Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A harbour of drama

A review of the Wyndham Grand London at Chelsea Harbour

Yesterday’s Evening Standard’s revealed that Scotland Yard is selling a 4-bedroom penthouse “close to Chelsea Harbour” that was bought for £985,000 in 2005. Occupied by Sir Ian Blair and Sir Paul Stephenson respectively in their roles as Met commissioners, a price of nearly £2,000,000 will be sought. With the kind of activities that have gone on in this Thames-side development in recent years, it’s no wonder that they placed the chief of police in this location.

Chelsea Harbour viewed from the terrace of the Wyndham Grand London

Chelsea Harbour is a former coal wharf that was redeveloped in the 1980s in a style that was said to emulate the “glamour of Monaco.” Built by P&O, the design has dated badly and though improvements have been made recently to transport links to the site, it still seems a little isolated in it’s position.

Several friends own apartments in the development but the most famous residents are said to have, at various times, included Sir Michael and Shakira Caine, Robbie Williams and Charlie and Rebekah Brooks. It was here recently that a laptop, phone and papers belonging to Mr Brooks were discovered in an underground car park and some years ago, during his participation in a television series about homelessness, it was here also that Lord Brocket sought refuge after having had enough of the reality of the experience.

Being just 0.75 miles from Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge stadium, Chelsea Harbour is also popular with footballers and their WAGs. After their breakup, Frank Lampard purchased a 6-bedroom townhouse for his ex, Elen Rives, and their children for £2,800,000 in one of the development’s crescents in 2009.

The Conrad Hotel, the original name of the hotel at Chelsea Harbour, was said to be the scene of a night of passion between Katie Price and Gareth Gates in 2002. Afterwards Gates is said to have: “fired off a legal letter to Jordan to try to make her keep her mouth shut about their alleged romance.” Miss Price, in the time since, has married both Peter Andre and Alex Reid and is now in an on-off relationship with a male model named Leandro Penna. Gareth Gates has married a dancer and somewhat faded into obscurity.

The hotel equally attracted media attention in 2007 when a cocaine dealer nicknamed “The Milkman,” Brian Wright, was sentenced to life in jail. Wright, whose wealth from drug deals totaled some £100,000,000, is said to have:

… Made the Conrad Hotel, which adjoined the Chelsea harbour complex where he rented a flat, his "office" and testified that if anyone needed him they knew to find him there.”

Wyndham Grand London hotel at Chelsea Harbour

Chelsea Harbour’s hotel was subsequently renamed the Wyndham Grand London in 2007 following a change in management. Consisting of 154 suites and 4 penthouses, the building is currently for sale on a 100 lease through Colliers International at a price of £80,000,000. The sale is subject to the ongoing management agreement to Wyndham Group International.

Actor Lyndon Ogbourne

I dined at the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie, the Wyndham Grand’s restaurant, with the former Emmerdale actor Lyndon Ogbourne just before Christmas.

As Ogbourne updated me on his progress and signing with agents Curtis Brown, we enjoyed an outlook across the harbour’s marina. The vast space itself is a little corporate in design and the limited clientele seemed to mainly consist of estate agents and their clients. The manager informed me that they are generally much busier in the summer and I’m sure if the room were a little more buzzy, it would have been much more appealing.

The Chelsea Riverside Brasserie's restaurant and bar areas

The food itself was perfectly executed. Though not in the league of the restaurants of other 5-star hotels, the informal menu provided ample choices and a selection of simple classics. A grill includes a 10 oz 28-day aged sirloin steak priced at £30 and an 8 oz rib-eye at £25.

Mr Ogbourne opted to start with grilled octopus with puy lentil ragout, Spanish chorizo and rocket cress. The dish was colourful and hearty. My honey roasted salad of autumn vegetables was equally substantial and included parsnip, beetroot, carrots, fennel seeds and Brie de Meaux. It was the perfect choice for a winter’s day.

As a main, I followed with a beef bourguignon that was flavoursome and deliciously tender. Mr Ogbourne equally very much enjoyed the organic salmon fillet with grilled vegetables that he chose and we could find no fault with either dish.

To conclude, I opted for a quince and cherry trifle topped with blackberries and whipped Catalan cream. The health conscious actor decided to pass but this pudding was indeed most delicious.

Suitably for the WAGs, the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie’s wine list includes Perrier-Jouët, Belle Epoque 2002 at £180 a bottle alongside Krug at £210 and Dom Pérignon Rosé at £365. A 2009 house Pinot Grigio from Trentino at £24 a bottle was, however, a perfectly ample and reasonably priced choice to accompany our meal.

Chelsea Harbour itself may be a scene of many a drama but the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie is a restaurant serving good food that truly just needs a little more liveliness.

Wyndham Grand London, Chelsea Harbour, London, SW10 0XG. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7823 3000. For more information, go to: http://www.wyndhamgrandlondon.co.uk and for details on the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie restaurant view: http://www.chelseariversidebrasserie.co.uk

Follow the Wyndham Grand London on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/wyndhamgrand and the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie at: http://www.twitter.com/riverbrasserie

For more information about the sale of the Wyndham Grand London, contact Colin Hall of Colliers International on +44 (0) 20 7344 6627 or email him at: colin.hall@colliers.com

For more information about Lyndon Ogbourne and to watch his showreel, go to: http://www.curtisbrown.co.uk/lyndon-ogbourne//works. Follow him on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/lyndonogbourne


Henry said...

This hotel is dull as ditch water. I would avoid it at all costs. Surprised you went there Mathew.

Glenda said...

The restaurant needs redecorating. It is uninspired design.