The Artisan Bistro
Something I love about London is that there’s just so much of it. So many nooks and crannies, neighbourhoods and stretches, corners and creases, each one with its own flavour, attitude and vibe. As a result there’s always a new wedge of the city to explore. One neighbourhood that I have never really ventured into before is Chelsea. I associate it with blow-dried sloaney princesses, and I, with my four-day Batiste Bouffant and my Primark Pumps just don’t seem to be a natural match somehow.
However I’m always up for a new experience and, on Friday night He and I ventured West for date night. Our destination was The Artisan Bistro, an unassuming little neighbourhood eaterie which serves up some stunning Mediterranean inspired eats. The emphasis here is on the LOCAL. Everything is sourced locally, right down to the herbs growing in the garden and the artwork on the walls.
Nestling in with a huge glass of red (don’t you LOVE it when you get to drink wine out of those big BOWL like glasses) we had a chat with the manager (who was both lovely, and reassuringly passionate about the restaurant and the food), heard some of his recommendations and then ogled the menu. I am not exaggerating when I say literally everything sounded SO BUFF. Loads of great veggie options, and a strong emphasis on seafood, which I was well into.
We decided to share a couple of the small plates to start. You might think that sharing is a romantic thing to do on a date. I mean yeah, but really all we were bothered about was getting to eat more food. Fair? Fair. First up was a gorgeous plate of Boquerones (marinated fresh anchovies to you and me) which were like little taste-bombs of the sea. SO GOOD.
Then came the Caprese salad, which was a veritable rainbow of different tomatoes with a huge ball of the most creamy burrata atop them. Omg. Burrata though. Why have I not had burrata before? Actually probably because now I want it ALL THE BLOOMING TIME and well, I hear that eating a massive sphere of cheese and cream everyday isn’t that great for you. One of the world’s greatest injustices.
Next in line was a dish so damn dreamy that I am actually salivating about it whilst writing this. Lobster Mac and Cheese. Made with three different cheese. THRICE FROMAGE. My god. Sweet and creamy and cheesey and piping hot and MOTHER MAY I. Order this. But share it, because it’s richer than King Midas on payday. We teamed it with some truffle fries because when we were in Chelsea and we were going to eat Lobster and Truffle THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
After that (yep, there was more), we tucked into a Whole Baked John Dory. We so fancy. Whilst this was superbly theatrical when it arrived to the table, and beautifully baked with lime and ginger, it was just too delicate and subtle in flavour after the punchiness of the last course, so sadly faded into the background slightly. Perfect if you and your date want to share something light however.
After all that (and a couple more glasses of that delicious wine) I was stuffed. He, however, has a raging sweet tooth that will not be tamed, so happily attacked a fat little chocolate souffle. Okay okay fine I had a couple of spoonfuls as well jeeeeeeeeeeez don’t judge me because it was DELIGHTFUL.
I was thoroughly impressed with every little bit and bob of the evening’s food, even our garden salad was doused in the most beautiful homemade dressing. That, combined with attentive and knowledgeable staff and a relaxed environment made this one of the best restaurant visits I’ve been on in a while. He agreed. Well worth a visit if you venture way out west.
And not a Made In Chelsea star in sight.
We were guests of The Artisan Bistro, however, if I hadn’t have loved every single morsel that passed my lips I wouldn’t have written about it!