your guide to the best of chelsea & kensington
Basuba is a new Thai eatery on Kings Road near World’s End. It fills part of the new redevelopment next to Beaufort House.
Those of you who used to frequent the greatly missed Tampopo on Fulham Road will be familiar with the communal square table layout. The decor is dark wood and minimalist with insence burning near the entrance.
The food is ok but not amazing and the portions are slightly on the small side. The prices are resonable. The menu could be a little more varied, but some of the usual favourites are there including Pad Thai.
Its about time there was a Thai restaurant on Kings Road but unfortunately it doesn’t quite live up to the standard Tampopo set.
Thought I’d give a shout out to one of my friends and old colleagues, Dr Barbara Kubicka. She has recently set up her own aesthetic medicine clinic in Belgravia, whilst also working at the Urban Retreat in Harrods amongst other places. She is clearly a rising star in her field and having known her personally for several years I know that her attention to detail and professionalism is second to none! She offers a wide range of treatments including botox, fillers and skin rejuvenation therapies. If you’re looking to improve your imagine, I think you’d be hard pressed to do better than Barbara.
Dr Barbara Kubicka
9a West Halkin Street
Chelsea Farmer’s Market is a little gem tucked away on the King’s Road end of Sydney Street SW3. Packed with several restaurants and shops in an outdoor complex it’s the perfect place to hang out on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
El Gaucho is one of the 3 restaurants in the complex and claims to be the first Argentine steak house in London since 1990. With a number of benches outside and a small number of tables inside the quaint wooden building that houses the kitchen, it is a cosy dining experience.
The slightly cheesy Argentinian music adds to the atmosphere and the bar is well stocked to keep the drinks flowing well in to the evening.
So on to the food. At the moment I’m afraid I’m rather unqualified to comment, having only tried their lunchtime burger. Steak is undoubtedly what this place is about and for that they have a good selection of cuts. Prices start around 20 GBP. The burgers start at 10 GBP and for the price are average. The patty is good quality and nicely seasoned but it’s a bit light on the salad (actually the standard burger only comes with pickle) and the fries are those standard frozen in a bag style ones commonly seen in pub food.
Definitely worth a look, if not make sure you check out the rest of the Farmer’s Market – there’s a Pet Pavilion, a Nail salon, a Pizzeria and Gelato parlour along with an organic food shop.
Bluebird (and in particular the bar) on King’s Road is one of my new favourites.
Housed in a fabulous complex that was once a prestigious car garage, it comprises of a courtyard, cafe, clothes shop on the ground floor and the restaurant and bar upstairs. I’ve been there several times for food but only recently discovered how great the bar is!
The food is good but not amazing, and the prices are high as one would expect. You pay a lot for the atmosphere in the place, and I’ll be honest – it’s pretty good! With high ceilings, well spaced out tables and plush decor, it’s the ideal place for a date.
The bar, along with tables takes up almost as much space as the restaurant. With it’s relaxed and upmarket feel, it really is a great place to hang out. The soft background music also means its a very easy place to have a conversation and meet fellow customers. The cocktails are excellent as is the service. Expect to pay £10 for a Mojito (one of the best I’ve had in Chelsea!). The clientele are a mix of the young and beautiful and older monied types. I’ve even seen Hugh Grant here a couple of times. They serve right up until 1am and with their relaxed door policy (walk straight in) it’s probably my favourite place for pre-drinks before heading to a club.
Very highly recommended!
Tuatara was launched several months ago as the reincarnation of Mamilanji. Under it’s previous guise, Mamilanji enjoyed a fairly successful start and for the good part of a year, it was the place to go on Kings Road, especially with it’s relaxed upstairs bar with live music. As time went by, the music disappeared, the upstairs became “exclusive” for members and the prices got a little greedy. The crowd it pulled turned from the young trendies to arrogant city types and the club soon fell out of favour.
Tuatara is much the same in terms of its layout. The downstairs houses a relatively large dance floor surrounded by paying tables and the DJ booth. The white theme has gone, and the walls and bar are now in black. The music is decent and the door staff seem friendly enough. The prices remain relatively high (£28 for the cheapest plonk) and the bar staff had a cheeky habit of not returning change. The upstairs bar was closed when I visited.
I get the feeling that the club hasn’t managed to shake it’s old reputation and as a consequence struggles to fill the floors. Despite that, it can still provide a good night out if you’re out of options.
The Chelsea Physic Garden is one of those hidden gems that many won’t even have heard of.
It has a long history dating back to the 17th century when it was established by the Society of Apothecaries. Allowing apprentices to study the medicinal properties of plants it became internationally renowned and today is the oldest botanical garden in London.
It’s a fantastic place in good weather, remarkably tranquil with plenty of interesting plants to see. The gardens also have a delightful cafe, great for a relaxed cup of tea and cake!
All in all, well worth a visit and the humble entrance fee!
Chelsea Physic Garden
Royal Hospital Road
Chelsea SW3 4HS
Tel: 0207 3525646
If you’re ever wondering where to eat your Saturday lunch, be sure to check out the Duke of York Square Farmer’s Market! It’s just a 30 second walk down the King’s Road from Sloane Square.
It runs from mid morning to late afternoon and is home to about 30 food stalls selling everything from Moroccan tagine to posh sausage in a roll. You’ll also find an Oyster van and numerous bakeries that sell delicious baked goods.
Prices are very reasonable and you can expect a hot meal for around a fiver – perfect for eating on the square or steps to the Saatchi gallery!
The Big Easy is a long standing resident on the King’s Road. It has become renowned for it’s classic American food including the usual suspects such as steaks, ribs and burgers, but also lobster and seafood.
It’s difficult to get a reservation on the night so be sure to book ahead. If you’re prepared to wait you can often get a table near the bar.
The atmosphere is vibrant often full of people starting their night out. The decor sets an American scene with various memorabilia and fishing nets.
The service is attentive and the bar staff are well versed in their cocktails although margarita’s seem to be the drink of choice.
The food comes is close-to-American style portions and is of good quality. The Kobe beef burger is a must! The prices have risen over recent years but in the context of Chelsea it’s still a pretty good deal. I’ve returned enough times over the years to claim a free meal or two on their loyalty card which is probably says something (for my BMI!).
Anyway definitely worth a try and if you like the food you’ll probably be heading back for years to come!
Tucked away in the heart of South Kensington, Boujis has retained it’s popular and occasionally A-list nightclub status for many years. Initially famed for it’s Royal visits, the club has seen many of Hollywood’s most famous grace it’s doors.
Boujis is a small but intimate club in the basement of a stucco town house across the road from the station. The line is never too long but the club is almost always packed. The door staff are generally processional and polite (which is how good clubs manage to remain popular beyond the hype). You’d be forgiven for thinking the place is a big pretentious but I’ve met some of the most friendly and fun people in town in this place!
The music is pretty standard for an upmarket club, but thankfully avoids too much cheese. They occasionally get big names and Sam Young, one of London’s finest is often playing. The dance floor is small and directly faces the DJ but this can often make for a bit of fun!
Drinks are pricey, in fact some of the priciest around with mixers around £15 but the bar staff are attentive and you won’t have to wait too long. Tables start from around £500 but don’t expect to seat a large group.
I’ve been on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays and they’ve all been equally good. Entrance is between £0-20 depending on who you know. One of the great things about Boujis is it’s open on Sundays (and as it’s built up a reputation for this, it usually packs a crowd), so if you’re up for a boozy weekend it could be ideal. Another insider tip is they have great new years party’s – for around £130pp you get entrance and unlimited drinks (mixers, beer, wine) all night!
Vignt Quatre or VQs is a notorious 24 hour eatery on Fulham Road, and perhaps the only one of it’s kind in the city. A bastion of West London nightlife, it has been there for as long as I can remember and still seems as successful as ever.
Serving favourites such as Eggs Benedict, all day English Breakfast and the VQ Burger, there is something to satisfy most post-drinking palates. Tables are packed in neatly along the narrow length of the restaurant which makes for cosy dining, indeed striking up a conversation with your sobering-up table-next-door is part of the allure of this place. For those of you who don’t want to sober up you’ll be glad to hear they now serve alcohol around the clock too.
The standard of the food is high, although at the prices they charge you’d be entitled to expect it. At around £12 for the VQ burger or a large breakfast plus a £2pp cover charge eating here doesn’t come cheap and those who have been going for years will have noticed the gradual rise in prices (and abolition of smarties!), however despite all of that it’s still one of the best places to end a big night out!
Be sure to check it out, easily identified by the place with the queue on Fulham Road at 3am on a Saturday.
325 Fulham Road
Chelsea SW10 9QL
Tel: 0207 3767224