My plans for the Bank Holiday weekend are up in the air because I can’t decide what to do. If I decide to stay in London then I must drop by Notting Hill Carnival. I usually end up at Norman Jay’s Good Times Sound System taking all the back streets possible. It’s not about getting stuck in a gridlock of people traffic.

To carry on with the party, I’ll probably head back to the King’s Road. I’m thinking of going to Embargo 59 on Sunday but I need to decide quick because reservations are essential for this popular night.

There’s also Ibiza Reloaded at Crazy Larry’s on Sunday night. This goes on until 6am and is the after-boat-party for the promoter Love To Groove.

I’ll also need to do some shopping. The other day, I popped into Penhaligon’s for the relaunch of their fragrances Zizonia and Jubilee Bouquet and I’ve fallen for the latter. I’ve also fallen in love with the Bluebell solid fragrance. I know summer’s pretty much over but this scent is timeless and the case, divine. I can’t believe I have just discovered this place.

Thanks to the weather, I’ve been wearing boots this past week and now all I can think about is my autumn wardrobe. Saying that, I do love some of items that are still in the sale at Austique.

So maybe I’ll just try and hang on to the summer for a tad bit longer and enjoy the carnival fever. I don’t want to let go of the summer fragrances and fashion just yet. Looks like I’m staying local.

Mina Zaher

Follow her @kingsroadrocks

The football season is in full swing and Chelsea are at the top of the Premier League. So in honour of CFC, here is a list of my five favourite blues on the King’s Road.

The Bluebird The Café or forecourt for lightbites and the restaurant for British dishes with a contemporary twist. The cocktail bar is the busiest on a Saturday night where you might have to wait a while at the bar. And of course, there is the Epicerie and Wine Shop.

The right hand entrance into the clothes shop is my favourite part. It is a museum of style and its current bestsellers include Isabel Marant, J Brand jeans, Woolrich Arctic Parkas (even though it is summer) and especially for the men, Orlebar Brown swim shorts.

There is also a wonderful spa, which sells Micheline Arcier, Ole Henriksen and Malin+Goetz products.

Facial Fuel Kiehl’s skincare range for men all wrapped up in blue. My boyfriend is a big fan of the Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men. For women, I recommend Midnight Recovery Concentrate also from Kiehl’s.

Made In Italy This is my favourite Italian on the King’s Road and there is nothing better than sitting on its terrace during a beautiful summer’s afternoon, next to those large blue ceramic plant pots, and devouring the tastiest pizza on the street.

Chelsea Library Through a set of blue doors, this is a wonderful building with plenty to offer including a first floor art gallery and an antique or fashion sale on the ground floor every now and again.

And finally, the Sir Carol Reed blue plaque on 213 King’s Road which I love.

So come on you Blues. Make us proud again!

Mina Zaher

Follow her @kingsroadrocks

There’s a general myth about Chelsea if you don’t know the area. It’s something to do with the correlation of wealth and having a good time. So let me clarify matters: this equation is untrue.

Admittedly, a drinking experience in The Collection or anywhere in the Brompton Cross vicinity does require financial stamina. I once spent almost £50 on two drinks in The Collection at the start of an evening. Still, the venue is great and they were cocktails.

But the fact is heading to Kilburn for a pub roast and hanging out with your starving artist friends is also a false economy.

Why?

Let’s do the math. A residential area with a generally high-income bracket means that businesses have to work harder to keep the punters satisfied. There is too much choice round here to slip up on quality and value. Therefore, Chelsea is your lobster.

So how do you make Chelsea work for you? Well, that’s simple.

The clever places such as Bueno Sierra, Sophie’s Steakhouse and The Big Easy all have delicious special deals on offer. They’re clever because they know they’re good places, they just need to get the customer through the door to show them what they’ve got.

The other evening, the bf and I popped into Sophie’s for a £9.95 steak frites deal: steak, fries and a glass of wine or beer with the meal. A few martinis and dessert later, we were laughing along with the friendly staff. We didn’t want to leave. Clever.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So what else is there?

Next week, I’ll provide some Chelsea Girl tips on how to get the best out of this area.

Mina Zaher

Follow her @kingsroadrocks

I have a confession to make. Up until three years ago, I had never eaten at Sophie’s Steakhouse. I had nothing against red meat and had heard rave reviews about their delicious sauce but my regular presence at this Chelsea establishment was firmly rooted in the bar area. Sharing a bottle of bubbles with girlfriends or sipping on a cocktail or few seemed like a happy enough place for me. Then something happened. I started dating a man who loved steak and one day he suggested grabbing a bite to eat at Sophie’s.

Stepping into the dining area was the strangest feeling as I felt I was being taken away from my cocktail haven for a bit of food. So with martinis in mind, I set out to find a drink to accompany my steak. I knew sipping a Mojito wouldn’t cut it with a bowl of chips.

One random evening, my quest was accomplished. I think it was one of those nights just before last food orders and I had asked for a Dirty Martini. I can’t remember what dish I had ordered (something seemingly light) but I remembered that the bf had ordered steak. As I reached over to help myself to a slice of the bf’s meat, followed by a sip of my Dirty Martini, I had finally found the best food and drink combo since I first discovered Black Velvet with oysters at J Sheekey. And a few years later, this is still my drink of choice with Sophie’s steak frites.

The rich olive taste of a Dirty Martini is the perfect compliment to a steak but not just any steak. The steak has to be accompanied by the two essential sauces that initially arrive with a Sophie’s steak and Sophie’s chips are perfect for added value. The steak’s flavour exudes with a well-prepared Dirty Martini whilst the drink works to indulge the palette beyond the obvious taste.

The Dirty Martini isn’t on Sophie’s cocktail menu but I truly recommend that next time you’re at Sophie’s to ask for it. This has to be one of my favourite cocktail experiences ever.

Dirty Martini Recipe.

*Please note that there is no direct relationship between Ms. Dahl and this lively Chelsea restaurant unless I’m missing out on some interesting news.*

 

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