Where? Bluebird Chelsea- 350 King’s Rd, London SW3 5UU
With it’s cafe, courtyard, bar and restaurant, the newly decorated Bluebird could warrant a visit for every occasion; from birthday’s to brunches, from dusk till dawn… we’ll certainly be making our way through their food and drinks menu over the cosy winter months.
With a recent refurbishment fuelled by designs featuring Sagrada & Celia Birtwell at the end of September, the refined SW3 eatery has not only updated their look but has given their menu a sprucing using simple, fresh and honest dishes inspired by the best of Modern European cooking, made using the finest ingredients, at the hands of chef Liam Smith-Laing.
As a perfect spot to wind up (in our case) or to mellow down, we were susceptible and willing to try some of the small plates the bar had to offer. With tantalising flavours one of our favourite dishes had to have been the green olive and artichoke tapenade with croutons, which I likened to an olive pesto dip with a thinly sliced bruschetta aquaintance. The wholesomely sized crispy tiger prawns with aioli sauce were fought over with dignity, whilst a dusting of what appeared to be a paprika and chive, and a lemon helping on the side, gave the perfect amount of zing and zang. We ended nibbles with a dish we believe will be the most ordered on the bar menu- the fried baby squid, which came with layering’s of chilli, a smidgen of garlic and a side of lime to squeeze over. As somebody who used to grimace at the thought of squid and octopus, the thin rings were bite sized enough to halt any fears and cooked to perfection.
Not to allow the food to steal the limelight, it would be a travesty if we didn’t come back to the sheer beauty of this venue. Paying respects to it’s original heritage as the first garage of Bluebird Motor Company in 1923, it’s steel beams which stretch the ceiling to grand heights has been awoken with coatings of a terracotta and red hue. Frequented by some of the fashion houses finest and those every holidaying MIC’ers, you could be perturbed to visit, possibly believing your budget may not stretch but we must indulge that it’s affordable menu which includes early bird cocktail prices, suits small flutters and big time soarers alike! Liquorice Allsorts and Twiggy graphics adored the floors, together with a variety of chic and rather grand but suitably comfortable 60’s and 70’s chairs. The Bluebird was a mashup of colour, low lighting, background music and mid range chitter chatter and ultimately perfect for those first time meets or festive celebrations.
With seating around the bar, long tables for larger parties, booths, desks and smaller occupied tables, our weekend evening visit was brimming with sophistication, sleekness and cocktail seduction. Even if you’re not one for cocktails, the elegantly presented cocktails in floral bone china and quirky bird motif printed camp mugs, might make you lose your cool, as it made us for a brief moment. Embracing the garden and Chelsea theme Bar Manager Egzon Kastrati brought us our first round of decadently indulgent cocktails which came in the shape of the Tiffany Rose (which contained Lanique Rose petal vodka, creme de cassis, lime juice, fresh strawberries, sugar cane, topped with Moet & Chandon Rose Champagne) and the English Garden (which contained Square One Organic Vodka, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, elderflower syrup, fresh cucumber, fresh grapes and lemongrass topped with ginger beer.) Both were extremely refreshingly!
We chose to try Bluebird Passion (which contained infused hibiscus Stolyichnaya vodka, raspberry and peach puree, lemon juice, goji berry liqueur and was topped with sparkling wine,) whilst a curved ice cube presented dried fruit to delve into, as well as the Chelsea Flower (which contained Hendricks’s Gin, pomegranate liqueur, apple juice and fresh raspberries) and had berries and pretty petals afloat it. Definitely an extensive list of cocktails we’ll be praying to taste the sweet serendipity of at our next afternoon tea get together.
By Vanessa Carby