London Begins at 40 Food Critic, James Clark visits Sloane Place a new place to dine in a very old part of London.
It is no secret that Chelsea’s high-end restaurants and cafes attract a wealthy crowd, and there’s a relative newcomer on Lower Sloane Street that is starting to get the attention it deserves.
Sloane Place is part of the 100-year-old Sloane Club. It was founded by Princess Helena. Today the club is a popular private members’ club with guests working, entertaining and relaxing after a day at work or shopping along Kings Road.
The Art-deco Basement Bar The Hideaway
As we walked into the Sloane Place hotel, just a four-minute walk from Sloane Square Station, it was not difficult to spot the sign pointing downstairs to The Hideaway bar. And if that wasn’t enough to fill us with confidence that we were heading in the right direction, we could also hear guitar player and singer Laura Williams, the evening’s entertainment. She has played alongside Rod Stewart.
We were greeted warmly at The Hideaway entrance and asked where we would like to sit. We had a quick glance around at the nicely lit and intimate looking venue and settled on the corner booth. It was directly across from Laura who was happily performing to the audience. Our seating also offered an excellent view of the cocktail making action behind the bar.
A gin menu was conveniently waiting for us at the table. I settled on a blood jasmine and rose gin with absinthe bitters and elderflower tonic, and my guest went for the sipsmith lemon drizzle gin with mint bitters, Mediterranean tonic, and lemon garnish. Both came in large gin glasses, with plenty of ice and a straw. As I was commenting that the all-round ambience was set for a great night one of the servers presented us with some fine-looking canapes. It was perfect timing on his part. They were delicious.
As 9pm approached we were given the option to have dinner where we were seated, but we decided to head upstairs and experience the Sloane Place Restaurant that was just at the top of the stairs that we had confidently made our way down earlier.
Sloane Place Restaurant
My first impression was one of pleasant surprise. The restaurant had a relaxed and casual feel to it. It is only fair to point out that I may have drawn that conclusion by comparing it to some of the more pretentious restaurants I have visited in Chelsea.
As we chatted with the very professional and welcoming server about the specials, we decided to order a bottle of the Picpoul de Pinet Domaine Morin from the former Languedoc province in France. In 2016, Languedoc joined with the region of Midi-Pyrénées and together they formed Occitanie. The wine was the least expensive on the menu, but it was nicely dry, unmistakably Mediterranean, and perfect for us.
I had heard some talk about the British and Javanese menu created by executive chef Bernhard Mayer (formerly of The Savoy and the Four Seasons on Park Lane) and assistant executive chef Maryono Maryono, and I was keen to discover what the excitement was about.
The menu was impressive, and I could not find anything on the starter menu that didn’t jump out at me. After a few minutes of reading from top to bottom two or three times, I ordered the yellowfin tuna fillet tataki with truffle dressing and wakame that was so fresh and flavoursome I would happily have eaten more. I am not implying that there wasn’t enough, it was just so good. My guest decided to go for the Devon crab with compressed cucumber, chilli-mayo salsa, and crispy tortilla, which she said was a light and tasty dish that complemented the wine perfectly.
For mains, we both opted for the native lobster and tiger prawn burger with mango-chilli relish, and avocado in a brioche bun. It came with fries. We don’t usually make the same selection, but it is the Sloane Place signature dish and although the rest of the menu looked good neither of us could resist it. It lived up to its grand expectations for the pair of us.
Instead of dessert we opted for a second bottle of the Picpoul de Pinet Domaine Morin which we enjoyed while chatting to the very professional and friendly server, despite him being 100 percent attentive with all the other guests. It’s an art form and interesting and impressive to watch.
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Sloane Place Music
Back in February, The Hideaway launched Sloane Sessions – fortnightly live music events, every other Thursday. We ended up booking to see Laura Williams because we had heard good things about her, and we were not disappointed. Mike Davies will be featuring at the next event on Thursday 31 March, between 7-9pm. Mike collaborated with the late Barry White and played alongside the likes of Leona Lewis, Ellie Goulding and many other well-known artists. For what’s coming up visit : https://www.sloaneplace.com/the-hideaway/sloane-sessions/
We were not staying in the hotel so didn’t get the opportunity to check out the upstairs bedrooms, but if what we experienced has anything to go by then a room on a B&B basis for £200 per night must be well worth it.
The Sloane Place is the new place to hang out in Chelsea. Be sure to check it out: www.sloaneplace.com.