Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Lunch at the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie

On Sunday I headed over to Chelsea Harbour for a set lunch at Chelsea Riverside Brasserie. I arrived an hour early because I wanted a chance to have a little explore and ended up finding a bench to sit on, giving me the above view of the Thames! It was a nice and peaceful place to have a watch of the river, until suddenly a group of fifty or so canoes rowed on past - still not entirely sure what that was about!

Above is a view of the boats in the harbour - and of the hotel and restaurant itself! That big building in the left is the Grand Chelsea Harbour Hotel, and if you can just about see some giant umbrellas on the first level - that's the brasserie! It was a nice little area, very pleasant to be in, and personally I think the hotel and surrounding apartments are really nice to look at as well. I was surprised the boats were a little dull though - when I lived in Sardinia I used to love going and looking at what boats had docked up that day as they were usually these enormous extremely expensive things (I once found one that cost at least three times my house) and I assumed Chelsea would have the equally expensive ones, seemingly being London's land of the Lamborghini - but never mind!

The hotel itself was really nice as well. I absolutely love the interior of it. It's large and spread out but really really beautiful. The inside of the restaurant was equally attractive, with lots of giant paintings all over the place - on the walls and in the dividers! I really liked it, it was so bright and pretty. You can tell the hotel is a pricey one from the second you walk in but it's not at all overly posh. I was worried the restaurant would be a little stuffy due to location but it was actually very relaxed and chilled out, and it was a nice place to spend time.

Due to the weather, we were seated outside. This was a little hasty - it looked bright and sunny but it was so cold! It made for great photos, if you ignored the fact that by the half way point most of us had our coats on because it was just too chilly to be sitting there without. Okay - on with the food!

Starter - Heirloom tomato tart
I'd gone out wanting a healthy meal, and so I definitely felt like I was off to the right start with this tart! It tasted lovely and fresh and you could tell the ingredients were of good quality. The other options were a crumbed fish cake (which I am told was lovely!) and a pea and smoked ham soup - None of us went for the soup, though honestly this was the most appealing to me, I just have a habit of being super slow with my soups so decided to spare everybody else some time!

Main - Freshly caught seared gurnard fillet
I am an absolute lover of fish. I sometimes feel bad that no matter where we go, I will probably order fish if it is on the menu. And, being on the riverside, it seemed wrong to choose anything else, so fish it was! I was a little disappointed with this option though. The most healthy, sure, but it wasn't at all filling and I didn't really feel like I was getting the value for money. It was all a little bland, and it did not escape my attention that the people choosing the other options seemed to get triple the amount I did - their meals were at least double the size of mine and also came with a side of potatoes. Hmm. The other options were beef bourguinon (everyone who had this spoke very very highly of it!) and a wild mushroom risotto.

Dessert - Apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream
None of us seemed overly impressed with the desserts, though I think I got the luckiest choice! My tart was enjoyable enough, though I wouldn't order it again - I have nothing much to say on it as it was just basically okay! A few people had the sticky toffee pudding and were really disappointed with it as it was basically just a pudding with a grand total of three drops of toffee. The other option was a Belgian chocolate truffle mousse, which none of us took.

Overall...
Honestly? Disappointed.

The area was lovely. The hotel was lovely. The brasserie was lovely. The meal and experience itself? Eh...

Okay, the service was friendly. The waiters were all very nice, polite and helpful. But service was really slow! I will support the brasserie and point out that there were eight of us so if you went as a pair or with a smaller group you'd probably have a better time of it, but really there was no excuse for it to be that slow - I'd booked six weeks in advance so it wasn't like we surprised them and the restaurant wasn't even a quarter full. It took an hour for our starters to come out, and our meal that started at 1:30 didn't finish until 4:00. Okay, I did go out wanting a relaxed Sunday lunch, but the portions were much too small to have us take that long there!

I found the food disappointing as well. The food wasn't bad, it was just okay. There's nothing more detailed I can put about it really - it all seemed very ordinary to me, which I was disappointed by as I'd wanted to go the brasserie for such a long time. I didn't really feel like I got good value for money at all and as I left I was already contemplating where I could go for more food! 

I'd still recommend you visit - but not for the food, unfortunately. It's really a lovely little location and on a sunny day it would be perfect, but based on my experience I can't honestly recommend the food to you as I just don't think it offers the value. However, I would recommend you go there if you'd like a glass of wine with something light, or if you'd like cocktails! The food was disappointing to me so I wouldn't return for that, but the setting was great - I imagine a cocktail there or at the ajoining harbour bar & terrace would be lovely!

You can view and book the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie here. The food reviewed was part of their set menu of £30 for three courses and a prosecco, a main course from their regular a la carte menu averages around £25 and can be viewed online!


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