Stretching through the affluent districts of Chelsea and Fulham, The King’s Road was at the heart of London’s swinging ’60s. Here, more than anywhere, the city’s reputation as one of the world’s leading fashion capitals is enhanced by its fashion boutiques.
Until recently, however, the street was notable for its lack of top restaurants. But this has gradually changed as London’s food scene has caught up with its trendy reputation. Today, it’s home to a wide variety of superfood venues, from cheap neighbourhood bistros to upscale gourmet restaurants.
1 The World’s End Market
Once an unassuming bar, The World’s End Market is now a stylish dining space serving market fresh meat and fish. We sampled some of the restaurant’s acclaimed beef, which comes from a small farm in Spain and is hailed by some as the best meat in the world. Of course, the slow-cooked beef tongue and steak tartare were beginning to prove that claim, and once we tasted the prime beef sirloin, we were officially on the bandwagon. As for the venue, it simply exudes history and tradition. There’s a cosy terrace and bar on the ground floor, but the pièce de résistance is the subterranean cocktail bar, which takes you back to wartime Britain, its walls dotted with WWII memorabilia and its patrons are required to wear military-style suits while sipping their drinks. That sums up this unique restaurant, which combines fantastic food, a lively atmosphere and true originality.
459 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW10 0LR.
2. 2. Chicama
Anyone who has sampled the Peruvian food served in London in recent years will wonder how it’s taken so long for the South American country’s cuisine to take off here. In fact, the Peruvian food renaissance is a relatively new phenomenon, but boy is it worth the wait.Chicama – named after a coastal town in Peru – is the Chelsea branch of Pachamama in Marylebone, and the menu is seafood-heavy, with deep Latin rhythms emanating from the sound system helping to create a lively atmosphere. Be sure to try the small plates, with the sea bass sausage being perhaps the standout offering.
383 King’s Rd, Chelsea, SW10 0LP.
In its former life, this Chelsea restaurant was a grand Art Deco garage complex, but today it’s a multi-purpose dining venue. Part of the critically acclaimed D&D London stable, the menu pays clear homage to the Mediterranean, with dishes including steak tartare, scallops and Spanish sausages and grilled black cod making regular appearances. In addition to the main dining area, there’s a beautiful café and courtyard. Weekend brunch, afternoon tea and a seasonal menu are also available here.
350 King’s Rd, Chelsea, SW3 5UU.
4. Ivy Chelsea
This iconic London restaurant outpost in Chelsea isn’t as star-studded as the more famous Covent Garden, but it’s certainly one of the best fine dining venues in the area. It recently underwent a major makeover and now boasts sumptuous marble floors, conservatory furniture and cushioned leather, verdant ceilings and bonsai trees. As for the menu, it’s more brasserie-esque than its famous sister restaurant, with plenty of simple, classic dishes like chicken Milanese and steak and fries. But the food is only half the story; this is just a delightful place to be.
195-197 King’s Road, SW3 5EQ.
The phrase ‘farm to table’ may be a bit of a cliché in the food world, but at Rabbit, they’ve taken it a step further by claiming to be Chelsea’s first ‘wild food’ restaurant. With consumers caring more than ever about where their food comes from, the rustic Kings Road restaurant places a strong emphasis on serving farm-fresh and seasonal British food and wine, including wild meats like wood pigeon and (of course) rabbit. As for what to order, you can’t go wrong if you stick a pin in the menu.
172 King’s Rd, Chelsea, SW3 4UP.
Entering Kurobuta, you immediately feel like it’s more suited to the edgy Soho district than the posh surroundings of Chelsea. The hipster vibe, unadorned Japanese cuisine and stirring indie music all create a sense of incongruity and dislocation. But it doesn’t really matter, because Kurobuta is loved by anyone interested in simple, delicious Japanese food with a healthy dose of fun. The front bar is a destination in itself, serving Asian beers, stylish shooters and oriental-style cocktails featuring sake and midori. If you can’t make it to the King’s Road branch, you can find Kurobuta’s original location at Marble Arch.
312 King’s Rd, Chelsea, SW3 5UH.
7. Made in Italy
Naples is widely regarded as the birthplace of pizza, and the search for authentic Neapolitan-style pizza continues to consume pizza lovers all over the world. In London, there are several pizzerias known for the authenticity of their creations, one of which is located on The King’s Road, right next to the famous Saatchi Gallery. Small and lively, Made in Italy uses handmade dough, imported Italian ingredients and a wood-fired oven to create mouth-watering pizzas. If you’re dragged here by a pizza-obsessed friend, the menu also features a range of pastas and salads. In warmer weather, you might want to ask for a table on the beautiful rooftop terrace overlooking the street.
249 King’s Rd, Chelsea, SW3 5EL.