Lunch Chelsea way at Hans’ Bar & Grill, in 11 Cadogan Gardens

Today we’re heading into lovely Chelsea to the elegance that is 11 Cadogan Gardens. This beautiful boutique hotel set on a quiet Chelsea side street just minutes from Sloane Square offers the ultimate in luxury and comfort.

It’s made up of four converted Victorian houses, with plenty of nooks and crannies to discover, corridors to explore and rooms to relax in. And we’re heading straight to the stylishly modern and newly-opened restaurant Hans’ Bar & Grill.

11 Cadogan Square: Entrance

The stylish entrance to 11 Cadogan Gardens

It’s a light-filled and stylish space with a slanting glass roof and decor in restful shades of green.

11 Cadogan Gardens: Han's Bar & Grill

The wonderfully stylish space that is Han’s Bar & Grill

There’s a delightful range of dishes on offer. This beautiful plate of tuna tartare was paired with yuzu, wasabi and coriander, giving the mouth-wateringly tender fish a real zesty flavour.

11 Cadogan Gardens: Tuna tartare

Spicy tuna tartare that’s pretty as a picture

Today I went for something really different – the slow cooked duck egg with peas, barley and sherry. This vibrant bed of greenery was topped with the perfectly cooked yellow of the rich duck egg.

Never has a vegetarian starter tasted so indulgent, with its silky consistency, amazing textures and fabulous flavours. Peas are my favourite vegetables and I’d go back to Hans just to have this plate of perfect pea-ness again.

11 Cadogan Gardens: duck egg

A splash of yellow in a bed of green

As Hans is a grill we though we’d focus on that section of the menu. The 9oz rose veal cutlet was packed with flavour and amazingly tender.

11 Cadogan Gardens: veal cutlet

Tender and tasty rose veal cutlet

The substantial Barnsley chop (basically a double lamb chop) was also the height of tastiness. It’s hard to beat top quality meat that’s simply and perfectly grilled.

11 Cadogan Gardens: Barnsley chop

Luscious lamb in a Barnsley chop

There’s a delicious selection of sides available which pair beautifully with the meaty mains. Like these glossy peas cooked with bacon, baby onion and lettuce. I know, more peas – I do really love them and this was a fabulous dish.

11 Cadogan Gardens: peas

The perfect combo of peas, bacon and onion

The cauliflower cheese was given an extra kick with the addition of mustard for another lovely pairing.

11 Cadogan Gardens: cauliflower

Mustardy, cheesy cauliflower

Today we decided to go big and sample some of the delectable-sounding desserts. The record will show that most of the time I order pud it’s a panna cotta. Do love a panna cotta and today’s offering was buttermilk served topped with rhubarb and little bubbles of ginger beer gel.

A dessert that got a satisfied sigh with each mouthful.

11 Cadogan Gardens: panna cotta

The creamiest of dreamy panna cotta

And then there’s the salted caramel chocolate pot served topped with vanilla ice cream. Wow! The dessert of kings with crumbly little chocolatey bits to finish it off.

11 Cadogan Gardens: caramel chocolate

The yummiest of salted caramel chocolate

And here’s a the view of the lovely light-filled space across our delicious desserts.

11 Cadogan Gardens: dessert

Looking across pudding at the stylish space

After all that fabulous food I could certainly have done with a siesta – which is exactly what you can do if you’re lucky enough to be staying in the elegant hotel. The rooms are all unique and they’re spacious and plush with fabulous bathrooms. You’re certainly not going to want to check out from here!

11 Cadogan Gardens: room

The rooms exude elegance and comfort

There are plenty of areas around the warren of a hotel where you can relax or celebrate special occasions. This is the stunning Mirror Room, just perfect for parties and myriad instagramming opportunities.

11 Cadogan Gardens: Mirror room

The spectacular and sparkling mirror room

Or why not put your feet up in the library? How I wish I had one of these in my house.

11 Cadogan Gardens: library

Relax in the luxurious library

11 Cadogan Gardens is the ultimate refuge in the busy hub of Chelsea – you’re close to everything as well as being wrapped in their environment of serenity and style. And you’re gonna love the food, too.

Today’s price point

And finally…

Our three courses for two came to £94.

Wine starts from £5 a glass.

Hans’ Bar & Grill is in the luxurious 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

The hotel entrance is at 11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea

The restaurant entrance is at 164 Pavilion Road, Chelsea.

Classic Parisian at Colbert in Sloane Square

I used to spend quite a lot of time in Chelsea, years ago, when my sister lived off the King’s Road. One of our favourite meeting places was Oriel which was a minute from Sloane Square Station. Sadly Oriel closed down a while back – due to some local politics with the landlord I believe (some say he was served a bad meal and wouldn’t renew the lease). The place was always heaving so they really should have focussed more on keeping their landlord happy.

After a long wait and a refit it reopened in 2012 as Colbert. Corbin & King, the people behind the Wolseley and Delaunay (and Brasserie Zedel, one of my favourites) were the fortunate winners of what I can only imagine must have been a highly competitive tender. I mean this is the spot to have a restaurant, kind of on the edges of Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Chelsea.

Colbert says they are inspired by the great boulevard cafes of Paris and the feel of the place and the menu are very Parisian.

I love a chopped salad so couldn’t resist this one. Chopped chicken, avocado and bacon on crisp lettuce with an amazing dressing. All ingredients perfectly prepared. This is one heavenly salad.

chopped chicken

The joy of a perfect chopped salad

All the dishes in the salad section is extremely tempting – I could eat them all. This pretty plate of food was made with fresh artichokes, herbs, warm potatoes and a lovely dressing. A real treat to have fresh artichokes which are just too much of a palaver to prepare yourself.

artichokes

Fresh artichokes to savour

And how’s this for a classic French dish. Confit de canard served with frisee. The duck was beautifully crisp on the outside and melted in the mouth, its richness perfectly offset by the light and fresh frisee and a wonderful mustard dressing.

duck

A classic dish done to perfection

And here’s another classic…steak tartare. Served finely minced with a vibrant orange egg yolk on top and a green salad on the side.

tartare

A deliciously meaty treat

Colbert is open all day and you can pop in for a drink as well as a meal. It is an extremely busy place with a great atmosphere and some of the most welcoming service I’ve recently had in London. So book, as you may well be disappointed if you’re hoping to grab a spontaneous table. And that wouldn’t be good!

colbert-sloane-square

A little bit of Paris in Sloane Square

Square Meal

Colbert is at 50-52 Sloane Square about a minute from Sloane Square tube station.

Happy 50th birthday Benihana

So Benihana is 50 years old and we went along to their swish Chelsea establishment to celebrate.

Things have seriously boomed since Benihana founder Hirokai “Rocky” Aoki opened his first restaurant  in NYC in 1964. Then he had four tables, now there are 120 global locations. Rocky’s ethos was to create a fun eating experience, and Benihana certainly gives you that that. He was the pioneer of teppan-yaki where your dinner is cooked in front of you on a hot, hot plate while your chef performs all sorts of dazzling tricks.

Ours made volcanoes and spelled I love you with onions; set [controlled] fire to various vegetables, flipped eggs into his chef’s hat with his spatula and cut all manner of ingredients up with impressive speed and dexterity, all while juggling with the sharpest of cleavers and knifes. He swore he had never injured himself in the name of Teppan!

As well as a fun night out, the food’s certainly up to scratch. The restaurant uses quality ingredients and as it’s all cooked quickly in front of your eyes, you’re sure to have crunchy veg, hot pancakes and tender steak done just the way you like it. They are famous for their ginger and mustard sauces, made to secret recipes and totally delicious. Of course, no Japanese restaurant would be complete without a comprehensive sushi range and Benihana doesn’t disappoint.

The good news is that for the 50th birthday year, there are special offers to tempt you in. The Keiko menu is named after CEO Keiko Ono Aoki (Rocky’s widow who took over when he died). You’ll get nine courses for £30 including a plum wine cocktail and a glass of wine.

You can also tuck into a tasty Beni platter lunch for a mere £5 or a £50 eight course dinner for two.

Here’s a selection of what’s on offer.

The beautiful starter on the Keiko menu

The beautiful starter on the Keiko men

Tuck into crunchy spider rolls

Tuck into crunchy spider rolls

Benihana's famous onion soup

Benihana’s famous onion soup

Delicious Hibachi salmon with noodles and asparagus

Delicious Hibachi salmon with noodles and asparagus

Wonderfully flavoursome steak cooked to perfection in front of you

Wonderfully flavoursome steak cooked to perfection in front of you

Plenty of fire and smoke to entertain

Plenty of fire and smoke to entertain

Say it with onions and feel the love

Say it with onions and feel the love

Benihana Chelsea is a class act. It’s stylishly decorated, offers great entertainment and tasty food. Oh, and it’s supposedly frequented by Prince Harry, David Beckham and Brad Pitt when they are in town. Brad’s happy to make an entrance like everyone else but Harry and DB get smuggled down the back stairs! Well, if it’s good enough for them…and gives me a reason to put a picture of DB on my blog, too…enjoy!

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Yummy!

You’ll find Benihana at 77 Kings Road, Chelsea and 37 Sackville Street, Piccadilly
Square Meal

A day in London’s chocolate heaven

Need something different to do this weekend? How about a Chocolate Ecstasy tour of our beautiful city, where you can eat chocolate for hours while ambling through some of the most stylish parts of London. I did the Chelsea tour which started in Pimlico, near Sloane Square tube station and finished near Victoria.

The tour is the brainchild of Jennifer Earle, who was also our charming and knowledgeable guide for the day, and starts at William Curley in Ebury Street, Pimlico. There’s masses of chocolate to choose from including Curley’s take on favourite childhood bars – the Nostalgia range – and some mouthwatering pastries.

Cabinets full of chocolates greet you

From there we meandered through the genteel neighbourhoods of Pimlico, Chelsea and Belgravia, with their grand squares, quirky shops and dream houses. The tour also takes you right past the house where Mozart composed his first symphony, aged eight.

The next stop  was Rococo in Motcombe Street, where we were taught how to taste chocolate  and learnt about the history and production of cocoa and chocolate.

A beautiful shop packed with irresistible goodies

When you’re in Rococo you feel like it’s your birthday and someone’s bought you hundreds of presents!

Then it’s a short amble to Pierre Hermes in Lowndes Street where, as well as a spectacular array of chocolates, you’ll find macaroon heaven including some slightly unusual (but delicious) combinations like caramelised fennel and lemon. One of the most visually stunning shops I’ve ever been in.

Macaron heaven in tantalising colours and flavours

The tour finished at Hotel Chocolat in Victoria Street; another cornucopia of chocolate wonder where you’ll find the perfect gift for anyone, especially those with a penchant for something hot…how about cocoa and chilli olive oil, chilli and chocolate Mexican mole sauce, chilli and cocoa glaze for fish or seasoned cocoa glaze for red meat?

Packages of chocolate to delight

And you can cook with it. Chocolate and chilli glaze anyone?

This tour uncovers chocolate in its most exquisite art form. The visual impact, and creatively conceived flavours, made the experience exciting, inspiring and, of course, delicious! For one day it felt like the streets of south-west London were paved with chocolate…an unmissable experience for chocaholics everywhere!

To find out more and book your own tour visit www.chocolateecstasytours.com