Mon–Fri 7am–3pm, 6pm–9.30pm, Sat–Sun 8am–3pm, 6pm–9.30pm
Hotel restaurants are pretty funny things. No other type of eating establishment, I think, seems to have such an arbitrary disparity in quality. I’ve stayed in fantastic hotels with mediocre in-house dining, in some rather unpleasant hotels with some surprisingly fantastic food, and everything in between. Unless a hotel is at one end of the spectrum—either truly high-end or absolutely dismal—you never really know what you’re going to get. I can’t say anything for My Chelsea, a little boutique hotel tucked away on a side street in South Kensington. I can, however, say something for its restaurant, the appropriately-named My Kitchen.
First, that it is an impeccably stylish place. No surprise perhaps, considering the chicness of the hotel, but in terms of décor and atmosphere, My Kitchen (I can’t help but wonder whether they cleverly named it so in order to make people writing about it seem haughty and overconfident in their own cooking skills) is one of the more pleasant, laid-back places I’ve eaten in this part of town.
It’s not a million miles away from a café in setup, to the point that one woman (who stood out in particular by way of the place being completely empty—and on a Friday night, too) seemed to just be enjoying a drink while she worked on a laptop. Not exactly a Michelin-starred fine dining atmosphere, then, but that’s hardly a bad thing; for what it is, My Kitchen is a wonderfully presented restaurant.
As is the food. There are no starters to speak of, which is a tad disappointing, but the mains were, if nothing else, rather beautiful. Take note of that ‘if nothing else’, however—the portions were very, very small indeed, and I can’t help but think that you can only get away with that if it is a Michelin-starred, fine dining experience. My chermoula cod (a whopping £16 with a side) was as tender and flaky as you could hope, but was simply not an inventive enough recipe to warrant such a small portion or such a price. Not only that, but my guest’s halloumi, aubergine and courgette skewers and lemon salsa (£12.50) seemed as though it should have had a place on the non-existent starters menu rather than the mains.
In terms of desserts, my guest’s chocolate and pear tart (£7.50) was capably made yet unremarkable, though I’ll admit that my own ‘Chelsea mess’ (it’s just Eton mess) was one of the best Eton messes I’ve had in quite some time. The wine list was well chosen, though not extensive.
Unlike my kitchen, there’s nothing really huge to complain about with the cooking in My Kitchen. The food was very well made indeed. It was also quiet, relaxed and the staff were perfectly friendly. It’s just not, however, worth that price—if you’re going to be serving small portions that won’t fill you up, your menu had better be inventive and clever enough to justify that. Here, sadly, that was not the case.