Stretching through the well-heeled districts of Chelsea and Fulham, The King’s Road is best known for being at the epicentre of London’s Swinging Sixties. Lined with chic fashion boutiques, it has done more than anywhere to elevate the city’s reputation as one of the world’s major fashion capitals.
Until recent times, however, the street was noticeable by the absence of top class restaurants. But as London’s foodie scene has caught up with its reputation for fashion, that has gradually changed. Today it is home to a diverse range of superb places to eat, from cheap neighbourhood bistros through to upscale gourmet eateries.
1. The World’s End Market
Once a non-descript pub, The World’s End Market is now a stylish dining space serving market-fresh meat and fish. We sampled some of the restaurant’s much-vaunted beef, sourced from a small Spanish farm and hailed by some as the best meat in the world. Certainly, the slow cooked ox tongue and steak tartare began to justify that billing, and once we’d tasted the top sirloin steak of premium ox we were officially on board. As for the venue, it simply oozes history and heritage. On the first floor there’s a cosy terrace and bar, but the pièce de résistance is the underground cocktail bar that transports you back to war-time Britain, its walls dotted with WWII paraphernalia and patrons required to don military style blazers as they nurse their drinks. It sums up this unique restaurant, which combines fantastic food, a lively atmosphere and bone fide originality.
459 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW10 0LR
Anyone who has sampled the Peruvian food served up in London in recent years will wonder how it took so long for the South American nation’s cuisine to take off over here. The truth is that Peru’s food renaissance has been a relatively recent phenomenon, but boy it was worth the wait. Chicama – named after a coastal town in Peru – is the Chelsea offshoot of Pachamama in Marylebone, with a seafood-heavy menu and deep Latin beats emanating from the sound system helping create a buzzing atmosphere. Be sure to sample the small plates, among which the seabass ceviche is perhaps the stand-out offering.
383 King’s Rd, Chelsea, SW10 0LP
In a former life this staple of the Chelsea restaurant scene was a magnificent art deco garage complex, but today is a multipurpose dining venue. Part of the highly regarded D&D London stable of restaurants. its menu offers a distinct nod towards the Mediterranean, with dishes including steak tartare, scallops and chorizo and baked black cod making a regular appearance. As well as the main dining area, there’s also a pretty café and courtyard. Weekend brunches, afternoon tea and seasonal menus are also available.
350 King’s Rd, Chelsea, SW3 5UU
4. The Ivy Chelsea
This Chelsea outpost of the iconic London restaurant is not quite as star-studded as the more famous Covent Garden original, but it is unquestionably one of the area’s finest upscale dining spots. In recent times the restaurant underwent a major revamp, now boasting lavish marble-flooring, a hotchpotch of conservatory furniture and upholstered leather, a verdant ceiling and potted trees. As for the menu, it veers more towards the brasserie-style than its prestigious sibling, with plenty of simple-but-classic crowd pleasers such as chicken milanese and steak and chips. But the food is only half the story here – it’s simply a delightful place to be.
195 -197 King’s Road, SW3 5EQ
The phrase ‘Farm to table’ may have become a bit of a cliché in foodie circles, but at Rabbit they go one step further by hailing themselves Chelsea’s first ‘wild food’ brasserie. With consumers caring more about the provenance of their food than ever before, this rustic King’s Road eatery places a firm emphasis on serving freshly farmed and foraged seasonal British food and wine, including wild meats such as wood pigeon and (of course) rabbit. As for what to order, just stick a pin in the menu and you can’t go wrong.
172 King’s Rd, Chelsea, SW3 4UP
Entering Kurobuta, it instantly strikes you as a venue more suited to edgy Soho than the genteel, upmarket environs of Chelsea. A hip atmosphere, no-frills Japanese grub and pumping indie music all contribute to an incongruous sense of misplacement. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter, because Kurobuta is loved by anyone with a taste for simple but delicious Japanese food and a healthy sense of fun. The bar at the front is a destination in itself, offering Asian beers, modish shooters, and oriental-inspired cocktails featuring saké and Midori. If you can’t get to the King’s Road branch, the original Kurobuta can be found in Marble Arch.
312 King’s Rd, Chelsea, SW3 5UH
7. Made in Italy
Naples is widely considered to be the birthplace of pizza, and the search for authentic Neapolitan-style pizza continues to consume pizza-lovers across the world. In London, there are a handful of pizzerias that lay claim to the authenticity of their creations, one of which can be found on The King’s Road, just along from the famous Saatchi Gallery. Small and always lively, Made in Italy uses hand-made dough, imported Italian ingredients and a wood-fired oven to craft their own mouth-watering pizzas. If you’ve been dragged along by a pizza-obsessed friend, there’s a range of pastas and salads on the menu too. When the weather’s warm, you might want to ask for a table on the pretty roof terrace overlooking the street.
249 King’s Rd, Chelsea, SW3 5EL