I used to regularly go to the previous incarnation, Cheyne Walk Brasserie, together with friends who lived over the river, me in North London, and this was the perfect middle ground location. We have so many great memories but the new incarnation is actually far superior in many ways.
Yes, we all love a restaurant with buzz and atmosphere but a lot of the time the food doesn’t live up to the hype. Not the case at No. Fifty Cheney, we went on a quiet Tuesday evening and the place was heaving but in a good way, when I say heaving, I mean it was full, but even so, you didn’t feel compressed in any way. The tables are spaced generously and the layout of the ground floor dining room, together with separate eating areas, mean that the guests are not just in one big soulless dining room. More importantly, people are here because it is local, the word has clearly got around about the splendid food.
Lets start with the location, a stone throw from the Kings Road on a sleepy side street with views to the river. So you can have a quick meander by the Thames either before or after dinner or lunch .
The interiors do not try too hard, but are decorated exactly as I would like my country home to look…if i had one! It literally feels as if you are in someone’s sumptuous house; this is by no means a modern or Instagram manufactured show piece.
The clientele are a mix of mature locals and the young Chelsea crowd. This is where I can imagine Prince Harry and Meghan coming if they went out for dinner. Whilst the restaurant is downstairs, lots more awaits upstairs. There is a lavish bar with a few bar stools, tables and chairs which then leads into a wonderfully comfortable and inviting drawing room. Tonight there was a group of beautifully attired ladies enjoying drinks. You can’t book upstairs (unless you are having an event) and that means that you can just pop in for afternoon tea, an aperitif or even a night cap. This will now be my ‘go to’ if I want to catch up with friends in a calm environment together with cosy sofas and beautiful views over the river.
Back to dinner, the menu is not overwhelming, yet caters for all, with a wide range of vegetarian, fish and meat options. Whilst we waited for our mains we tried the house Champagne which was deliciously cold and toasty. The service was friendly and personal. We had the same waitress all evening which makes a big difference, she was knowledgeable and passionate about her job and the restaurant.
We started with the chicken liver terrine and the cured salmon with avocado, both were absolutely delicious, the former was extraordinary, moist and flavoursome and it was the dish that I would return for. At £11.50 it was excellent value and a very good sized portion. My one recommendation would be to revisit the bread issue, we received a large (mostly empty) bread dish with one piece each, half toasted and a little dry.
The wine list is thorough but not scary, there is plenty of choice to suit all budgets and palates. What we really liked was that there were 6 whites, 6 reds and 4 rose wines available by the glass including a fabulously buttery and creamy Puligny Montrachet. This meant that we could try an array of wines and indeed my husband moved from white to red for his steak main course. I ordered the Halibut with soft leeks. I received a glorious slap of fish, perfectly cooked, seasoned beautifully and melt in the mouth tasty.
My husband ordered the steak which was the best we have been served in years, the broccoli and chips were plentiful in size and more than enough for two to share. My husband commented how crispy the chips were and how rare that was these days.
We started chatting to our neighbours, 4 mature locals. They were wonderfully funny company and we did notice that their service was not as quick as ours. They brought this up with the manager who dealt fantastically with them, he was actually polite and honest (a sea change for restaurant managers these days) and said that the restaurant was at 100% capacity and they were still aiming to perfect the service levels. They were taken seriously, not fobbed off and that goes a million miles in my book.
Despite being completely full we were tempted to try the hot chocolate fondant. It was sublime as was the cheese plate my husband ordered together with a port that was probably unnecessary but deliciously rich nonetheless.
Whilst my husband really enjoyed his Puligny Montrachet, I actually preferred the lighter Macon Villages and the Gavi di Gavi whilst my husband adored his very reasonable Rioja Reserva at £10 a glass.
This restaurant ticks all the boxes, wonderful food, inspiring ambience and the best people watching. It’s not a cheap night out but I don’t think you would go there expecting it to be either. You also have the feeling of being somewhere intimate and it feels like you are being spoilt. Perfect for a special occasion, client meeting or when you just want to feast on the most delicious food. We have been to similarly priced gastro-pubs in Chelsea but you will not feel anywhere near as special as you do at No. Fifty Cheyne.
If you a seasoned restaurant goer you really should try it.
Would I go back, yes! I already booked for the following Monday for a girls night and I could see two tables re-booking as they left, always a good sign.
50 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London SW3 5LR
We were invited to the restaurant but I have already booked to go back myself!