Yesterday, I popped into The Phene to check out this year’s Winter Garden. It was about 4.30pm when I arrived and there was a table of people inside finishing up their lunch; a couple on the other side of the room having a drink; and a man wearing a suit, drinking a cocktail. There were also a few people outside.

I’d never seen The Phene so quiet and chilled. I’m used to going there in the evening to find a crowded bar and garden – and admittedly, I tend to pick other places as first choices. But yesterday was superb and the winter garden really made me feel festive whilst reminding  me of my impending deadline to finally deal with my Christmas shopping!

Over the last year, I’ve learned to order straight from The Phene’s cocktail menu rather than go off-piste. It’s easy that way and I started yesterday with a Passion Fruit Martini which I can wholly recommend. I then proceeded on to a couple of glasses of champagne, which felt perfect for the setting.

So all that’s left to say is that if you’ve finished work early or are taking time off over Christmas, I’d definitely recommend checking out The Phene during off peak hours. It’s a real treat.

For more photos of The Phene’s Winter Garden, click here.


1. Lee Broom at The Shop at Bluebird. Trained by Vivienne Westwood and a graduate from Central St Martins, Lee Broom will be launching his first store within The Shop at Bluebird in February 2011.

2. Michael Hoppen Contemporary at Michael Hoppen Gallery. Ends 19th February 2011.

3. John Adams’ Nixon In China at Chelsea Cinema. 12th February at 6pm.

4. Kitsch at Embargo 59. Every Thursday night.

5. The Phene’s Valentine’s menu. A sharing menu for £70 includes a Belgian Chocolate Fondue with exotic fresh fruits and marshmallows and an indulgent four cheese fondue with fresh bread for dipping. A classic romantic film will play on the cinema screen and every couple will receive a complimentary glass of Champagne.

Snow turned Chelsea into a veritable winter wonderland last week; perfectly timed for The Phene’s Winter Garden Party.

Admittedly as I ran on the treadmill at The Chelsea Sport’s Centre and looked out of the window to see the harsh weather, I struggled to imagine heading down the road for an outdoor party. But I persevered and a couple of hours later, I was inside a toasty pub sipping on Belvedere cocktails and the odd hot toddy.

Eventually, it was time to venture outdoors and what a delight it was. The comfy seats, which were reminiscent of an outdoor Sydney lounging vibe, were covered by stylish white canopies. Meanwhile, the outdoor heaters and a couple of burning fires kept everyone warm despite my eco conscience, which did struggle slightly. The first floor Lounge was my other favourite area. With a Christmas tree in the corner and three sofas positioned in front of a roaring fire, this was a gorgeous room to hang out in.

A couple of nights later and with the snow now settled, I visited 102 Sydney Street to discover one of the most exciting events in Chelsea. Neal’s Yard Galleries had turned a disused office block into a three floor art gallery.

This exhibition contained a huge range of works, which made every floor a genuine surprise. Take India Amos‘ fine art collection: her still life on linen brought texture to the simplicity of her colours and subjects. There was also the suggestive works of George Morgan whose pieces evoked a romantic and sometimes fantasy world. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rupert Burt’s abstract works were inspired by molecular science.

Given what I have said in the past, it was so exciting to see art bring an industrial space to life in Chelsea; so much so that I might have to pop in again before it all comes down next month.

Mina Zaher

Follow her @kingsroadrocks