8-9 Blacklands Terrace, London SW3 2SP
020 7838 1082/www.fivefieldsrestaurant.com/
Who the hell does Taylor Bonnyman think he is? Chef/proprietor of The Five Fields just off the Sloane Sq end of the Kings Rd, had the gall to open his luxe fine dining restaurant last year without letting me know. I had thought my restaurant antennae were operating pretty well but Bonnyman, whose c.v. Includes the 2 Michelin star Corton in New York, and his head chef Marguerite Keogh, from Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, managed to slip right under my radar…
The restaurant is named after the 18th century Five Fields area of Chelsea. There aren’t any fields left thanks to Peter Jones et al but the rural link is tenuously sustained as the restaurant is supplied from Bonneyman’s parents’ kitchen garden in East Sussex. They are also Bonneyman’s main backers so let’s hope they can afford someone to do the digging.
The room feels French bourgeois with floral decorative patterns on the walls and suits the comfortably upholstered locals of a certain age who are spending £55 per head for three courses or £80 for a tasting menu. Her Ladyship and I mixed and matched from the tasting menu with some options being vegetarian but including pre-starters you might expect around eleven plates of food.
The pre-starters of a crab tartlet and some quince jelly on a bulgur wheat crisp were both intensely flavoured and very textural, setting a pattern for the meal to come-an impressive start.
A bowl of onion consommé tasted like a pure distillation of onion, simultaneously sweet and savoury.
Shellfish and potatoes-a wonderful seafood cream covered the fregola base.Smooth and rich-perfect for the clientele.
White asparagus is served with yoghurt and dehydrated capers. The flavour of the asparagus is offset by the lemon tang of the yoghurt.
Foie gras with tamarillo and passion fruit foam was described as fantastic by her Ladyship who is notoriously hard to please.
A crumbly goats cheese came with pickled carrot-a mix of crumble and crunch, with the rich flavour of the cheese cut through by the sweet pickled flavour of the carrot.
An apple and green shiso bonbon exploded in the mouth with the burst of citrus acting as a great palate cleanser.
Falafel with pomegranate was deliciously spicy.
Roasted morels came with some crisp kale and an onion custard-this dish was a surprise, the kind of plate I would expect somewhere like Granary Store.
Translucent Cornish cod was served with shavings of Perigord truffle-a dish that epitomises the restaurant-perfect and precise cooking with great ingredients.
For dessert we had a camarelised banana with a black olive guile-the salt of the olive contrasting with the sweetness of the banana, followed by a great chocolate mousse with a Muscat grape granita.
Our meal at The Five Fields was marked by an emphasis on textures and intensity of flavours, something that is sometimes is lost in the fine dining world. They don’t do a lunch sitting and are booked up 6 weeks in advance. If you are interested in fine dining you should go.
Gallery Mess Sloane Square
Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4RY
0207 730 8135/http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/gallerymess/
On a rainy May day tea for two at Gallery Mess, the restaurant and bar of the Saatchi Gallery, seemed like an exemplary idea. The room was warm, light and buzzing with the well heeled chit-chat of the Chelsea set who were either finishing lunch or about to embark upon some afternoon shenanigans. La Hedonista was reminiscing about the 70s and the girl punks who would sit on a wall roughly where Gallery Mess is playing with their pet rodents…
The Afternoon Tea offer at Gallery Mess is at three levels according to how greedy you are feeling. Tea and scones (£9.50) comes with clotted cream and strawberry jam; the Afternoon Tea (£11.50) adds in some mini sandwiches and the piece de resistance, The Pommery Champagne Afternoon Tea (£22.50) adds a glass of Pommery Brut Royal NV and some mini cakes.
To honour the punkettes we went for the champagne option. The Pommery is a lively number and has notes of toasted brioche and apple, setting us up for the sandwich selection.
There were mini bagels and lox, egg mayo on little finger rolls with half a boiled quail’s egg on top and then ‘proper’ cucumber sandwiches. The savouries were all well executed with little twists in presentation or taste that added value.
Freshly brewed Fresh mint and Earl Grey teas turned up at this point which was a good thing as we were out of fizz!
The next element in our tea-time odyssey were home made Raisin scones served warm with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
To finish off we wolfed down the mini cakes. The Frangipani cake was deliciously dense, almondy and eggy.
Rose macarons were gooey and just faintly perfumed. La Hedonista thought that the Chocolate cream and marshmallow Tea cakes were like Wagon Wheels but I couldn’t possibly comment. Finally some Turkish Delight. I’m not really a fan of Turkish Delight but this was mildly flavoured and pretty good.
If you are shopping in Sloane St or the the King’s Rd, are a refugee from the Chelsea Flower Show or hitting the art at the Saatchi then Gallery Mess is a really good tea option, it also has a strong cocktail list or if you want something more substantial a full restaurant menu. It’s a cool space, the service is efficient and friendly and you’ll even get a chance to revisit your inner punk!
Disclosure: The Hedonist was a guest of Gallery Mess
Gallery Mess Café/Bar Sloane Square
Duke of York’s HQ, Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, SW3 4RY
I love The Saatchi Gallery. It’s a great space for showing contemporary art and the Duke of York’s HQ retail area surrounding it has been tastefully developed creating its own little ‘Sloane quartier.’ But where to eat after a hard day at the coal face of cutting edge visual culture or … shopping? Sloane Square is renowned for places not to eat and Colbert is always busy so what about Gallery Mess Café/Bar which is the Saatchi’s in-house pit-stop?
Run by the “rhubarb’ food consultancy and situated in an attractively bright and airy space dotted with artworks, Gallery Mess offers more than the cafe/bar tag suggests with a full Modern European menu on offer along with the cocktails and cakes.
We started with a Platter of British Smoked Fish (£14) made up of Smoked mackerel rillette, potted shrimps, smoked salmon, creme fraiche and quails eggs accompanied by decent sourdough bread. This was pretty good with the potted shrimps and mackerel having good flavour and some of the salmon being of the very trendy beetroot cured variety. My only caveat would be size of the portion which wasn’t quite enough as a starter for two greedy people but would be fine for a light snack for one.
My luncheon companion, the fragrant Fiona from London Unattached, chose for her main course what she described as a ‘beautifully composed’ special of cod, broad beans, soft boiled egg and aioli. It was a gentle combination given a bit of bite with the aioli, but the fish was overdone, as it was in my choice of Pan Fried Hake, peperonata, black olive and confit shallot dressing (£18.75) which was potentially delicious.
Both dishes looked as if they had been sitting on the pass too long which was a shame as their is clearly some in the kitchen who can cook. Sides of chips and spinach (£3.50 each) were perfect.
We were drinking a bottle of 2011 Dopff au Moulin Pinot Blanc which had an apple blossom nose and notes of ripe pears and almonds. I’m a fan of Alsatian Pinot Blanc and this was light but with enough minerality to stand up to the aioli and peperonata.
For dessert Fiona had the Homemade chocolate truffles (£2.75) which were perfect with her coffee and I had the
Chocolate and Orange pudding (£6.50) which was the standout dish of the meal.
Normally I prefer my chocolate to be bitter but with a light orange sponge this lighter ganache was lovely.
Gallery Mess is a lovely space for shoppers, art hounds, lunching ladies and the local yummy mummies. The menu is flexible enough to make it an all day option and with a little more care with the service it could become a local destination.
The Hedonist was a guest of Gallery Mess