No. 50 Cheyne

They Say

‘Executive Head Chef Iain Smith has created a range of menus with a hint of the homeland using the finest British ingredients sourced by trusted suppliers. Our À La Carte menu offers a selection of lighter dishes: seasonal salads and seafood dishes, followed by a robust choice of classic grill dishes. All served for both lunch and dinner. Our wine lists have been carefully curated to complement our menus and to be exquisite yet at exceptional value. Iain and his team look forward to cooking for you at any time and have particularly enjoyed crafting the seasonally changing À La Carte menu and the famous Weekend Roast Lunches with large joints to share from the grill and indulgent, irresistible desserts menu.’

The Style

Attractively upmarket, as befits the address. Round tables are laid with white linen tablecloths and napkins, sparkling glassware and well-polished silver cutlery. Tan leather banquettes line the interior walls; comfortable bucket chairs upholstered in the same tan leather, with Regency striped exteriors, are well spaced around the tables. Flooring is chestnut-coloured parquet, walls painted mink, swag curtains also Regency striped and full-length. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling, wall-mounted chandelier lamps with mink-coloured shades echoing its glittering splendour.

There is an open grill, attractively tiled, and an impressively-stocked black marble bar. Staff are friendly and ultra-professional. An attractive floral motif is evident throughout, with large (faux) displays surrounding the main entrance, the bar, menus and decorating the loo. A lot of thought has clearly gone into making the atmosphere welcoming and conducive to having a good time. Plenty of laughter from other tables throughout the evening confirms my first impression.

The Crowd

Local and rich (the two being more or less synonymous in Chelsea these days). Iain, the affable chef, comes to talk us through the menu before our meal and confirms that it’s mainly regulars on week nights (we are here late on a Thursday evening, and – while not full to capacity – it’s pretty busy). There’s an attractive middle-aged blonde who’s no doubt had some work done, stroking a tiny lapdog sitting next to her on one of the banquettes. She’s dining with a female companion also straight out of central casting. It soon becomes apparent that they’re American. Bankers’ wives? Pure speculation, but an easy guess.

Slightly further away are a couple of older Italian men in jackets and open-collared shirts, their watches expensive and hair slightly too-long. On the way to the loo, I pass an older-school Chelsea crowd – silver foxes with their silver vixen wives – having what looks like the time of their lives. Towards the end of the night, a mixed party gets up to leave, shouting goodbyes to other customers, clearly on friendly terms with the staff too. They include a woman in five-inch heels and fur and another in silver trousers and trainers. It’s all very jolly.

The Food

Absolutely exquisite. We are here to review the Tastes of Fifty menu (£29), which offers three choices in three courses, and has only just changed seasons the day before we dine – although the weather hasn’t quite caught up yet. From the starters, after checking with the chef that asparagus season is slightly earlier in the southernmost reaches of the British Isles, I opt for Isle of Wight asparagus and red flesh plum with sweetcorn puree and blood orange dressing with red gem leaves. Oooh this is yummy, the asparagus perfectly ripe and cooked just al dente – I feel smug to have gained a march on the rest of the population. The blood orange dressing is sweet, tangy and delicious, the sweetcorn puree adding extra little bursts of sweetness, the red gems a welcome hint of bitterness.

My husband Andy has the cured beetroot and dill salmon gravadlax with crème fraiche, fennel and rhubarb dressing with avocado and baby beetroot. This is very pretty on the plate, a lovely array of colours, light, zesty and refreshing. He gobbles it up with enthusiasm (as is his wont).

To follow I choose the poached fillet of Cornish cod with langoustine risotto, squid and piquillo red peppers with sea beet leaves, and gosh I’m pleased with my choice. The cod is perfectly cooked, just opaque and falling into perfect silky flakes. The langoustine risotto has a delicious sweetness from the crustaceans and red peppers; the squid is melt-in-the-mouth tender. Superb stuff.

Andy’s Landes French chicken breast and chicken skin crumb with creamed Jersey Royals, morel mushrooms and peas with maple bacon and wild garlic sauce is – you guessed it – delicious. The wonderful texture and flavour of the chicken really shows its provenance, the chicken skin crumb adding a fantastically savoury textural contrast. The seasonal accompaniments are spot on, the morels stuffed with chicken mousse given added zingy freshness with the addition of lemon zest.

The puddings – oh the puddings! I greedily go for the Dark Chocolate Fondant with hazelnut soft centre, salted chocolate sauce and praline ice cream, Andy the Kentish Strawberry Soufflé with white chocolate sauce, strawberry jam and shortbread crumb. The fondant is as dark, rich and indulgent as the soufflé is light, airy and delicate. Andy says he has never eaten such a delicious one, but I can’t quite envisage a world in which strawberries can be seasonal in late March in this country. It’s a shame, as the menu is spot on with its sourcing of excellent ingredients in every other respect and I assume that the menus won’t change until at least late June, when the fruit will be at peak ripe juiciness, but I have to deduct half a star (which Andy grudgingly accepts, though he still maintains that the dessert in no way suffers for being made with berries not quite yet in season).

The Drink

We start with aperitifs – Margarita (me) and Gin Martini (Andy). Both are well-made and refreshing. To follow, a bottle of Pouilly Fuisse 2020, Vielles Vignes, Domaine Corsin. God it’s good, pairing perfectly with both the fish and the chicken. In fact ‘Iain’s Wine List’ is exceptionally well-chosen – the only other white available by the bottle is a 2022 Chablis Premiere Cru Fourchaume, Marc Brocard (other wines are available by the carafe, or bottle if you go for the regular wine list – which is also very good). With our puddings, the helpful female sommelier recommends a 2013 Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos to go with my chocolate fondant, a 2019 Chateau Roumieu Sauternes to go with Andy’s soufflé. Again, perfectly chosen and absolutely delicious.

In a Nutshell

The set menu cleverly gives customers the opportunity to experience first rate food in attractive surroundings at extremely reasonable prices. As soon as you go to the grill or a la carte, the outlay rises considerably!

The Details

50 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London SW3 5LR
Tel: 020 737 68787


Monday & Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: dinner 6pm to midnight (last booking 10pm)
Thursday: dinner 6pm to midnight (last booking 10pm)
Friday: lunch midday to 4pm (last booking 2:30pm), dinner 6pm to midnight (last booking 10pm)
Saturday: lunch midday to 3:30pm (last booking), dinner 6:30pm to midnight (last booking 10pm)
Sunday: midday to 5:30pm (last booking)

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