Gallery Mess reviews
Very busy Monday lunchtime, staff were friendly and attentive. We ordered smoked salmon marinated in gin, a well done leafy salad (a simple dish which can often be hit and miss) with artisan bread and delicious salt free butter.....plus a glass of Pommery Brut, delicious! There is a special lunchtime menu which we did not try but it looked tasty...all in all in a pleasant unpretentious place to drop by for a light lunch. Bright and airy and if you can get a table (usually for 2 only) by the bar it is a little more private, the dining tables are quite close but it did not feel too intrusive. I am sure when the whether is warmer the large outdoor eating area/terrace next to the gallery is equally as enjoyable.....
I went to the Gallery Mess for lunch last weekend following a trip to the Saatchi Gallery. The terrace caught my attention as I walked by which was delightful with a great view of the park - it helps that it was a glorious day. The food was scrummy and I ordered a chicken salad with quinoa whilst my friend had the sea bass with creamy leeks and puy lentils. Would definitely go back again and probably order a dessert - the couple sitting next to me seemed to be enjoying theirs.
Part restaurant, part art space, the Gallery Mess resides in a beautifully constructed listed building that's attached to the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. And whether you’re visiting the gallery or not, it’s well worth a visit.
As you might expect given its connection to one of the capital’s most dynamic art galleries, attention to visual detail is meticulously abided by at this light and airy venue. Natural light floods in through expansive glass windows, it has gaping, arched ceilings, exposed brick arches, and artworks are peppered throughout: from iconic neon Buddha signs to oversized glass sculptures of heads and giant-size shoes to pieces of framed art from up and coming artists, it’s a visual treat for the eyes. There’s an additional dining room lined with all manner of bits of contemporary art but this is only used for dining when they need the extra covers.
Due to the propensity of glass and high ceilings, noise levels can reverberate a little, but the gentle light from the Victorian-esque street lamps suspended overhead and the pretty blossom trees in bulbous pots help keep things cosy. Service is slick without being overly in your face.
Food is served all-day and you can imagine it being rammed at lunchtime and for afternoon tea. In the evening it turns into a destination of sorts, and a healthy smattering of customers, both well-to-do locals and visitors to the area, settle in for dinner and drinks.
A company called Rhubarb, who also look after the excellent Elgar Room at the Albert Hall, are responsible for the catering and this results in a very good standard of food. One of the starters, a huge hunk of fresh-as-a-daisy mozzarella served on top of a bed of pulped, smoky aubergine, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, is truly exceptional. The addition of an intensely sweet peperonata sauce only serves to ram home its deliciousness. Alternatively, a generous portion of deep fried salt and pepper squid is fine if a little pedestrian in comparison.
Most people seem to opt for the ribeye steak or a burger for mains, but the pan-fried sea bass (£18.50) with its crispy skin and flaky white meat, served with creamed leeks, chalky puy lentils and tart baby plum tomatoes, is a good alternative. Add a side of buttery new potatoes (£3.50) and you’ve got one very enjoyable plate of food, albeit one with a fairly robust price tag. Desserts include a respectable apple tart tatin with crème anglaise (£6.50) and a mound of naughty chewy meringue containing a gooey rhubarb filling.
Glasses of Argeo Prosecco (£6.75, 125 ml) and Pommery Champagne (£9.50) are popular as aperitifs and wines include a very drinkable house white - Lalande Comte Tolosan Colombard (£19 a bottle). Premium spirits, bottled beers and a short list of cocktails also keep punters topped up. Naturally, an extensive range of teas, coffees and fruit juices are on hand throughout the day.
The Last Word
An easy-on-the-eye space loaded with art and good food and drink, the Gallery Mess is more than just a cafe attached to a gallery - it's a commendable space in its own right.
I have recently visited Gallery Mess with my boyfriend and I have been really happy with the experience.
The food is great, it is classic but every dish has a little twist to it which makes it unique to this restaurant. Like the octopus carpaccio that I had: I have not seen one on any menu before and it was delicious! They have really wide selection of dishes too.
I also loved the setting: the interior is really pleasant due to all the artwork displays and the nice, kind of vintage design (I loved the walls made of exposed bricks!). I was also lucky to be visiting recently so the weather was already warm and lovely so after the meal we moved to the terrace for a glass of wine. It is so pretty and the surroundings are just what I like on a lazy Saturday afternoon: lots of green, a bit further from the main road but still very much participating in the buzz of the high street.
The service could have been a little bit faster indeed and they don't have breakfast menu (which is a shame as I live in the area and was planning to return next day to have breakfast before shopping ;)) but overall it is a very nice place and I will definitely be coming back/recommending to my friends!
I went to the Gallery Mess for Afternoon tea a few weeks ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The loose leaf teas were delicious (and they came in glass tea pots, which I thought were very cute), and the cakes were very tasty too. The service could have been faster, but overall I wasn't disappointed.
Very unimpressed. Food was very bland. Poor service. Manager floats around doing absolutely nothing and our waiter, Daniel, really seemed to think he was something. Hilarious that he still does this for a living in his fifties!