The revamped restaurant is successfully channelling cosy, comfortable luxe in Chelsea, which is no mean feat. Well, if a chicken roast on a Sunday is going to cost almost £30, you want to feel welcome – that’s for sure. And yet, these prices seem completely appropriate when surrounded by such understated beauty. After a renovation of almost nine months, this restaurant and bar – previously Cheyne Walk Brasserie – has reopened with a gorgeous new look.
On a Saturday evening, the room was a pleasant hum of tinkling cutlery, ambient music and gentle chatter. The space draws together all the essentials of a well-heeled dining room: clusters of glowing glass from chandeliers; tawny leather banquettes the colour of an expensive Thoroughbred horse; richly upholstered chairs in a striped fabric. The ceilings are high and the walls are shimmering parquet. You can’t imagine a smudge or a speck to ever dirty this place with its presence.
One of the ways that No. Fifty Cheyne manages to convey a feeling of intimate hospitality is the waiting staff. They moved from table to table, gliding like observant swans who seemed to know that our wine glass needed filling before we even did. They make you feel genuinely appreciated as a guest, which can be a rarity in certain parts of this borough where, occasionally, you’re left to feel rather like a burden for daring to make a booking.
But on to the food. The chef heading up No. Fifty Cheyne is Iain Smith, who honed his craft with Jason Atherton at Social Eating House and Sosharu. The menu he’s created here merges the out-and-out luxurious (scallops and langoustine with squid ink black rice and Champagne sauce, for example), with more comforting dishes such as the Herdwick lamb rump served with pistachio pesto and a hot pot. A starter of slow-cooked hen's egg with asparagus and wild garlic was the epitome of springtime – spears of vibrant greenery, delightful alongside the creamed spinach and oozing gold of yolk.
For the main course, we recommend giving yourself a decent wedge of time for decision making – you’re likely to change your mind at least thrice. If you do manage to swerve the lure of the famous open grill (Veal Château with bone marrow being particularly enticing), then halibut with baby turnip and potato straws offers a combination of much-loved flavours that still manage to be refined – with the addition of a fragrant, lustrous chicken broth that’s rather addictive. For dessert, we defy you not to fall for the oozing hot-chocolate fondant with salted-caramel sauce – a combination that seems to be cropping up all over the place, and yet has rarely been executed with as much aplomb as here. In the mood for a digestif cocktail? Order The Scottish Connection (Black Bottle Whisky, Cross Brew Coffee Liqueur, vanilla, mint and espresso) at your table, or head upstairs to the first-floor Cocktail Bar & Drawing Room for a swanky end to your evening.
No. Fifty Cheyne is certainly targeting those willing to spend money – the average price of a main course is around £30 – and yet it’s highly unlikely you’ll resent the price once you’ve enjoyed an entire evening here. Thankfully, unlike when visiting a friend, you can’t overstay your welcome or visit too often at No. Fifty Cheyne. Which is good, because we’re already planning our next trip.
|What||No. Fifty Cheyne restaurant review|
|Where||No. Fifty Cheyne, No. Fifty Cheyne Walk, London, SW3 5LR | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|