★★★★| Gallery Mess
Gallery Mess is a restaurant that ticks all the boxes: location, food, service and atmosphere.
Situated right next to the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea on Kings Road, Gallery Mess is everything you would want and expect it to be. Overlooking the Saatchi Gallery lawn called The Green and the multi-million-pound townhouses on the other side, Gallery Mess is elegant and classy without being too expensive.
A friend and I dined there on a recent warm evening at 7 pm only to find the place buzzing. Since it was very warm that night, the outside tables were all full, but we were happy to sit inside to enjoy the cool ambience of the restaurant. And boy was it cool: white tablecloths, exposed red brick walls with white arches and vaulting ceilings, flowers (some fake) everywhere, plus interesting artwork as well (including a big shoe in the private dining room). But we were there for the food, and here’s how it went.
Tim the manager from Albania greeted us very warmly and showed us to our table. We let him decide what we were going to eat, and drink, and me and my dining companion said ‘bring it on’! To start off with we were given a very nice glass of Prosecco Brut (£8.50) a glass. And then the symphony of food started. The Heritage Tomato (basically a bruschetta) with grilled rosemary focaccia, anchovies and mozzarella was vey good and was nice size portion, but a little pricey at £10.50 as it was really nothing out of the ordinary. What was good was the English air-cured ham & celeriac remoulade (£10). The ham, with apple and truffle as well, was very tender and just perfectly salty and beautifully presented.
We weren’t too sure what we were getting as our main courses, and were pleasantly surprised when the chicken and the trout landed on our very white tablecloth. The Roast corn-fed Chicken Breast was a beautifully presented dish in a wonderful tarragon sauce which included mushrooms and spring greens. The four large slices of chicken were, of course, just chicken, but they were perfectly cooked and the onion bulbs in the sauce gave it the kick to push the meal up a level. Delicious, and at £16.50, a good value. But it was the Poached Sea Trout that was the star dish of the evening. A very large piece, yellow in color, in a mussel broth, with spinach and samphire, it was absolutely wonderful! I am not a trout lover at all, but this piece of trout has converted me. It was thick, and cooked perfectly, and is highly recommended, and at £17.50 – the best-tasting bargain that side of the river! We also had a side of the minted new potatoes, sprinkled with dill (£4) that were huge in portion and very very good. Other main course choices include Potato Gnocchi (£16), Confit Lamb Shoulder (£17.50) and surprisingly, Fish & Chips (£16) – all very affordable for such an expensive neighbourhood.
Tim expertly picked out the Via Nova Pinot Grigio to go with our dinner (only £5.75 a glass). The wine was tasty without tasting too winey, and absolutely complemented our meal. My dining companion liked it so much he asked for a second glass! It was an excellent choice as the restaurant has an excellent wine list selection, very comprehensive and inviting, and includes Spanish, French, Chile, South African and German selections, among others. And by the time we had finished our main courses, we knew, we just knew, that the desserts were going to be fantastic, and they were. The Creme Brulee (served with shortbread and raspberries) was just divine, and the seasonal berry fruit salad was ah so refreshing and topped with fruit sorbet, with the dish a very beautiful berry color…..ah so good, and nice to eat on that very warm night.
The seasonal menu and extensive bar selection is provided by award winning caterer and restaurant operator rhubarb, and they do a very good job of it. Their private dining room – The Mess Room – is available for private hire or seated dinners of up to 80 guests. This room is discreetly set back from the restaurant and offers an elegant, bespoke dining opportunity.
Gallery Mess has an international staff who will take care of your every need, they are very attentive and very well dressed – it’s service (and food) like this that is welcome. It was a theatrical experience of a gourmet three-course meal fit for an artistic delight. Very very reasonable prices in a very very nice setting.
To book call: +44 (0) 207 730 8135
Duke of York HQ
10:00am-11:30pm, Monday to Saturday
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.