I must be one of the last foodies to try Polpo. Talk about being late to the party. I’ve walked past Polpo’s original Soho restaurant so many times, meaning to pop in, but just never got round to doing so.

Now, in a way, I’m glad I waited because it feels like the biggest and best Polpo has arrived in Chelsea. There is still the cosy intimate feeling that is familiar with the Polpo brand, with Chelsea’s inside space. But what differentiates this restaurant from the others is the wide outdoor terrace.

I absolutely love the al fresco vibe on Duke of York Square. It’s wonderfully buzzy in the evenings and during the day you feel like hours could drift by and it wouldn’t matter. So it’s great to see the restaurant scene here being expanded. Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road Chelsea

As for the menu, Polpo serves up Venetian small plates which are very satisfying indeed. Polpo means  bàcaro, which is a Venetian word used “to describe a humble restaurant serving simple food and good, young local wines”. And for simple food in a humble environment, lunch was more than pretty good.
Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road Chelsea

The OH and I shared the octopus & fennel carpaccio … Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road Chelsea

Salt cod crocchette … Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road Chelsea

Fritto misto … (which was easily the best I’ve ever had in London). Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road Chelsea

I had a sneaky lunchtime bellini which I enjoyed whilst thinking I really need to come back for a sundowner. Their cocktail list looks very good. Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road Chelsea

We also enjoyed the lamb & new season wild garlic meatballs … Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road Chelsea

… with some griddled herbed polenta. Recently I’ve started warming to the idea of polenta and I think this dish has won me over as a pasta/rice/potato substitute. Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road Chelsea

For dessert, OH had the Nutella pizzetta … (yum, yum)Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road Chelsea

… and I had the flourless lemon & almond cake, which was very good but I felt I should have ordered a coffee with it.
Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road ChelseaAll in all, Polpo is a winner. And I can imagine on a balmy summer’s day, sitting outside on the terrace, it could almost feel like being back in Italy. Perhaps all you’ll need is the sound of church bells to give you that added al fresco piazza feel.

Chelsea Girl

If you have any spare time between now and 2nd May 2015, I urge you to visit the Saatchi Gallery for an exhibition that is truly full of wonder and surprise.

Hermès Wanderland is pure escapism whether you are an ardent fan of Hermès or someone who has been secretly longing for a trip down the rabbit hole ever since you picked up a copy of Alice in Wonderland.

Hermès Wanderland at Saatchi Gallery

From the moment I stepped into the exhibition I couldn’t help but be in awe of every detail in every room and on every corridor.
Hermès Wanderland at Saatchi Gallery

Even more , I’ve had to think carefully about which photos I was ready to share from the exhibition because I do think the less you know about Hermès Wanderland, the more you will get from it. But from the two photos I have selected, I hope I have conveyed another exciting concept from the exhibition, that the visitor is immersed in the art. You walk through it and you become part of it which is reflective in what is described as flânerie: “that wonderfully liberating art of urban wandering”, which is “second nature to Hermès.”Hermès Wanderland at Saatchi GalleryFor more information about Hermès Wanderland, if you can’t resist, see Saatchi Gallery’s webpage here. And one last note, the exhibition is free. Now there’s no excuse. 😉

Chelsea Girl

There have been a lot of exciting developments along the King’s Road for foodies – and the arrival of Startisans at Duke of York Square is no exception.

Opened now for a few weeks, Startisans is a pop-up indoor market that is packed with variety because every day is different.

One day you may find scrumptious marshmallows like you’ve never tasted before …

Startisans Duke of York Square

… which are sat alongside gorgeous homemade lasagne.Startisans Duke of York Square

Another day you may discover Vegan Sweet Tooth’s cakes and tarts, which are so divine. If you think you need to compromise on taste with vegan food, think again. Vegan Sweet Tooth has made me realise that dairy-free does not have to be uninteresting at all.Startisans Duke of York Square

Or, another day you could discover these Turkish wraps from Istanbul Lahmacun which I swear by. I’ve had the lamb wrap, which was not only tasty but also very satisfying. I’ll definitely be back for more when they return.

Startisans Duke of York Square

According to Startisans’ website, the definition of a Startisan is “an individual or group of individuals that have created a start up business specialising in artisan food.”

This means you’ll come across Eat ‘N’ Mess’s cakes which are a veritable treat if you can try them.
Startisans Duke of York Square

And what I also love about Startisans, apart from the truly delicious daily offerings, is the fact that start-ups have a platform to show off their goodies which focus on quality because of their small-scale operation.
Startisans Duke of York Square

But the main reason for me writing this post is an observation I made whilst walking along the King’s Road a couple of weeks ago. I spotted people with lunches in their plastic supermarket bags and I thought, if only they knew about ‘this place’. For the same price, they could send their tastebuds on a culinary journey and discover something both tasty and brand new. Makes lunchtimes a lot more interesting!Startisans Duke of York Square

Startisans is open 7 days a week and is definitely worth checking out.

Chelsea Girl

With all the beautiful weather we’ve been having (overnight thunderstorms aside), I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite al fresco places to eat.

Manicomio, not to be mistaken by Manicomio Poco which I also love, on Duke of York Square is a great spot for lunchtime in the sunshine.

Manicomio RestaurantI had lunch there recently, which I started with an obligatory glass of Prosecco.

Manicomio RestaurantWhilst the OH enjoyed his beer, he also delighted in his octopus starter.

Manicomio RestaurantAnd I ordered the yellow fin tuna crudo, which was a real treat.

Manicomio RestaurantFor our mains, the OH had Grilled Brixham monkfish ossobucco which he relished and which I had a little taste of and thought was a particularly good choice!

Manicomio RestaurantSaying that, I really didn’t have any food envy because my lobster tubetti with tomato, basil, chilli and garlic was also on another level. Just gorgeous!

Manicomio RestaurantBut our lunch wasn’t just about the food, the wine was superb. I’ve always had quite a nonchalant interest in rosé wine, great for summer but I’d never discovered any with much substance. Until now, that is. The Sancerre rosé which I tried at Manicomio had depth and flavour, it’s made me fall in love with rosés for the first time.

Manicomio RestaurantSo overall we had yet another successful lunch at Manicomio and I’m looking forward to going back!

Manicomio Chelsea, 85 Duke of York Square, London, SW3 4LY

It’s the week before Easter and this weekend sees the London Marathon happening on Sunday 13th April. But if you’re not running around getting ready for Easter or running through the streets of London for charity, what else is there to do this weekend?

1. The Chelsea Art Fair opened its doors at the Chelsea Town Hall on Thursday and you have until Sunday to visit this international art fair that brings together thirty galleries from the UK and abroad. Here is more information.

2. If you are looking for somewhere delicious and spring-like to visit, why not pop into Sake No Hana on St. James’s Street to dine within their pop-up cherry blossom secret garden and enjoy the scent of Jo Malone’s scented candles lingering.

Sake No Hana

“Sakura at Sake no Hana” also involves a limited-edition menu that includes cherry blossom sake cocktails, exquisite bento boxes, macarons and desserts. To find out more about this pop-up which will run until May 19th, here is Sake No Hana’s website.

Sake No Hana

3. Chocolate lovers, head to Duke of York Square for the Easter Chocolate Market on Saturday. For this week only, the Saturday Farmer’s Market will include a wide range of chocolate sellers from established businesses to smaller artisanal chocolatiers. This one-off chocolate market will celebrate both Easter and the 325th anniversary of Sir Hans Sloane bringing cocoa back to London from the West Indies. Now, that is something to celebrate!

Hans Sloane

Hans Sloane: A local hero

4. Pop into the Victoria and Albert Museum to visit their latest exhibition: The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014. If you can’t make it this weekend, the exhibition will run until 27th July 2014. I, for one, can’t wait to see it.

5. Foodies, head to the South Bank for the Real Food Festival on either Saturday or Sunday for a guilt-free delicious experience that involves “sustainably and ethically produced food.” To find out more, click here.

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