“Food is music to the body, music is food to the heart.”

– Gregory David Roberts

Barbarella’s relaunch party was such a blast that I was keen to return, to try the restaurant as soon as I could. So I headed back down there a few days later.

I had all sorts of imaginings on how the night would play out. With tables and banquets around the dance floor, Carlito’s Way did cross my mind. But a gangster’s den, Barbarella certainly is not.

Sitting at our table, there were a couple of large birthday parties as well as smaller tables of more intimate groups around us. One set seemed to have turned up for just the food whilst everyone else was there for the whole night.

When you arrive at the start of the evening, the tables are laid out and presented very tastefully: the glamorous dining experience is underpinned by an understated chicness.

Official Press Photo

And when you first look at the food menu, it is so easy to wonder about the quality of the dishes. After all, first and foremost, Barbarella’s first impression is clearly a nightclub. And from experience, late-night dining isn’t always the best – with a few rare gems scattered around London

But as soon as I tasted my first bite of the starter, any such musings had quickly dissipated. The prawn and lobster cocktail was too good to allow any further doubt to seep in. The wonderful 70s-esque presentation aside (and you know how I love most things served in a martini glass) – the ingredients were fresh and tasty. The prawn and lobster were juicy and the sauce was spot on.

For my main, I had the seared tuna loin with caramelised onions. Admittedly, I had relished most of it by the time I remembered to take a photo. So unfortunately, there is no photographic evidence of another well-presented dish. As for the tuna, it was cooked exactly how I like it. It’s so easy to overcook tuna. That’s why I hardly choose it when eating out. But in this circumstance, my request was translated eloquently onto my plate and my tuna was perfectly pink – and not a dull grey – in the middle.

For my dessert, I ordered the tiramisu which was heavenly! You know when you’re in a public place and the last thing you try to do is scrape every last bit of your pudding, off your plate? Well, that.

There was a custardy topping that increased its moreish appeal. I know, I know, tiramisu doesn’t have custard. But trust me when I say, this really works!

After dessert, the bf and I didn’t want to leave. The place was getting busier as more people were turning up for the club. So we decided to order another bottle of wine and stay longer. And after some time later and another empty bottle, it was time to stretch our legs and head to the bar.

Official Press Photo

As we paid the food bill and stood up, we headed around the corner to find that the bar was already quite packed out. Leaving the restaurant vibe and stepping into a bar, without having to leave the building was pretty awesome – especially as you felt like you’d walked into somewhere new.

In the meantime, the table cloths and cutlery were being taken away as diners finished their meals. And as we continued our circular tour of the venue, past the booths and onto the dance floor, it was time to burn off the yummy pudding until the early hours of the morning.

Am so going back! x

Barbarella’s website.

Lobsters seem to be quite fashionable at the moment and there are plenty of good set menu deals around, with accompanying sides of fries and salad on offer or fries and a cocktail as another bargain option.

Last night I visited 86 bar and restaurant to try their Lobster Tuesday and whilst this relatively new night may seem like it’s jumping in on the trend, what I had discovered was a focus on good solid ingredients. No rush customers in and out but more let’s sit back and really enjoy this.

Lobster Tuesday’s menu consists of three options: £20 for Lobster & Chips; £20 for Steak & Chips; or £30 for Surf ‘N’ Turf. There is also a reasonably priced starter on the menu as well as a couple of dessert choices.

So the bf and I started off with the charcuterie board whilst we sipped our cocktails.

On Lobster Tuesday, there is also a two for one cocktail menu which means the night can continue flowing after the meal has finished.

I had the Grey Goose Le Fizz.

Whilst the bf had the rum based Dark and Stormy.

For mains, I picked the Lobster dish: a whole lobster and with two wonderfully meaty claws!

And the bf went for the Surf ‘N’ Turf which was quite impressive, especially given the quality of the steak.

The Scotch Sirloin was cooked exactly how the bf had wanted it. I had a taste and it was deliciously succulent.

The chips were also a pleasant surprise because of their seasoning. It was possible to savour each one rather than chow down.

We enjoyed a bottle of Pinot Grigio with our meal and for dessert, we both went for the Espresso Brûlée with an amaretto biscotti.

It had been quite a while since we ate upstairs at 86 and the layout has changed somewhat. There weren’t the tables around the railings like last time so there’s a less cluttered feel, which suits the dining experience very well. And given that I have always loved 86’s Georgian building, I completely welcome Lobster Tuesday into the Chelsea fold.

Like I said, it’s really just a case of sit back and enjoy. x

For more information.

If you’ve ever walked past Stamford Bridge either to or from Fulham Broadway, you may have spotted a blue restaurant canopy along the way. The white writing says Barbarella and you may be forgiven for wondering what was beyond it.

I know I’ve been wondering. I’ve been intrigued for years and yet I’ve never had the initiative to pass under the canopy to investigate. To me the place had a 70s vibe. It felt stuck in time and I probably feared having to walk straight back out.

But last night, my curiosity was satisfied when I attended Barbarella’s relaunch party – and in three words, I loved it!

As I descended down the stairs and stepped into the venue, the vibe was already at ‘eleven’: an extra notch up. It was heaving and buzzing – and there was a lot of excitement in the air.

Taking a walk around, I was pleasantly surprised at the layout. It was bigger than I’d expected which meant plenty of space for the dance floor, chill out areas and the bar area. And I loved the mirrored walls. But then again, what did I expect? Jack Freud had enlisted the help of  Alice Wilson, of Raffles and The Brompton Club fame as well as Nick Valentine who co-founded of The Cuckoo Club.

Most of the night was spent on the dance floor: great tunes!

But Barbarella is also a restaurant, which I am intrigued to try too. How great to have somewhere to go to for dinner and a dance – literally. The seating areas have a glamorous touch so it won’t feel weird just getting up and dancing.

As for the staff, they are truly awesome. Admittedly, I was flattered by the barman who stopped serving everyone to make me a rose out of a paper napkin. What skills. He so knew how to wow a crowd. But it wasn’t just him. Everyone was so lovely and seriously, this is a big thing for me. I love places that don’t have attitude – where you can have a great time and not have a care in the world. Barbarella is one of those places.

A huge win! x

UPDATE: I have returned and I did try the restaurant. You can read about my experience, here.

If you follow me on Twitter, you would have seen that yesterday I was on my bike for most of the day. I was out and about at 8am, cycling to Richmond Park where I trained for my London to Brighton cycle ride which is taking place next week – and later in the afternoon, I cycled through Kensington Gardens, along Notting Hill and through Holland Park. I couldn’t get enough of my bike. The weather was just too gorgeous!

But this also meant that my body was craving carbs by early evening and I felt like having a large pizza, preferably al fresco because of the lovely evening. The first al fresco Italian that springs to mind is normally Made In Italy on the King’s Road. But there is another Made In Italy in Chelsea, located on Hollywood Road which has a back garden – and that’s where I headed to.

We sat outside where I ordered a glass of Prosecco and the bf ordered a beer.

As for the pizza, I ordered a Fra Rosario with mozzarella, tomato sauce, roasted potatoes (told you I needed carbs!), sausage, onion, capers and rosemary whilst the bf ordered a Porcini e Speck: ham and mushroom.

And we had it all! Though, I did give my crust away.

I love this corner of the world. In fact, Hollywood Road is easily one of my favourite streets in Chelsea where you also have The Hollywood Arms, Brinkley’s and now The Chelsea Day Spa!

Some of my best nights have ended at VQ because there’s nothing better than piling into a black cab from Soho and heading back to Chelsea with friends, deciding to stop off at VQ for one last drink to err, try and sober up at four in the morning.

Previously called Vingt-Quatre and now abbreviated to simply VQ, this 24-hour establishment has had a bit of a revamp and I really like it.

Popping in the other day for lunch reminded that I used to always come here for brunch for hungover Sundays. And looking around, I could see that there were a few people who were also popping in for casual meetings or alone with their laptops. I had almost forgotten that VQ literally meant 24 hours and not just after hours, which is why it’s so legendary.

For lunch, my friend and I tried the kedgeree, the bubble & squeak as well as the sweet potato fries.

The amount of times I’ve stumbled in and ordered a burger or something appropriate to soak up the night’s cocktails. But in the cold light of day, my friend and I decided to go for something lighter.

Still, we didn’t shy away from trying VQ’s brownie.

On the side, we sipped freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee.

I love that VQ’s had a new lease of life because it’s reminded me of what’s on my doorstep. Admittedly, I hadn’t been in a while before the facelift but I’m definitely planning to head back soon again. Look out for my tweets! 😉


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