Chelsea began life as a Saxon village some miles from the thriving town of London (the name derives from Saxon words cealc hythe, the word hythe meaning a landing place for boats) and has long been a sought-after area. So sought after that in 1536 Henry VIII built a manor house in Chelsea but it was demolished in 1760.
Disclaimer: Any of these that I was a press guest at some point are indicated with a * in the title.
As ever I review as if I had paid for them and only share the ones that I have loved,
(too) often returning on my own dime.
Fast-forwarding to modern times, much hasn’t changed in Chelsea. The beautiful stone and brick buildings that could tell juicy enough tales to make your hair curl, the roads which still occasionally host horse & carriage and there is a delightful selection of places to spend a few hours with friends; to eat drink and be merry.
If you want to rub gilets with the cast of Made in Chelsea, or simply promenade along the Kings Road, these are my personal favourite spots to while away a few hours.
Grainger & Co.
The newest outpost of Bill Grainger’s gourmet empire does everything it should; provide a buzzy atmosphere in a super modern building, friendly service, cracking ricotta pancakes and occasionally plays host to Bill himself – at least when we last visited!
No. 11 Pimlico Road
This is a proper instagram worthy gem that I found with a touch of elbow grease one Thursday afternoon. It’s a little off the beaten track but no less popular for it – I’d recommend booking a table so you aren’t disappointed. Every dish we ordered was interesting and had a few twists on classics – but passed the Kiwi test with flying colours. Full review of No. 11 Pimlico Road here.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Always a classic spot for those with brunch pangs, the all-day brunch menu means that whatever time you roll out of bed, you can always get a fix of your British favourites. Unsurprisingly, there is a lovely garden to linger in as well – but every time I’ve visited I’ve been too distracted by people watching.
Pavilion Road *
Developed as a foodie hub for the area, each of the shops has been carefully selected for the sheer passion of the produce that they specialise in. And each of these artisan establishments – incidentally with a high ratio of Kiwis running those shops – is a delight to wander through. Provenance Butchers, London Cheesemongers, Pavilion Wine, Bread Ahead bakery and Natoora – a greengrocer specialising in in-season produce. It doesn’t matter how often I visit, I always leave with a heavy bag of delicious products and a lighter wallet…
Partridges & Duke of York Square *
Grocer to the Queen, and provider of Lamingtons to this homesick Kiwi. What higher accolades can you attribute to this artisan grocer and Saturday market? None. I’ve been both a guest and long-time shopper at both of these fine establishments and will continue to do so for many years.
Peter Jones Department Store
And no, I haven’t lost my mind. This is a cheeky little tip – for an unbeatable rooftop view over Chelsea, pop up to the cafe for a slice of cake. Just don’t tell everyone – they’ll want to go and we won’t be able to find a table!
Wulf and Lamb *
Brand newly opened at the time of writing, I had the pleasure of trying out tasting menu featuring a bevy of their vegan dishes, and can honestly confirm that they were delicious. Everyone loves the chilli ‘non’ carne and mango cheesecake which I did as well, but I adored the green coconut curry and light, rich Tiramisu that disappeared from my plate faster than you can say Sir Hans Sloane 1st Baronet, President of the Royal Society.
Gallery Mess *
I like popping in here after a long, quizzical afternoon at the Saatchi Gallery, either for a cheeky coffee whilst good friends sip Aperol spritzes, or for a relaxing dinner with that husband of mine. It’s all brickwork archways, sprays of white blossom giving Clos Maggiore a run for date money, candles on each of the tables and with almost an entire wall made of glass, with the late afternoon sunlight streaming through. Full Gallery Mess review here.
Bletchley Cocktails *
We adored this pop-up. Having been to the previous Breaking Bad-themed and not really loving it, we were delighted at the setup of the basement bar; an ode to the infamous Bletchley Park code breakers in World War Two. I will be blogging this properly soon, as it’s well worth the journey there.
See, this is how much we enjoyed it.
11 Cadogan Gardens *
Plush and cozy are the words to describe this hotel and bar – and also ‘impossible to leave’. I visited earlier in the year for a special St Patrick’s Day menu tasting, but have returned several times since to sink into those sofa cushions. The bar reminds me of the cigar bar in the Savoy or the Lanesborough – all well and truly special spots to enjoy.
What are your favourite Chelsea spots?
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