Posts Tagged ‘chelsea’
I always go to The Botanist in the evening, after a day shopping on King’s Road, a stroll at the Saatchi Gallery. Great place for cocktail, busy and buzzing, fantastic London fashion, jumping from one conversation to another. I recently stopped by for breakfast and what a different atmosphere, so soothing, so peaceful, the perfect room to wake up slowly. It has a French bistrot feeling - ask for a coffee, a home baked croissant, grab the moning papers. Take your time, enjoy the cream and caramel surrounding, the curves, really look at the amazing wall of botanical engravings. It was a lovely sunny day - those are to be cherished in England - and I fancied a splash of colour. In a very optimistic thought (yes, sun WILL stay, let’s prepare the skin for it), I opted for a almost silky carrot juice, full vitamin dose. I love that fruit juice is pressed on demand and is always super fresh here. look at the Mint Lift: isn’t this the most beautiful palette of green? Pineapple, apple and mint of course, extra tasty. Remember - we are on Sloane Square. Did you know Hans Sloane brought cacao back to the Uk and even invented its preparation with milk? In his honour, The Botanist serve a superb hot chocolate, slightly sweet, with a cloud like foam, sprinkled with cacao flakes. And a pure luxury touch: a Rococo chocolate stick to crunch on or to be used as a stirrer for a slow-melting effect.
Hungry? Grab a fork. There is a whole page of treats on the menu, from salmon and scrambled eggs, porridge, granola, soft boiled hen eggs with Marmite soldiers, dill cured gravad lax/rye toast/ricotta, coriander/caper and red onion salad… We went for the classic poached eggs with a slight twist. No need to choose anymore, you can have one Florentine and one Benedict on the same plate. Creamy spinach, beautiful ham, hot muffins, rich egg yolk, lemony sauce sprinkled with chives. I don’t know why - it simply makes me happy in a second. Simple comfort food with great ingredients.
But if you want a real change from the usual English Breakfast choices, there is a lovely healthy option to go for. Delicious sweetcorn fritters, roast vine tomato, smoked streaky bacon, baby spinach and a tangy, to-die-for avocado salsa. The bacon is so crunchy, I felt like a kid facing French fries, I just had to eat it with my fingers. Oh, I so need to have this next time with a boiled egg and dip it in the yolk! Discussing the fantastic fruit juice with our waitress, we followed her advice and tasted the Popeye. Yes, as you can guess, this involves spinach. And apple. Drink your greens! It proves… suprisingly addictive, very refreshing, like crunching in a green apple straight form the tree but with a more tender note as a finish.
Another look at the menu and we lost all sense of reason. We were full - it had been delicious so far, with generous plates. But we saw the words buttermilk pancakes. It smells gorgeous, attracted the other tables’ attention on its way to us. moist, thick pancakes, filled with juicy blueberries, soaked in maple syrup and topped with bacon. Sweet and salt well balanced. Gorgeous. Could someone Star-Trek-beam me there every morning, please?
No.7 Sloane Square
London, SW1W 8EE
It’s 11.00 on a Saturday. Chelsea is in full buzz. You are walking along and suddenly you see it in the window. The mountain of festive meringues. The collection of cute éclairs. The so inviting lines of croissants. You won’t even realise you have stepped in the café already, hypnotised, mouth watering. The secret is to go down to the basement room, recently redecorated to a cozy lounge with vibrant colours. Now choose your atmosphere – the tender spring green chairs on the garden side? Or the tall armschairs you just want to settle in for the rest of the day towards the chimney? The room is perfect for parties too – ideal with friends, perfect for children to run around. How, don’t you feel like filling it with balloons?
A look at the menu and that’s it. You forgot the idea of just a quick coffee and a treat, you settle for brunch instead. Eggs royal with a perfect lemony Hollandaise sauce on fragrant salmon and toasted sourdough bread. And a salad – have a look at the counter, they are beautiful. The couscous one is very rich: mint, coriander, pinenuts, spring onions, parsley, tender chicken and juicy jewel pomegranate. Or try the delicious, unctuous Spanish red pepper dip. Wow. A brilliant alliance of feta, almonds, garlic, smoked paprika, olive oil. Divine and healthy, what a perfect combination!
The menu also offers a fabulous selection of freshly pressed juices. The classic ones, of course but also mint-apple, banana and acai, carrot/beetroot/celery/ginger or this one mango, papaya and apple, silky, so very re-energising. Enjoy, stay a little longer. Have another one. Read a magazine. Remember the pastries, plan a sweet break along the Thames later on. Or maybe just come back tomorrow morning for your first coffee with the perfect croissant…
Chelsea Quarter Café
29 Kings’ Road
London is such a cheerful melting pot of world influences… No wonder the Wyndham Grand and famous chocolatier Damian Allsop found this vibrant city inspiring and decided to dedicate an afternoon tea representing the most famous neighbourhoods and celebrate their ethnicity…
Come in, sit close to the balcony, overlooking Chelsea harbour. For once, ignore tea, choose a lemongrass infusion, such an enchanting fragrance, an exoticitywhich will match best the feast to come.
The too classic finger sandwiches are replaced by crostinis, offering more playful textures. Indulge in the Grosvesnor Square, inspired by the US: pastrami, mustard and slices of pickled gherkin. Then try the Fulham Road for its Spanish twist, rye bread, rich tomato, Manchego, a drizzle of fruity olive oil. The Eaton Place bets on British values – creem cheese hightened with fresh herbs, delicious tender salmon.
Scones, in turn, have been infused with the cockney spirit of Old Kent Road. Cooked to perfection, heart warm and sweet, the biscuit slightly caramelised, just a little crunchy – yes, think crumble topping! Add some clotted cream, a spoonful of crips apple jam… Even better on a rainy day.
The dessert festival is sure to seduce you entirely. Damian Allsop had a vision for chocolate – he imagined it as pure as possible. And so, he put the cream aside, used the best spring water. The difference is immediate - you realise what a wonderful smoothness this brings, a longer finish, such a carress to the palate. And so we fell for those adorable cacao lolipops which you can leave to melt in your mouth or crunch happily. These chocopops hide a velvety heart of mango lassi symbolising the vibrant Brick Lane.
Those Yin & Yang bites are little gems. First, you experience the white chocolate, infused with lemon - a revelation, a really extraodinary alliance, awakening all your senses. Under this is a pistachio ice-cream, very natural, gorgeous nuttiness. Close your eyes, yes, you are in the Arabic Edgware Road.
South Kensington of course evoques French delicacies and is interpreted in a cloud-like chocolate mousse. Dip your spoon dip to find the sunny apricot compote at the bottom. Lavender crips top the treat – a creation that will make you feel like holidays in Provence.
Brixton Hill reveals its African and Caraibean roots through an AfricanVirunga cacao chocolate, gorgeous, almost floral, contrasted beautifully with passionfruit. The little plus? Amazing meringue sticks infused with banana.
Chinatown is reinvented in these mmmh-arvelous mini-brownies. Dark chocolate, roasted peanuts, soya based caramel ganache and even a crunhy hint of ginger. Exploding with creativity.
Last but not least, Soho Square is a lovely baked tiramisu with just a touch of marsala wrapped in coffee-flavoured chocolate.
And if one of those edible poems won your heart particularly, try the associated chocolate bar, a delicious way to take the memory of a travel around the world with you…
Eat London Afternoon Tea, until June 30, 2012
London SW10 0XG
A stroll through Chelsea. Gaze at the modern art in the Saatchi Gallery, tip your hat to the famous pensioners, admire the blooms at the Physics Garden, dine on lobster. Then walk along the Thames towards the end of the afternoon to cross the Albert Bridge, recently renovated. Originally a toll bridge, it was quickly nicknamed the trembling lady, shaking under the weight of too many travelers. Even military troops were asked to break step when marching over it.
The structure has since been reinforced and is safe for even cars to use. It has kept this amazing Victorian elegance, pastel colours, fairy-tale like. Very romantic. The best time to cross definitely is at dusk. On the other side is Battersea Park and by the time you have reached the Peace Pagoda, the sky will be painted bright apricot and fushia colours, the architecture looking like delicate lace against it. Retarce your steps to see its 4000 lights being switched on – hypnotising. Three magical atmospheres in a an hour. Unforgettable. Probably my favourite sight in London.
Like diners? You will love Big Easy. Inspired by crabshacks – those casual beach restaurants specialised in seafood and American classics dishes – this address has won the heart (and stomach) of both locals and passers by on King’s Road. Just a look through the window at those fabulous plates and you are hooked. 20 years of success and customers licking their fingers.
Decoration is simple and it is all part of the charm. It has this warm and friendly touch from the south of the US - the colours, the sense of humour, the welcome, the menu with home-cooked food and excellent prices. People relax instantly - no need to pretend, businessmen get rid of their tie, families share combos, friends cheer to a beautiful day spent together. A whole mix of people brought together by the atmosphere.
We stopped by at the end of a sunny afternoon and decided to enjoy the blue sky a little longer, sitting at one of the outside tables. It just called for a Pina Colada, the perfect holiday touch, velvety touch of the coconut sweetened by the rum and a generous serving of fresh pineapple juice. The range of cocktail is large, some are served in jugs. Children can enjoy milk-shakes like the fab Graceland (vanilla, peanut butter, banana) and parents an upgraded version spiked with alcohol. Below is the Pirates of the Caribbean, mixing vanilla ice cream, rum, coconut cream - the little plus that makes such a difference - fresh mint. Oh, and it leaves delicious moustaches too.
We could not choose in the long list of starters - chicken wings with voodoo sauce? Deep fried calamari? Fresh shucked oysters? Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers? Our waitress came to the rescue, advising the mussels, which fragrance is divine. those have been cooked in a beautiful sauce of onions and white wine, even enjoyable on its own, spoonful after spoonful. Do try the roasted potato skins too, with a fluffy mash enhanced with spring onions and loaded with mature cheddar. Add a little sour cream for extra pleasure. Beware, if you came with kids they will make those disappear in no time so race them!
One of the specialties is a royal dish indeed - lobster. Oh my, what a treat! The team goes to the market on a daily basis to ensure the best quality and the freshest produce. In top restaurants, you will need to empty your wallet for a tiny piece presented beautifully. Here the deal is much more honest: the whole beast, a 2lb lobsters with fries and salad for only £19.95 (every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5pm). You read that right a whole kilo, the most delicate flesh, almost sweet. Of course, you will have to forget elegance. The whole fun is into using your fingers, crack the shell, extract as much as you can. Greediness will reveal unsuspected dexterity and textures vary whether it is the tender insides, the leg, the claw. A few minutes and you will understand better the plastic bib brought with the plate. Yes, the picture will make your friends smile yet put it on FB with a few words about your dinner and they will all be envious (and probably will try the place within days). The lobster is served with a choice of three sauces - sweet chili, Hollandaise and our favourite Thermidor with a touch of mustard. Other great ideas - the possibility to have crab instead or even a plate of both steak and lobster.
Big Easy also is famous for their barbecued meat. The house sauce is almost caramelised, slightly smoked. Some cross the whole town for it. “We Serve Only The Biggest & The Best”, they say and they do not lie. The portions are gorgeous AND amazingly huge. Still no meat lover would accept to leave a single forkful of it. The menu offers a selection of back ribs, chicken, combination of both and even a version with grilled shrimps, each with creamy coleslaw, fries (French or thick) and BBQ beans to die for. It has a Western movie dimension to it, cowboys sitting close to a camp fire on a starry night.
Keep some space for dessert, if only to share the waffles. Apple-cinnamon, strawberry-sugar syrup, chocolate sauce, each matched to a crunchy basket filled with vanilla ice-cream. So lovely you will want to order another one. Share? Ah, what a silly idea that was.
Before coming for lunch or dinner, don’t forget to check the deal of the day on the website. On Mondays for example, you can indulge in the “All you can eat BBQ” for £14.95, beer included. I do not know any guy who would refuse such an offer. On some evenings, there will also be live music - just the perfect place to celebrate life with friends, an address to cherish.
332-334 Kings Road
London, SW3 5UR
Of primroses, we mostly know the basic ones, simple and weather resistant.
However, hundreds exist, all more refined and elegant than the others. They look like jewels, almost painted upon. Fragile however, they suffer easily from too much wind or sun. Gardeners tended to plant them in narrow and higher terracota pots to move them easily. Then came the idea of shelving to shelter them better… which worked out perfectly to present their beauty as well, preferably close to the reading room window. With time, competitions take place. The Theatrum Auriculae becomes a little stage with a black background for the colours to stand out even better.
You can discover a lovely collection till May 06th at the Chelsea Physic Garden. Each blossom is ever so fine, some flowers are double and I can imagine them unfolding ever so gently, petal after petal like the rose in The Little Prince. Even their names are poetic: Old Irish Blue, Cherry Pie, Toffee Crisp…
The gardens are at their best in spring - wander like a butterfly, discover the greenhouses, get a glass of wine at the café (cash only), take your lunch to a sunny spot on the lawn…
Chelsea Physic Gardens
66 Royal Hospital Road
London SW3 4HS
Gosh, so many things coming up you might need to add a few pages to your agenda for the week-end!
- Join me in my week-end celebration: isn’t an afternoon tea with a view ideal?
- Fascinating scientific and robotic creations…
- Kew Gardens turns tropical!
- Brunch in Brixton village…
- Pssst: it’s Nutella world day on Saturday - get a lovely pancake here!
- Where did you put that red nose?
- Frankenstein turns to the theatre stage…
- Get hungry @ the V&A Childhood Museum…
- Love alternative restaurants? This one can be all yours…
- Keep it real @ the Whitechapel Gallery…
When you think of a walk along the Thames, where do you go? Southbank, of course, from the London Eye to Tower Bridge. It is easy to forget that there might be other ways along the river.
Chelsea, for example, is a pretty change.
Green, lined with tichly decorated houses, it offers a view of the Asian pagoda in Battersea Park, on the laced inside of Battersea Station, and a lovely view of albert Bridge, probably the most beautiful in the capital (did you know it originally opened as a toll bridge? Not a success, only lasted 6 years).
Passing by a few days ago, how lovely to see that a little of Christmas had survived the holidays:
I had never paid attention to this lampost before - how amazingly decorated: oak leaves, cornucopias, tridents, wreaths…
They were designed especially for this embankment opening back in 1874. Hats off!
Why not try to see the Thames differently?
Night falling from 16.00 onwards… First frosts and there are talks of snow… Say no to the winter blues and put fireworks in your life!
- It’s also party time in Seven Dials – get 20% off your shopping!
- Don’t forget the V&A late opening on Friday – free workshops to create your xmas presents and a DJ…
- Wander on a rooftop terrasse with a gorgeous view on St Paul. Free public access!
- Feel like ice-skating? Try an early session @ the Somerset House: for £18.50, and adult and a child can skate for an hour then have a hot chocolate, a glass of champagne and a cupcake. Or try a historical background such as Hampton Court or the Tower…
- Fall for nougat and chesnuts @ the Paddington Xmas Market…
- Escape with these beautiful landscapes…
- But what can girls pack in their handbags? The answer is at Selfridge’s…
- Want a brand new collection of clothes without spending a penny? Learn to swish!
- Be a child again with those illustrations…
- Step in artists’ studios…
- The road is yours! On Saturday, both Oxford and Regent St will be closed to traffic for a better shopping experience. Plus music and entertainement!
- Looking for an original gift? Why not an artwork in this pop-up shop? They even have a landscape made of neons…
- Rediscover Camden…
- Last but not leat… a cocktail served with a chocolate truffle… Cheers!
I’m back! Now, let’s see what’s new in the city…
- On Thursday, don’t miss this aquatic exhibition…
- …or enjoy a free curry!
- This way for a free musical @ Sadler’s Wells…
- Always a favourite: Notting Hill carnival!
- Feel nostalgic with this exhibition on Jimy Hendrix…
- I never tire of this yearly press pictures exhibition…
- Discover a few secret places in the National Theatre…
- Treat yourself to an afternoon tea with an Asian touch…
- By the way, do you know the story of the Crystal Palace?
- Yes, pubs and opera can be in harmony, who would have thought so!
- Try to get a ticket for this fab underground dinner!
- Fed up with pop-up shops? Why not give this pop-up cinema a go? It used to be a petrol station.
- Get the kids to learn more abour bats!
You’ll find me… strolling through Chelsea Physics gardens… Testing this edible exhibition… Checking out the Natural History Museum’s 8m long knitted squid… Enjoying some retro glamour at the V&A late night… Where will YOU be?