This King's Road spin-off from E&O, formerly known as Eight Over Eight, has been re-launched and given the name that it should always have been called: E&O Chelsea. And judging by the full house on our Friday night visit, the restaurant that first made its name in Notting Hill is just as much at home now it’s also made in Chelsea.
A light refurb has kept the old layout of a bar at the front and a dining room behind; both benefit from wraparound windows that fill the space with light, though the lack of soft furnishings combined with a throbbing soundtrack and a Chelsea clientele out for a good time made for ear-splitting acoustics; weekend lunches are more peaceful.
The menu of sharing plates sticks to the tried, tested and trusted formula that has seduced fashionable west London since 2001. Meaty little spare ribs with a deliciously sweet black bean sauce; wobbly cubes of tofu imprinted with sesame seeds, stalks of mooli sprouting in-between; chicken daubed with a thick paste of pink onions; pleasingly greasy beef noodles – the greatest hits of Far Eastern cooking are all present and correct, alongside the dish that made E&O famous in the first place: a duck and watermelon salad with more mint leaves than a Mojito.
If there are criticisms, we found the small plates were almost too small to share, the onslaught of intensely savoury flavours is far from subtle, and premium ingredients sometimes seemed used for affect rather than flavour; there’s little point paying £35 for a tiny plate of wagyu beef if all you can taste is truffle.
But locals at this end of Chelsea are a loyal bunch who don’t like to stray too far up the King’s Road if they can help it. And in E&O Chelsea, they have a neighbourhood pan-Asian that ticks all the boxes for well-heeled diners and also gives them somewhere to have a nicely crafted cocktail once they’ve finished eating.