The much-anticipated No. Fifty Cheyne in London is now open after a complete rebuild, masterminded by Sally Greene (founder and director of the Old Vic and proprietor of Ronnie Scott’s). Sabi Phagura recently went along to the ground-floor restaurant during their soft launch.
Although I was warned there may be a few finishing touches to be done, there was nothing I could fault. The only thing that needed completing was the first-floor cocktail bar and drawing room, which has since opened. No. Fifty Cheyne has undergone a complete makeover of what used to be the Cheyne Walk Brasserie. The design is by Lambert and Brown, and the restaurant offers comfort, privacy and intimacy all in one. The space has a feel of a drawing room that you would find in a Chelsea dwelling.
Think chandeliers, high ceilings, wall lamps, thick curtains and lots of cushions. And while there is seating for around 60 diners, it doesn’t feel cramped at all. In fact, Natalie and I commented on feeling like we were at a friend’s house rather than a London eatery. The open grill area in the middle of the room is the only thing that gives this away, a feature which sits nicely within the setting.
With a crisp glass of champagne in hand, we mulled through the menu which boasts classic dishes like smoked salmon, chicken liver terrine, beef consommé and white and brown crab. The mains consist of lamb, lobster, chicken, beef and fish, so it’s perfect for meat eaters. It’s not often I pass on scallops if offered as a starter, but the salad of beetroot, heritage carrots, pickled apple and pears with cashew nut cream was too inviting to ignore. And it didn’t disappoint – it was well executed and quite frankly I could have had this as a main.
But I couldn’t stick to the veggie option for the main and opted for the dish of the day – seabass with a citrus orange, lemon and honey dressing. In fact, we were so wowed by the sound of it, that Natalie and I both had the same dish. To accompany it, we simply couldn’t pass on the beef fat chips. These were four gigantic chips literally made to perfection – crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. They were simply divine and was like a meal in itself.
The steamed spinach and the grilled broccoli with garlic dressing were cooked to perfection and felt more like a naughty treat than healthy side dishes. Worthy compliments to head chef, Iain Smith.
It was hard to resist dessert, so we decided to share two. These were namely caramelised puff pastry with poached rhubarb and ripple Chantilly, and the hot chocolate fondant which arrived with salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream. This certainly filled the tiny gaps we had in our belly, and the former pink concoction was both beautifully presented and scrumptious.
I love a glass or two of vino with dinner, but I tend to stick to only wines that I like. However, the sommelier was on hand to pick the wines for us, suited to the dishes we had chosen. I was so impressed with his choices, that I may be a little more inclined to be adventurous in the future.
As mentioned, the first-floor cocktail bar wasn’t quite finished during our visit, but the staff were kind enough for us to take a sneak preview of it. The intimate space will be a great place to hang out in with a group of friends or to enjoy a romantic drink, all the while consuming the great views over both Cheyne Gardens and the Thames. I look forward to returning there soon now that it’s open.
It’s a shame I don’t live any closer as it would definitely be high on my list to be my regular place to hang out. No. Fifty Cheyne is undoubtedly a fine house by the river that knows how to do good British food, while still being effortlessly chic.
No. Fifty Cheyne – Where and How?
No. Fifty Cheyne is a 15-minute walk away from Sloane Square tube station and can be found at 50 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London SW3 5LR, United Kingdom. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit https://fiftycheyne.com or e-mail email@example.com.