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Food & Drink Life

Stanleys of Chelsea

  • November 19, 2023
  • 4 min read
Stanleys of Chelsea

by Philip Ashby Rudd

Tucked away just off The King’s Road, where Sydney Street intersects, you’ll discover a charming courtyard discreetly nestled behind a flower stall and a restaurant known too few but the Chelsea set. Amidst vibrant blossoms and graceful crane sculptures, reminiscent of Annabel’s in its prime, you’ll encounter a floral spectacle and a eatery that complements the owner’s ambition to establish it as a hub of the King’s Road.

The restaurant bears the name of 28-year-old Hugh Stanley who looks to attract residents of SW3. Stanley’s holds personal meaning for this young entrepreneur. His journey began in his teenage years, organising parties at the iconic Tonteria in Sloane Square while attending Stowe School. Following that, he honed his skills during an apprenticeship at Tramps and later managed The Sydney Arms, known as London’s unofficial horse racing pub—a fitting choice, given the fact his parents and uncle, the Earl of Derby, bred racehorses and are heavily involved in the sport in the UK. Despite hailing from a family with a significant presence in horse racing, it is clear that Hugh is determined to establish his independence in the restaurant industry and is clearly succeeding! The atmosphere at Stanley’s is friendly and as you step into the courtyard, warm greetings are exchanged with staff and customers alike. Seated outside under a canopy of flowers, it’s clear that this locale has become a favoured meeting place for Chelsea’s social circles. Nearby conversations buzz with enthusiasm as fellow diners eagerly share their thoughts on the delicious dishes, whether it’s the potatoes or the pork, introducing their friends to this charming hideaway.

The menu holds promise and is examined with enthusiasm. The wine list strikes a note—no need for an extensive selection when ten exceptional choices suffice. Take notice of the outstanding Macon Villages, Domaine de la Denante, available at £42 or by the glass for £13.

Chef Thomas Kalkus, has breathed new life into a traditional British seasonal menu. His contemporary twists often leave diners impressed. To the ‘Chelsea smart set’ in the vicinity, it is clear his culinary skills shine through. Achieving potato perfection every time is more than a talent; it’s a culinary art.

Our waiter, David, presented us with a delightful Stanley’s Elderflower Collins cocktail, which also offers a virgin version at £12. As we savoured the lemony notes, our ‘small plates’ arrived at the table. These included Islington Saucisson with caperberries and mustard pickle for £10, British Burrata with beetroot, chicory, sour cherry vinaigrette, and buckwheat at £14, and Cornish Mackerel with kohlrabi remoulade, green apple, and pine nuts, also priced at £14.

It’s evident that careful thought has gone into crafting the menu; seasonality, freshness, and adaptability as the year unfolds. For mains, the options include Gloucester Old Spot pork with Hispi cabbage, butter sauce, and mustard pickle for £28, or Scottish Pollock with sweetcorn velouté, spinach, and peas at £26. Additionally, enticing choices like Black Bream and Hereford Rib Eye beckon. Notably, the sides of runner beans and Agria potatoes with green garlic are cooked to perfection and have earned the neighbouring table’s weekly pilgrimages to Stanleys, priced at £6 each.

Dessert lovers will find delight in the somewhat limited yet undeniably delightful choices. The Choux Bun with apple curd, raspberry and Westcombe ricotta ice cream, priced at £10, is a winning pastry, leaving just enough room for a soothing herbal tea or a strong coffee to awaken the senses.

Stanley’s stands as a Chelsea gathering spot, is efficient and has an inviting atmosphere. Savouring that eye-opening coffee and experiencing an unforgettable dining journey, you’ll crave another sip and want to return for more. Being here, amidst the trend setters and lively crowds of Chelsea, allows you feel like an integral part of it. Don’t wait too long to make your reservation and savour the experience for yourself!

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Philip Ashby Rudd

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