in which Oscar Wilde was once arrested.
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ADAM HANDLING CHELSEA
Adam Handling Chelsea may be attached to the Belmond Cadogan Hotel (where he oversees the rest of the food and drink) but it’s very much a standalone space with its own street entrance. The restaurant is smart – it’s in a five-star hotel in Chelsea after all – and is the perfect backdrop for his modern British style. There’s a simple grill menu of steaks, fish and sides but it’s the a la carte where things really hit the heights, with dishes like tuna with ponzu & jalapeno, venison with artichokes & blackberries and chocolate with miso & rye. The restaurant also serves up a baller Sunday roast with options to add on bottomless booze.
This organic refill market in Parsons Green aims to make zero-waste shopping as simple and seamless an experience as possible. It’s stocked with organic fresh and dried produce, herbs, spices, nut butters (there’s also a machine in the shop that makes them on the spot) oils and vinegars as well as a range of unpackaged toiletries and home cleaning refills.
This award-winning Chelsea greengrocer is pretty unassuming from the outside but don’t let that fool you. Andreas is a firm fave with chefs and foodies, including Nigella, and it’s stacked with fresh produce. So if it’s freshly foraged ceps you’re after or perhaps a punnet of honeysuckle berries, then head on over to Andreas.
243 Pavilion Road, London SW1X 0BP, United Kingdom
66 Chiltern Street, London W1U, UK
From dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free pastries at breakfast, salad bowls and wraps at lunch and larger plates like chili ‘non’ carne, ackee burrito and the Wulf burger made with a spicy bean and veggie patty topped with cashew aioli, Wulf & Lamb have you covered for vegan eats all day long. They’ve even got sweet stuff from Ruby’s of London so you can treat yourself too.
Looking for the best Neapolitan pizza outside of Napoli? Well we’ve found it. Yep, Cinquecento are slinging them just like Nonna does over in Napoli, using 100% Italian ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, Fior di latte mozzarella, Sicilian anchovies, San Daniele ham and Calabrian ‘nduja. It also feels like you’re sitting round Nonna’s table in their cosy dining room, featuring plants hanging down from above and framed pictures on the wall. Plus there’s three different locations to choose from, so wherever you are over West, a slice of the good stuff is not too far away.
Located within Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, The Magazine is a swanky new sustainable restaurant slap bang in the middle of The Serpentine Gallery. With Slovakian-born chef Tomas Kolkus at the helm, it features a contemporary menu that focusses on seasonality and minimum waste. Expect the likes of Wye Valley Asparagus with Miso Aioli; Rope-Grown Mussels with Urfa and Rock Samphire; Slow-Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpea Stew, Dulse & Sea Buckthorn; and Agar Panna Cotta with Elderberry Syrup & Blackberries for pud. There’s also a lush outdoor terrace to take advantage of those Hyde Park views.
There are lots of good pubs in London, and lots that claim to bring a slice of the countryside to the city, but none do it quite like The Harwood Arms. The fact that it’s the only Michelin-starred pub in town tells you that it’s a cut above, not to mention it being awarded No. 1 Gastropub in the UK by Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs in 2020 and being named Best Pub and Bar at The Cateys in the same year. Opened in 2009 by The Ledbury’s Brett Graham, restaurateur Mike Robinson, and Edwin Vaux of Vaux Brewery, The Harwood Arms has built its stellar reputation by championing the best of British, particularly game and wild food – it’s definitely not your average pub grub, with the likes of venison scotch egg, Hereford steak tartare, Berkswell cheese tart and Iberico pork with oats & baked carrot on the menu. The Harwood Arms has all the rustic touches of a country pub with the kind of polish that you’d expect from a place in Fulham. The team has really nailed the balance between neighbourhood pub and destination dining in terms of look and service, and of course the food.
Despite what you might think, that’s not how it’s pronounced. Phat Phuc, meaning ‘Happy Buddha’ and pronounced ‘fet fook’, is a noodle shack off the King’s Road that serves up some of the best pho in town. The Vietnamese national dish is their speciality, with beef, chicken, prawn and vegetable options on the list (all at a tenner a bowl, except for beef which is £12). But there are also other dishes on the menu if you fancy venturing outside the pho world. You can grab some prawn har kau, char siu buns or duck pancakes for starters, or a bowl of laksa with either rice or egg noodles for your main. Then grab a seat in the first-come-first-served courtyard, which is even decked out with shelter, heaters and windbreakers for when the weather (inevitably) turns.