What They Say
Tucked away on the quiet corner of Old Church Street and Paultons Street, whilst being just a stone’s throw from the bustling King’s Road, The Chelsea Pig has long been a destination spot for locals in the know. At The Chelsea Pig, you can experience an all-day dining menu of British classics created by award-winning head chef Fionnan Flood alongside a selection of premium and classic beers, wines, Champagnes, and an innovative cocktail menu.
Inside the four walls of the Chelsea Pig is an eclectic mix of grand chandeliers, modernised traditional pub furniture, marble table tops and plush leather chairs. Walls with deep blues surround faux-taxidermy insects in nautical circular frames. The main attraction of the design is a tube-shaped fish tank complete with a life-sized copper hat diver. Open curtains (presumably put up during the height of the pandemic) are spread in between tables, giving the eclectic design a rather homey feel.
We started by sampling The Chelsea Pig’s take on some well-loved cocktails. The Cherry Old Fashioned, which was beautifully balanced, did not disappoint. I am often a little hesitant when a menu stresses the sweetness of an old-fashioned, but they blended it beautifully and the smoky notes of the bourbon really came through. The Jasper too was impressive, a refreshing short Summer cocktail.
To eat, we started with a burrata, which was garnished with grapes infused with sugar syrup and added extra sweetness, matching well with salty black truffle oil. Crispy croutons also gave different tenure to the delicious creaminess of the burrata. A burrata doesn’t need much, but these well thought out additions added a little extra for the taste buds.
We also tried the pork and rabbit terrine, which was really fresh, light and succulent; the crunch of the al dente asparagus and the nutty notes of the compote provided a textured taste delight.
To go with the mains we ordered the Cabernet Sauvignon, which was surprisingly full-bodied, with notes of cherry and a pleasantly spicy finish, though perhaps a little too smoky for my taste.
I ordered the lamb for my main course, which comes rolled like a roulade. It was magnificently presented – the vibrant greens beneath the juicy lamb roulade – accompanied with a gravy boat and puréed mash. The lamb was succulent and tender; the mash had a wonderfully smooth creamy texture; and the veg (I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted to talk so much about the veg before) consisted of a radish and pea bed in which the lamb rests is crunchy, fresh and tied the dish together fabulously.
My guest had the steak, which comes with a delightfully creamy peppercorn sauce and mixed artichoke leaves. The presentation was simple – no frills, just very good steak.
We may have overindulged in a Truffle Macaroni Cheese side dish. It came as a generous portion, with a garnish of greens and a hazelnut crumble. It was divine and I could have happily ordered just that (perhaps with some extra greens to alleviate the guilt).
We finished (probably foolishly at this point) with a final course of berry cobbler to satisfy our sweet teeth. As with all of the portions here, the dessert was generous in size, and understandably recommended as a sharer. Its wonderful, cake-like texture and the tang of the fruit compote were subtle and worked well with the sweetness of the dish as a whole. The cobbler came accompanied by crème fraîche ice cream.
We were also given cereal ice cream to sample. The team at The Chelsea Pig regularly experiment with different flavours of ice cream, made on-site (as demonstrated with the crème fraîche). This one, made from cereal-infused milk, provided nostalgia and taste in equal measure. It was no doubt inspired by the creations of Christina Tosi of Milk Bar New York, who was featured on a particularly wholesome episode of Chef’s Table.
A mixture of locals out for dinner and folks swinging in for a quick drink or little plate after work, creating a classic relaxed pub feel in upmarket surroundings, especially with an unpretentious playlist of Cool & the Gang, Tom Jones and Marc Morrison’s Return of the Mac.
I also noticed the chef referring to a customer by name. It felt like a very “home-style “ intimate setting that you could regularly frequent after work. As the night went on, it busied up and there were Chelsea girls catching up for dinner and drinks as well as couples hiding in the dim corner.
In a Nutshell
Creative takes on traditional gourmet pub food made by a top-notch London chef in a prime Chelsea location.
I always think that the smaller the portions, the better the food tends to be. Yet the food here was excellent and the portions remained (as is traditional with pub food) large. Don’t be fooled – wear loose trousers. You won’t want to miss out on the ice cream.
The Chelsea Pig, 35 Old Church St, London SW3 5BS