Opened originally in 2003 by entrepreneur and Cheyne Walk resident Sally Greene (the founder-director of the Old Vic Theatre and proprietor of Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club), this Chelsea institution has been given a new lease of life following a nine-month renovation project and rebranded, No. Fifty Cheyne. Iain Smith, a Jason Atherton protégé previously at Social Eating House, heads up the kitchen with a revamped menu focusing on fine British ingredients centred around a calescent open grill.
The aesthetic is ‘grand Chelsea home’, and certainly doesn’t feel stuffy or pretentious. The interiors are little mismatched at points but in a way that somehow works together. We were sat in the ground floor restaurant right by the star of the show, the open grill, and enjoyed watching the chefs working their magic. There are a number of individually decorated rooms available for private hire while upstairs there is an additional cocktail bar and drawing room serving a more casual menu.
The crowd felt quintessentially Chelsea and our fellow diners (a mix of couples and small groups) certainly looked like they hadn’t travelled far for dinner. They’ve successfully retained the neighbourhood feel of the original Cheyne Walk Brasserie and I got the impression locals do pop by for drinks and a midweek supper. For example, on our visit, two well-dressed ladies were sat at the bar drinking cocktails with an adorable sausage dog in tow.
The menu consists of British and Modern European dishes thoughtfully put together and perfectly executed. We didn’t complain about a single bite.
The scallop and langoustine with squid ink black rice and Champagne sauce (£19.50) was a decadent and delicious start while my dining companion’s salad of beetroot, heritage carrots, pickled apple and pears, cashew nut cream (£9.50) was certainly a lighter choice, both refreshing and full of flavour. We were equally impressed by the mains. The fillet of hake, peas and broad beans with white wine sauce (£25.50) melted in the mouth while the Grilled Fish of the Day (£26.50), on this occasion Tuna, was cooked to perfection.
For dessert, we shared the hot chocolate fondant, salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream (£10) and the Pear crumble, mixed berry jam, with warm custard (£8.50). However, our kind waiter was so desperate for us to also try the caramelised puff pastry, poached rhubarb, sorbet and rippled chantilly (£10.00) that we ended up with all three – a decision we did not regret. All were excellent but our waiter was proved right and the unusual rhubarb dish came out on top.
I arrived early and started with a cocktail at the bar. There was no menu as such as this was the soft launch so instead the friendly bar man recommended me a cocktail based on my taste. I said ‘fruity’ and ‘gin’ and he whipped up something exactly to my requirements.
The wine list is relatively slim but carefully chosen. The French Burgundy we sampled was delightful. Following the food, we were treated to a Cheyne take on an Espresso Martini, The Scottish Connection. Made with whisky and a twist of mint, it was an alcoholic equivalent of an after-eight and an ideal way to end our meal.
50 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London SW3 5LR; email@example.com; 020 7376 8787