While Made in Chelsea hasn’t done much to dispel the myth that this is an area of London that glories in pomp, Bluebird Chelsea turns things on its head with friendly accessibility.
Bluebird is located on London’s iconic King’s Road and even among the fancy boutiques and designer clothing stores, it makes its presence felt. The huge space is set back from the street with some pretty roadside seating for alfresco dining on those rare warm London evenings. Bluebird is more of a complex than a restaurant, with a low-key café, wine shop, deli and restaurant surrounding the central courtyard. It can be a little confusing at first but head up the stairs in the left hand corner and you’ll find the main bar and restaurant.
The restaurant itself is spacious, and glamorous without being ostentatious. A large island bar sits in the middle of the entryway surrounded by lounge seating for a pre-dinner tipple, opening out into the main dining room. The red and maroon colour scheme is cosy and is kept upmarket by flashes of elegant white. Seating is a mix of intimate booth-like areas, traditional tables and chairs set around white tablecloth-covered tables, and leather sofa-style seating, all working together to create an eclectic feel that isn’t schizophrenic. However, it’s the large glass windows overlooking the pretty, famous road that really sells it.
The thing that really sets Bluebird apart from many venues round here is the incredibly friendly staff whom are friendly, while still maintaining a professional air. From the charming sommelier to the pretty cocktail waitresses, you are made to feel well looked after – something often lacking in this neck of the woods. Although the clientele are mostly well-heeled west Londoners, they too seem relaxed and you won’t feel awkward about asking questions about the menu.
Given the setting and the quality of the menu, if you order smartly the food at Bluebird won’t have you running to call the bank manager for an extension on your overdraft. They also go the extra mile with a theatrical element to many of the dishes.
For starters (£7-£17.50) the steak tartare (£13.50) is worth every penny. Made from quality Galloway fillet, the dish arrives at your table on a trolley as the waiter asks you how you’d like it mixed. They then proceed to put the dish together in front of you. It’s a very nice – and very French – touch, echoing just how they do it over the Channel. And the result is delicious with a silky-smooth consistency and a rich flavour from the egg. Although the beef, as a fillet, isn’t intensely flavoursome, the mix of spices works incredibly well to create an impacting dish.
Alternatively, the fois gras ballotine (£15) is another delight. Although the price is at the higher end of the starter scale, the huge piece of creamy, rich foie gras is incredibly good value for money. It arrives with other bold flavours courtesy of the onion marmalade, truffle dressing and brioche, all of which go towards creating a really good dish.
Main courses continue to delight. For great date food the whole turbot for 2 people (£45) is really worth it. Again, the theatre is there, as the beautiful fresh fish is filleted in front of you and served up with a rustic appeal that makes the mouth water. It comes with fresh spinach, soft Charlotte potatoes and a tangy béarnaise. And it's delightful.
If you have the room, the banoffee sundae (£6.50) is sure to make you feel wonderfully sick, arriving in a large glass filled with a fresh, light banana sorbet mixed with caramelised banana and toasted almonds for texture.
The wine selection is well balanced across varieties and price points. Bottles come in between £21.50 and £189 and there’s a great choice by the glass if you want to try something a little more expensive but don’t want to max out the credit card. They have also decided to break with dull tradition and, alongside the same-old, same-old French and Italian bottles, have included some unusual but excellent wine producing countries such as Lebanon, which tend to offer more bang for your buck.
The Last Word
There are plenty of great restaurants along the King's Road but if you want the whole package, Bluebird still has it.