I was saddened when news of Oriel closing down had broke. It was a Sloane Square brasserie, a Chelsea institution, expected to be on the corner of Sloane Square forever.
My memories of Oriel started with my first cappuccino experience at 14 years old and with my best friend as we revised for our geography GCSE. Gosh, that sounds so pretentious now but back then it was an experience, an adventure, a taste of something local and yet different. A world of its own.
So when Oriel finally closed down, I didn’t think anything could ever take its place. No one would be able to live up to the nostalgia I had for the location. But I was wrong – thanks to Jeremy King and Chris Corbin’s Cobert. As soon as I learned that the guys behind The Wolseley were behind Oriel’s replacement, I felt reassured.
So yesterday afternoon I popped into Colbert for lunch to finally give it a go. I’d been waiting all week!
When you arrive at Colbert and step through the front door, you have the choice of being led into the bar area or the dining section. Oriel too was spilt into two different sections but with Colbert, more space seems to have been given to the dining area, which is a great thing.
The tables don’t seem so crammed together anymore. There is a sense of space which allows you to take in the ambiance and décor, which could easily transport you to Paris without letting your imagination work too hard.
As for the food, the bf and I started off with Fines de Claire oysters – like we usually do at The Wolseley.
And had a steak sandwich and fries each to follow.
For drinks, I started off with a glass of wine …
But when I saw a table order their second martini during lunch, I decided to follow suit and order one with a lemon twist.
… whilst the bf enjoyed a couple of beers.
Colbert Chelsea officially opens today and the place is already buzzing. And whilst there were admittedly some teething problems with the service and the matter of the lost peppercorns, I have no doubt that they’ll be smoothed over quickly.
When diners arrived at the next table, they were very happy to see a member of staff. He had been transferred from The Wolseley which has impeccable service and which is a great sign!
So all in all, I think Colbert could be a great win for Sloane Square. I for one can’t wait to return and next time, I think I’ll try the bar.