Al Fresco

Al-Fresco-Restaurants

Medlar is a King’s Road restaurant that has successfully built its reputation on word of mouth. It has wooed the food critics and locals alike. So last week, I went along for dinner to see what the fuss was all about.

Located along the World’s End strip of the King’s Road, Medlar didn’t disappoint. The ambiance was relaxing and welcoming; the service was friendly and efficient; and the food … ? Great!

Crab Raviolo with samphire, brown shrimp, fondue of leeks and bisque sauce.

Assiette of rabbit with pomme anna, carrot pureé, red onion marmalade and lovage.

Halibut with petits pois a la Francaise, lardo, radish, baby gem and jersey royals.

Chocolate and almond torte with honeycomb ice cream and caramel sauce.

Buttermilk panna cotta with English strawberries, pistachios and financier.

Wine …

Speaking to Matt at the restaurant, we’d learnt why the simple concept of having a prix fixe menu at the centre of Medlar worked so well. It all comes down to the staff who work there. Apparently, the majority of the team originally met whilst they were working at Chez Bruce in 2005. Years later, they’re now reunited in Chelsea and have brought their expertise to this neighbourhood restaurant.

If you haven’t tried Medlar out yet, do. It’s a great experience, local or otherwise. But if you fancy a second opinion, take a look at this post by local food blogger, No Reservations.

Medlar Restaurant, 438 Kings Road, Chelsea SW10 0LJ, 020 7349 1900.

Medlar on Urbanspoon

I’m not great at turning up to a party on time but last night I finally made it down to The Jam Tree on the King’s Road – and wow! This venue hasn’t been so popular since it was CTR (Come The Revolution). I’m not even sure what it was before The Jam Tree. But that doesn’t matter anymore. This place has come back to life!

Last night was a Hog Roast, pre-Embargo, party and the beer garden was steaming. By the time we arrived, the the roast had finished so I can’t comment on the food (like I said, not on time). But I did have a Kickjam cocktail which consisted of an espresso shot with Russian standard vodka and raspberry jam, which was delicious. It tasted like a smoother and thicker version of an espresso martini. I couldn’t taste the tinge of raspberry though.

If you’ve been to The Jam Tree in Olympia, Chelsea has quite a different vibe. It feels fresher, for obvious reasons. The main food menu also looks intriguing; I’ll be trying it soon. I’ve always enjoyed the food at the Kensington branch, so am feeling relatively optimistic with the fare here.

A final note: It’s worth following The Jam Tree Chelsea on Twitter to find out which fab DJs will be coming up. Tonight has DJ Femi Fem from the Young Disciples; a band I used to L-O-V-E!

Recently, I’ve had the bad habit of not blogging about my day-to-day life in Chelsea. I guess it’s because I’ve been presuming that everyone knows about these places or indulgences; that perhaps I might be stating the obvious.

But, I’m now putting that idea to the side and will start to include my favourite things about King’s Road.

First up, Phat Phuc Noodle Bar, which is found in The Courtyard on Sydney Street. You’ll be able to see the sign from the King’s Road as you cross the road from Heal’s, if you haven’t been here before.

Phat Phuc clearly has to be one of the best names for somewhere foodie but in Vietnamese, it means ‘Happy Buddha’, which makes it all the more special.

I had lunch here yesterday and as usual I loved what I had: Vietnamese Dim Sum and Prawn Laksa, whilst the bf had Bang Bang Chicken Noodle Salad.

The al fresco style of dining makes you feel as if you’re somewhere between a Vietnamese street stall and holistic goodness (with Balance the Clinic and Reflexions – The Reflexology Shop in your immediate vicinity).

And with photos of actors such as Orlando Bloom and Kevin Bacon pinned to the counter, it becomes obvious that Phat Phuc isn’t the big secret you thought it was when you descended the stairs from Sydney Street for the first time.

Al fresco dining at Phat Phuc isn’t just for the summer. I took this photo earlier this year.

Nestled in between the King’s Road and Fulham Road, The Henry Root is somewhere I’ve been meaning to visit, since it opened last year.

Upon arriving, the first thing that struck me about this place was how laid back it was. It wasn’t fighting for space and cluttered and it wasn’t oversized with a sense of emptiness. It was almost as if The Henry Root had been here for years and felt comfortable in its own skin. Loving the décor, it wasn’t a surprise that the dining area filled up very quickly on a Saturday night. So there were people who knew about this place? Even though it was slightly off the beaten track?

Looking at the menu, I felt quite spoilt for choice with the starters. In the end, I chose View Post

I have always loved Chelsea Farmers Market! From when I used to walk through this maze of shops and restaurants as a child to early this evening as I enjoyed a Vodka Martini with a lemon twist. I have always considered Chelsea Farmers Market the heart of Chelsea. I’m not sure if it’s because of my strong childhood association with this place but I’ve always been drawn back here. I used to go to Oratory Primary School off Sydney Street, so the Market was always an entertaining short cut onto the King’s Road. Whatever the reason, the fact is Chelsea Farmers Market is definitely Chelsea’s al fresco venue for the summer.

There are a few other great outdoor venues in Chelsea such as Riccardo’s, The Anglesea and The Sporting Page. But nothing beats the pumping music and buzzy atmosphere of Chelsea Farmers Market on a weekend afternoon.

Admittedly, it is a nightmare to get a table at lunchtime but if you manage to grab a table or turn up a couple of hours later, this is where you’d want to spend the rest of the afternoon.

This afternoon reminded me of a Sydney pub vibe, specifically The Wheatsheaf in Double Bay where there is a city outdoor party vibe that doesn’t really exist anywhere else in Chelsea.

For example, when The Bluebird forecourt looked like this:

Chelsea Farmers Market looked like this:

These photos were taken several minutes apart.

Chelsea Farmers Market seems to attract the locals who make a beeline for this place. It’s Chelsea’s worst kept secret and all I can say is British Summer Time in Chelsea, bring it on!

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