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Eggs and soldiers with a newspaper at Colbert restaurant Colbert [Official Photo]

Where to Eat on the King’s Road

Chelsea’s gilded thoroughfare offers sumptuous breakfast, wonderful ice cream, quality Neapolitan pizza, and more

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Made in Chelsea has a lot to answer for. The scripted reality show’s cast were forever flouncing in and out of cafes and restaurants on the King’s Road, giving the impression that the stretch between Sloane Square and World’s End was basically just a daycare centre for the cream of England. In fact, there are plenty of fantastic places to eat along this gilded stretch. From an Isaan Thai deli to a new bakery star and some of the best pizza out there, these are the ones on and around it worth seeking out.

This guide to the best restaurants on the King’s Road would pair well with the best restaurants in Kensington and Chelsea.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Plenty of restaurateurs claim to farm and forage, but the Gladwin brothers actually do, bringing almost everything they use here from their Sussex fields. The cooking is more thoughtful than Rabbit’s jolly-japes vibe might suggest: witness the mushroom-marmite eclair with confit yolk, and the cured chalk stream trout with beetroot, horseradish and buttermilk cream and puffed wild rice. There’s a great weekday set lunch — two courses for £14.50, three for £19 — and an absurdly well-priced Saturday brunch. Swerve the ‘loosener’ served in a welly; stick to a build-your-own Bloody Mary and the oak-smoked pink fir hash with coriander yoghurt, pickled shallots and a fried egg.

Reliably swish and seasonal, this bastion of Gallic cookery is massively popular with well-heeled locals. For just £35 a head anyone can join them for a weekday lunch to remember: start with duck-egg tart, follow it with boudin of corn-fed chicken, girolles and spätzle, and finish with the plum sorbet and freshly baked madeleines. The chips, at £4 and served with béarnaise for dunking, are in a league of their own.

Polpo Chelsea

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The SW3-based member of Russell Norman’s Italian family may be small, but it has an outsize personality. Tucked at the back of Duke of York Square, it’s handy for the Saatchi Gallery, but really comes into its own after dark, when the candles-only policy renders even the dullest date mysterious and fascinating. Grab seats at the bar and feast on fritto misto, potato and parmesan crocchette and a classic pizette or two.

Colbert

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This handsome, Art Deco meets Art Nouveau bistro from the team behind the Wolseley really does feel like a Parisian pavement cafe dropped onto Sloane Square. It’s open from breakfast until late, and the all-day menu is full of crustacés, croques and crêpes. The patisserie section is strong, as might be expected: vanilla millefeuille makes the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Bread Ahead

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Another Pavilion Road high-point, Bread Ahead’s Chelsea bakery has plenty of outdoor seating and the same best-in-show selection of pastries, doughnuts and cakes as Borough Market and Beak Street — all available to nibble on site. Buttery Breton kouign amann are present and correct, and there’s a range of substantial lunchtime sandwiches too.

Santa Maria Pizzeria

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Santa Maria had a moment in the spotlight earlier this year when a national restaurant critic gave its Fitzrovia branch a measly two stars for the crime of not being Pizza Hut. The restaurant’s response was a masterclass in how to deal with an unmerited stinker of a review — and since then it’s been business as usual, with loyal customers turning out for Santa Rosas (tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, salame Napoli, roasted aubergines) and Campari spritzes. Just off the New King’s Road, the Waterford Road pizzeria benefits from the group’s devoted Neapolitan owners, who continually refine and tweak the menu, which now includes four fully vegan options. Desserts include the holy trinity of tiramisu, many-layered sfogliatella and pistachio-encrusted canolo Siciliano.

Talad Eatery

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Natalie Tangsakul’s Northern Thai and Isaan cafe-deli is the best thing to have happened to Imperial Wharf since the Overground. At the far westerly end of the Kings Road, it’s open from breakfast until dinner. The menu encompasses pastries (keep an eye out for the pandan croissants), curries (gaeng phed ped yarng, grilled duck breast in red curry with sweet lychees and cherry tomatoes, is a star dish) and plenty of north eastern, herb-fragrant salads. Eating in has now resumed, but there’s also takeaway and a well-stocked Thai grocery section for click-and-collect. 

Fortitude Bakehouse Chelsea

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The third and newest outpost of the much-loved bakehouse — the others are in Bloomsbury and Chiswick — sticks to the tried and tested formula. Outrageously rich chocolate brownies, sourdough cakes — the vegan banana loaf is especially good — single-farm coffee and “stonerolled” tea from supplier par excellence Postcard. Get there early for a Berber omelette batbout with harissa, and a fresh lemonade. Takeaway only currently.

Parlour by the Ice Cream Union

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Ice Cream Union’s small but efficient Chelsea parlour—more of a hatch, really—is just off the Sloane Square end of the Kings Road. There are no bells or whistles: just a thoughtful, exciting selection of ice creams and sorbets, ranging from Breton caramel and banana split to cornflake, spiced Delica pumpkin and vegan chilli chocolate. There’s no seating, but plenty of space to eat while standing, with 0.5- and 1-litre tubs available for takeaway or delivery. 

Hagen Espresso Bar (Hagen Chelsea)

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The smallest of the mini-chain of espresso bars is tucked away between two shops about half way down the King’s Road. Taking its cue from Copenhagen, the handsome tiled space dispenses open-faced rye sandwiches and pastries alongside its super-strong, almost boozy-tasting cold brew. Of course, there are the excellent filter- and espresso-based beverages — right now the beans are from east London-based Dark Arts. There’s very limited counter seating in a mostly takeaway operation.

The Cadogan Arms

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The first in a few refurbs for top restaurant group JKS, The Cadogan Arms brings some punchy pub food to a road that is normally a little too genteel for its own good. Pork pies, oysters, and touches from the group’s other restaurants (including hot sauce first made at dearly departed Bubbledogs) are joined by of ham, egg, and chips; fish and chips; and mussels cooked in cider, as well as some hefty steaks.

Rabbit

Plenty of restaurateurs claim to farm and forage, but the Gladwin brothers actually do, bringing almost everything they use here from their Sussex fields. The cooking is more thoughtful than Rabbit’s jolly-japes vibe might suggest: witness the mushroom-marmite eclair with confit yolk, and the cured chalk stream trout with beetroot, horseradish and buttermilk cream and puffed wild rice. There’s a great weekday set lunch — two courses for £14.50, three for £19 — and an absurdly well-priced Saturday brunch. Swerve the ‘loosener’ served in a welly; stick to a build-your-own Bloody Mary and the oak-smoked pink fir hash with coriander yoghurt, pickled shallots and a fried egg.

Medlar

Reliably swish and seasonal, this bastion of Gallic cookery is massively popular with well-heeled locals. For just £35 a head anyone can join them for a weekday lunch to remember: start with duck-egg tart, follow it with boudin of corn-fed chicken, girolles and spätzle, and finish with the plum sorbet and freshly baked madeleines. The chips, at £4 and served with béarnaise for dunking, are in a league of their own.

Polpo Chelsea

The SW3-based member of Russell Norman’s Italian family may be small, but it has an outsize personality. Tucked at the back of Duke of York Square, it’s handy for the Saatchi Gallery, but really comes into its own after dark, when the candles-only policy renders even the dullest date mysterious and fascinating. Grab seats at the bar and feast on fritto misto, potato and parmesan crocchette and a classic pizette or two.

Colbert

This handsome, Art Deco meets Art Nouveau bistro from the team behind the Wolseley really does feel like a Parisian pavement cafe dropped onto Sloane Square. It’s open from breakfast until late, and the all-day menu is full of crustacés, croques and crêpes. The patisserie section is strong, as might be expected: vanilla millefeuille makes the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Bread Ahead

Another Pavilion Road high-point, Bread Ahead’s Chelsea bakery has plenty of outdoor seating and the same best-in-show selection of pastries, doughnuts and cakes as Borough Market and Beak Street — all available to nibble on site. Buttery Breton kouign amann are present and correct, and there’s a range of substantial lunchtime sandwiches too.

Santa Maria Pizzeria

Santa Maria had a moment in the spotlight earlier this year when a national restaurant critic gave its Fitzrovia branch a measly two stars for the crime of not being Pizza Hut. The restaurant’s response was a masterclass in how to deal with an unmerited stinker of a review — and since then it’s been business as usual, with loyal customers turning out for Santa Rosas (tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, salame Napoli, roasted aubergines) and Campari spritzes. Just off the New King’s Road, the Waterford Road pizzeria benefits from the group’s devoted Neapolitan owners, who continually refine and tweak the menu, which now includes four fully vegan options. Desserts include the holy trinity of tiramisu, many-layered sfogliatella and pistachio-encrusted canolo Siciliano.

Talad Eatery

Natalie Tangsakul’s Northern Thai and Isaan cafe-deli is the best thing to have happened to Imperial Wharf since the Overground. At the far westerly end of the Kings Road, it’s open from breakfast until dinner. The menu encompasses pastries (keep an eye out for the pandan croissants), curries (gaeng phed ped yarng, grilled duck breast in red curry with sweet lychees and cherry tomatoes, is a star dish) and plenty of north eastern, herb-fragrant salads. Eating in has now resumed, but there’s also takeaway and a well-stocked Thai grocery section for click-and-collect. 

Fortitude Bakehouse Chelsea

The third and newest outpost of the much-loved bakehouse — the others are in Bloomsbury and Chiswick — sticks to the tried and tested formula. Outrageously rich chocolate brownies, sourdough cakes — the vegan banana loaf is especially good — single-farm coffee and “stonerolled” tea from supplier par excellence Postcard. Get there early for a Berber omelette batbout with harissa, and a fresh lemonade. Takeaway only currently.

Parlour by the Ice Cream Union

Ice Cream Union’s small but efficient Chelsea parlour—more of a hatch, really—is just off the Sloane Square end of the Kings Road. There are no bells or whistles: just a thoughtful, exciting selection of ice creams and sorbets, ranging from Breton caramel and banana split to cornflake, spiced Delica pumpkin and vegan chilli chocolate. There’s no seating, but plenty of space to eat while standing, with 0.5- and 1-litre tubs available for takeaway or delivery. 

Hagen Espresso Bar (Hagen Chelsea)

The smallest of the mini-chain of espresso bars is tucked away between two shops about half way down the King’s Road. Taking its cue from Copenhagen, the handsome tiled space dispenses open-faced rye sandwiches and pastries alongside its super-strong, almost boozy-tasting cold brew. Of course, there are the excellent filter- and espresso-based beverages — right now the beans are from east London-based Dark Arts. There’s very limited counter seating in a mostly takeaway operation.

The Cadogan Arms

The first in a few refurbs for top restaurant group JKS, The Cadogan Arms brings some punchy pub food to a road that is normally a little too genteel for its own good. Pork pies, oysters, and touches from the group’s other restaurants (including hot sauce first made at dearly departed Bubbledogs) are joined by of ham, egg, and chips; fish and chips; and mussels cooked in cider, as well as some hefty steaks.

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