Archive for February 17th, 2007

Cheyne Walk Brasserie, Chelsea, London

A few weeks ago, we went to Cheyne Walk Brasserie for the first time with Cathy and Bobby for drinks. I had my doubts about going there because a lot of restaurants in Chelsea have struck me as either inexpensive and mediocre or expensive and mediocre. But for drinks, I’d give the place a try.Cheyne Walk Brasserie interior

Well, we walked in and were struck by a warm and lively atmosphere. The simple (sort of spare), high-ceilinged Grill at Cheyne Walk Brasserie, Chelsea, Londonroom is lit up by a fiery, smoky grill that’s the room’s centrepiece. The grill announced: “we’re more than just a pretty brasserie – we actually cook here!”

The Tiffany-blue banquettes and generous spacing of tables rounded out the place’s inviting look.

We went upstairs to the “salon” for drinks, all of which were tasty, and even though we’d already eaten dinner that night, somehow we managed to devour a plate of cheese. The view of the Albert Bridge (see photo below left) spanning the Thames was gorgeous, the velvet-covered chaise lounges were comfy, and of course the company was perfect. So Jon and I decided we’d go back to try the food.Albert Bridge, London

Last night, that’s what we did. At around 10 pm, the dining room was still packed, and there was high traffic from large groups coming in and heading straight up to the salon (odd, because the Friday we went up there, the salon was empty except for us).

The menu offerings were all classic brasserie, and what we ate ranged from “well-cooked but nothing special” to “so tasty I could eat this all night.” In the former category fell Jon’s grilled sea bream, and my rack of lamb. Both were grilled to keep their juiciness and with a nice, smoky flavor that whisked you off to summer by the Mediterranean.

Our appetizers (a spicy, rich fish soup and a fresh-from-the-oven, comforting aubergine-goat cheese tart), the butter and bread, and a side of potatoes dauphinoises fell in the latter. I hate when potatoes dauphinoises is liquidy and the potato layers smush together, but here, it was crispy on top, creamy/buttery/garlicky, and the layers were intact. I love when comfort food gets attention from the cook.

We were stuffed after our main courses, but we’ll pace ourselves for dessert next time.The service during dinner (and also the time we went for drinks) was elegantly friendly and efficient.

Starters were £8-10, Mains averaged around £20. The menu is kind of Craft-style, meaning nothing comes with a side. You order that separately. Plus, there’s a £3 per person cover charge, which annoys me. Still, we’ll go back.
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