Chelsea Green has seen many restaurants and bars come and go: Cahoots, Tom’s Place, Monkey’s and Album are just four that immediately spring to mind. Though situated just off the Kings Road and close to Sloane Avenue and the Fulham Road, often restaurants and bars here get overlooked in favour of the glitzier venues like Daphne’s, the Cheyne Walk Brasserie and Bibendum. Now, though, there’s good reason to revisit this backwater: The Markham Inn.
The bar area of The Markham Inn
Owned by Piers Adam and Nick House, who also operate Mahiki, Whisky Mist and The Punch Bowl in Mayfair, The Markham Inn has been designed by the Robert Angell Design Studio. Angell, who was also responsible for The Crescent Inn in Ilkley, has created a look that crosses the divide of bistro, bar and brasserie with shiny black wooden floors, red banquettes and polished brass. The style is as much a mixture of Paris and New York as it is London “gastro” destination.
Ably and affably run by amongst others Daniele Conti and Lydia Forte, The Markham’s service is second to none. In an Evening Standard piece, Adam commented that he wanted to have the “best-looking staff” but he’s also hired a team that I commend as efficient and welcoming.
Chef Mark Blatchford, who has previously worked at Claridge’s, Racine, the Soho House in New York and The Beckford Arms in South Wiltshire, has created a menu that spans breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner.
A generous sized Scotch woodcock (£6) was perfect as a Sunday starter whilst my companion enjoyed a goat cheese salad with beetroot and almonds (£7). For our mains, we respectively opted for roast chicken and roast beef (£18). Both hearty plates were most enjoyable and other options include fish and chips (£12), a grilled bacon and cheeseburger (£11) and pan-fried seabass with piperade and spinach (£22).
The wine list starts with a La Picoutine Ugni Blanc for £17.50 a bottle and rises through a wide selection of offerings in the £20 to £30 range. This is a list that is indeed reasonable and accessible that also includes a Cloudy Bay Chardonnay at £50 a bottle and Krug at £1,100 a bottle.
The main restaurant area of The Markham Inn
The clientele on a Sunday, I’m told, tends to be families with children for the first early sitting at lunch and a crowd of younger locals later. I saw several bankers I know as well as the owner of a Lowndes Street clothing firm. The couple next to us had driven over from Pimlico and another group had sauntered in after attending the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at The Cenotaph. A pattering of glamour, some could argue, was added by the presence of a girl my dining companion identified as Lauren Pope from The Only Way is Essex and her rather curious entourage.
Though, in criticism, I can say the décor is somewhat dark and the acoustics need improvement, Adam and House have created a fashionable and clubby hotspot with a great value menu at The Markham. Mark my words, I’ll definitely be back.
The Markham Inn, 2 Elystan Street, London, SW3 3NS. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7581 9139. Website: http://www.themarkhaminn.com
Follow The Markham Inn on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/MarkhamInn