Posho soldier-turned-troubadour James Blunt may be anathema to some, but he’s a hit with the Chelsea set, having rescued one of the area’s prettiest Victorian pubs. The Fox & Pheasant is set in The Billings, an enclave of postcard-pretty cottages at Stamford Bridge, and exudes a homely neighbourhood vibe in spite of its premium postcode. It’s especially cosy in winter when its three fires are roaring in their grates.
Blunt has made few changes to the 1930s utilitarian interior – sensible, given its place on Campaign for Real Ale’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors – but he has built a smart new rear-courtyard dining room, complete with a living wall and retractable roof. It was packed and noisy, but still atmospheric when we visited, though we imagine it’s a different story on days when Chelsea is playing.
Whether you’re rocking up here for a boozy weekend brunch with friends or a Sunday roast when your folks are in town, expect to dine on posh, modern English pub grub that’s actually surprisingly good value for the location. The brunch offering is small – think eggs various ways and things on toast – but the all-day menu has plenty of variety.
Snacks and starters include the likes of Scotch eggs, pork belly tacos and chicken liver parfait while mains include dishes such as lamb and mint pie with mash, braised red cabbage and green beans, and sea bream served with cauliflower, dukkah grains and rocket. Vegetarians do get a look-in, though choices are mainly leaf-based.
Sweet-toothed diners will delight in the pudding selection, which includes sticky toffee pudding, blackberry soufflé and chocolate fondant. Naturally there’s a cheeseboard too. In the bijou saloon bar, sample Magic Rock gluten-free IPA among the draughts; sip an Amaretto Sour, Negroni or Passion Fruit Martini; and snack on truffle, mushroom and brie on toast as you enjoy the country pub vibes.