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The Chelsea Pig: An Amusingly Quirky and Truly Chelsea Public House

The Chelsea Pig has been a well-liked establishment since the end of the nineteenth century – albeit with different management. The most recent time I visited, back in 2009 (during my first outing with my current spouse), it was named The Pig’s Ear. Prince William and Kate Middleton were frequent visitors (Kate’s residence on Old Church Street, shared with her sister Pippa, was just a couple of doors down). The Chelsea Pig underwent a complete renovation in 2021, after a thorough makeover by renowned furniture designer, Timothy Oulton, venturing into the hospitality sector for the first time. My companion S and I went there on a warm June night and received a warm welcome from Ross, the friendly headwaiter, who escorted us to a cozy table in a corner.

It’s a cozy area – with only about a dozen tables – most of which are placed around the edges of the main pub room, adorned with some impressive crystal chandeliers, while the L-shaped stone bar sits at the center. Oulton’s redesign blends in seamlessly: it’s both eccentric and thought-provoking. Besides the remarkably large chandeliers, the standout feature is the large aquarium, housing an antique Russian diving suit and helmet along with various tropical fish (our kind waitress, Chloe, shared that there were plans to include piranhas, but the legal process was too complex). Another eye-catching detail of the decor is the four large flags (representing the royal banners of the home nations and the Kingdom of Ireland) serving as giant draught-excluders around the Pig’s entrances.

The design is very apt for Chelsea, particularly the section we are in – the heart of historic Chelsea, exuding a slightly quirky and affluent atmosphere. It is essentially a pub, but a very sophisticated one (I’m reluctant to use the term ‘gastropub’ as it’s so commonplace). It’s a place frequented by locals; indeed, the elegant and well-dressed diners we saw on our evening visit were a testament to that. There is an exclusive dining area upstairs – the Trophy Room, occupied by a group of bankers on our visit.

Ross and Chloe are both welcoming and attentive, and Ross expertly guided us through the menu, providing recommendations along the way. The menu is concise, yet offers a good variety, without overwhelming either me or S with choices, as often happens with extensive menus.

Based on Ross’ suggestions, we decided on our starters: cured halibut for me and beef featherblade raviolo for S. My halibut was presented in a fragrant blend of tiger’s milk and jasmine tea jelly, a subtly nuanced dish. The beef dish had a crunch from charred sweetcorn and a creamy sweetcorn velouté, adding texture that S greatly appreciated. For the main course, I selected the whole roasted zucchini. I had reservations about this dish initially, wondering if it would be satisfying enough, but my concerns were unfounded. It was beautifully plated, topped with manouri cheese, tabouleh, and basil sauce. It was a delightful and fulfilling dish. S thoroughly enjoyed her pink-cooked lamb breast, accompanied by a mix of spring vegetables, minted salsa verde, and mashed potatoes. We also shared a side of broccoli with a rich port and anchovy sauce, introducing new flavors to the vegetable that were a revelation to me.

By this point, we were both pleasantly satiated, but we convinced ourselves to share a peppermint crème brûlée because it sounded too tempting to resist. And it did not disappoint. Served with heavenly Valrhona chocolate ice cream and adorned with chocolate crumble, it was the perfect ending to a scrumptious evening.

For a truly ‘Chelsea’ pub experience, The Chelsea Pig is unparalleled. It embodies delightful eccentricity, elegance, and a refreshing irreverence, with top-tier dining and service.

The Chelsea Pig

Telephone: 020 302 60466

Email: [email protected]

35 Old Church Street, London SW3 5BS

thechelseapig.co.uk

 

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