Cool, contemporary interiors and a Chelsea location might deter curious first-timers from making the journey to Elystan Street, but make no mistake: this is an address to remember. Charismatic staff immediately put diners at ease with the warmth of their welcome and help set the tone for a meal of comforting, familiar flavours with surprisingly innovative undertones.
The attitude of ‘nothing is too much’ isn’t unusual at this level of dining, but here personality – both in the team and on the plate – seems to be fostered and championed for a coupling of two of our favourite things: luxury and a light touch.
Owners Philip Howard and Rebecca Mascarenhas’ years of experience on the restaurant scene with the likes of The Square, Sonny’s and Kitchen W8 shines through in the menu which pushes things just far enough to be interesting while retaining recognisable combinations.
To begin, mellow veg is paired with a smooth cashew nut hummus dressed in a robustly savoury curry oil and presented in a graphic, colourful style. Mains, meanwhile, bring one of the restaurant’s signature dishes (the brief removal of which from the menu prompted the most complaints Elystan Street had ever received) in a decadent twice-baked cheese soufflé. This puffed up, golden quivering cloud comes accompanied by melty leeks, button mushrooms and truffle and is a lesson in all-out indulgence.
Elsewhere a dish which essentially equates to chicken and mash was a masterclass in elevating humble ingredients through precise handling. Buttery potatoes, intensely flavoured crispy chicken skin and a wonderfully robust sauce made for easy, euphoric eating.
There’s a line-up of seasonal sweets on offer, although one combination has stood the test of time whatever the weather. Chocolate, peanuts and caramel are combined in a bar akin to a very, very posh Snickers and served with hazelnut ice cream for an end to your meal that we’d imagine few could find fault with.
Prices are in line with the restaurant’s Chelsea address, with mains clocking in at around the £30 mark, but the quality of the food combined with a well-rounded drinks list, the upbeat service and the Scandi-style dining room with dusty blue chairs, low hanging lights and bistro muslin curtains alleviates any concerns that it might not be worth the splurge.