When I saw the hoarding around Picasso’s site last year, there was a rush of excitement that King’s Road’s favourite café/restaurant was going to be resurfacing from the ashes. But now the doors are open, it seems that the revamped Picasso has not only changed its face but it seems to have also changed hands.
Picasso isn’t the legendary Italian family run venue that I remember as a child and it’s not really the place of rock stars or the melting pot of Chelsea residents and visitors from before. Picasso is much smarter nowadays and there is a distinctively more refined and older clientele dining here.
Leather booths have replaced the wooden chairs and benches and a cocktail bar has replaced the coffee bar. The menus don’t have photos on them anymore and the signature dish isn’t Italian. Picasso is now a Steak House.
So what’s the food like? In a word, delicious. Last night, I had king prawns with garlic butter, which was served with a house salad and chips. When compared to the Big Easy’s breaded king prawns that are served in a basket of chips, Picasso’s king prawns are not only twice the size but also meatier. To accompany my dish, I had a medium vodka martini with a lemon twist. Picasso hadn’t printed their cocktail menu yet and so I asked the barman for his favourite martini. The martini tasted clean and fresh and the barman has certainly made a friend in me!
My boyfriend had the ribeye steak and a Dirty Martini. Et voila my first Dirty Martini and steak convert! And again, Picasso came up trumps. I couldn’t resist taking a sip and a nibble.
So what’s my verdict? Picasso isn’t the same place and it’s almost a cheat that a company has used such an established local brand to win the hearts of Chelsea. But places evolve; nothing can sit still forever and the revamped Picasso has made a real effort.
Picasso is perfect for a chilled midweek supper and reliable martinis. I can also see myself sitting at the bar if I fancy a cocktail in a relaxed environment. Whether this place will win a similar status to its predecessor, only time will tell. The atmosphere will need to pick up if it’s going to stand a chance.