Zip-a-dee-doo-dah | Bluebird, King’s Road, Chelsea, London
With the billions of new launches and food trends, it was refreshing news to hear that Bluebird in Chelsea has reopened after a £2m refurbishment. Yes, TWO MILLION – if only we could spend a fraction of that on doing up our house. It’s not very often we trek over to SW3, in fact all the restaurants that we’ve visited in that neck of the woods are pretty much next to each other – the Big Easy and Tommi’s.
We came along as part of a press preview in a large group but we still got a good feel of the place and almost felt that we were alone at times as our table was so vast. It’s an iconic building – our eyes were darting around all over the place taking it all in. Beautiful and varied lights sparkled creating an intimate and cosy atmosphere despite the restaurant’s vast size.
But don’t worry chaps, it’s not all girly – huge steel beams give this grade II listed Art Deco building a reassuringly strong feel. It really is something – not just a restaurant and bar but a whole destination with a shop, terrace, courtyard cafe, food store, bakery, wine cellar – amazing. And for those that don’t know, Bluebird was once the first garage of the Bluebird Motor Company, way back in 1923.
Another refreshing find were the comfy seats – custom-made velvet and leather-backed chairs from Celia Birtwell no less. We started to worry about how we’d be able to prise ourselves out of them by the end of the evening. Thanks to the high vaulted ceilings the acoustics were great too, although the restaurant was busy, it didn’t sound busy – you could hold a conversation without having to shout at each other.
Liam Smith-Laing, previously of Pétrus, Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s and Marcus Wareing at The Savoy Grill is the new head chef and his menu reads well – very well. We sat and stared at it for quite some time although it wasn’t very lengthy, it was jam-packed with enticing dishes – everyone a potential winner. Luckily, as we were part of a group we shared a selection of starters. The dishes that stood out for us were the Fried baby squid, chilli and lime (£6.50), gigantic juicy Crispy tiger prawns, aioli (£11) and Queen scallops, chorizo and apple, breadcrumbs (£12) although the scallops were teeny-tiny.
We each stuck to one main dish each – sharing over. Very unlike me, I was overwhelmingly drawn to the Charred cornish mackerel, borlotti beans and pancetta (£16). I didn’t think I liked mackerel until recently when I had it at The Table Café. It was everything I wanted and everything I need – so autumnal, soothing and perfectly cooked.
Ade’s a huge lamb fan so went for the Welsh lamb rump, merguez and bulgar (£19.50), I was just pleased he was having some grains, he never goes for grains. He must have uttered the words ‘this lamb is so good’ about four times when eating it so I reckon he liked it a lot.
Dessert time and back to sharing. I missed out on taking photos as we were too busy chatting but we didn’t miss out on eating them – that’s the important part. Although somehow I didn’t spot the Crème brûlée (£7.75) which is one of my all-time favourite desserts. The Muscat granite tropical fruit salad with coconut sorbet (£7.50) was lovely and ideal if you’re gut-bustingly full, which we were. Make sure you’re not though as the Chocolate fondant (£8.25) with malt ice cream, salted caramel and hazelnuts is well worth saving space for.
Yes, this is the King’s Road and yes, there was a small child in a waistcoat at the table next to us. But we felt right at home and we didn’t put a single bad fork full of food in our mouths. Not bad prices either, this is one of those restaurants that ticks all the boxes and they’re not too posh to not include happy hour either – check this out. They call it early bird but we know it’s happy hour really.