Tastes of Fifty


Standing on a corner of Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, the floral-decorated, baby blue frontage of No. Fifty Cheyne resembles something from a film set, long since transformed from a Victorian public house into a cosmopolitan haunt that never fails to fill my heart (not to mention my tum) with joy. One of the few London restaurants that is an equally perfect venue for a romantic dinner, lunch with friends or an important family celebration, Chef Iain Smith’s wide range of menus entices you back time and time again. Former Head Chef of Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House, Smith has been at the helm at No. Fifty Cheyne since the restaurant opened in 2019.

With linen-dressed tables and tall candles, there’s always a lovely buzz and convivial about the 70-cover restaurant which boasts a cosy upstairs Ruby Bar and Drawing Room besides the three dining areas each possessing their own ambiance. Diners upstairs can enjoy views of the sparkling Albert Bridge come nightfall, while those seated on the ground floor have the benefit of the theatre and aromas afforded by the open grill, just the thing to work up an appetite.

Serving their famed Weekend Roast on Saturdays and Sundays, it would be hard to top the 100 Day-Aged Belted Galloway Beef Rib Roast with Yorkshire pudding all the trimmings, a dish which, when done to perfection, can rival anything in the world. The seasonal a la carte menu is equally mouthwatering, featuring signature fine dining dishes alongside expertly prepared grill favourites, while the new and exceptionally good value Tastes of Fifty set and sharing menus (available Wednesday to Saturday) is an inexcusable reason to venture south of the Thames this springtime. Swim if necessary.

Choose two (£25pp) or three courses (£29pp) or sample the decadent 3 course sharing menu (£42) commencing with sensational grilled Argentinian prawns glistening with garlic herb butter and accompanied by a dressed fennel and Pink Lady salad with orange segments. This was followed by a 600g prime rib served rare with creamed spinach, French fries and both Béarnaise and peppercorn sauces, while the perfectly risen finale of Kentish strawberry soufflé with strawberry jam and buttery shortbread crumb, bursting with the heady flavours of an English summer’s day tested our ability to share to the max! The theatricality of our waitress crowning the pink cloud before us with vanilla ice cream before dowsing generously with white chocolate sauce as we gripped our spoons eagerly was the perfect way to conclude another wonderful meal at one of our favourite London restaurants.

I don’t have a large family, but if I did I’d regularly take advantage of No. Fifty’s glamorous private dining for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and christenings – you name it. It would be my only chance to sample every new culinary invention by Iain Smith, highlighting the finest produce and the fact that when traditional British food is done this well it would have a Frenchman doffing their chef’s hat. Even when you’re not marking a special occasion dining here is always celebratory. We were one of three couples, with one chap declaring as he was seated opposite his elegant wife (at least I hope it was his wife), “This brings back happy memories.”

Smith is just as enthusiastic as he was when the restaurant first opened; delighting diners with generous and seriously indulgent food showcasing a who’s who of unsurpassably fine ingredients, while the well dressed crowd of regulars, the majority Sloane Ranger types, lend an up-beat tempo to proceedings. With a new London restaurant opening every week, No. Fifty keeps itself current thanks to Smith’s talent for elevating the food he loves into a stylish affair that will delight the most exacting foodie.

Federico Fellini claimed that, “It’s easier to be faithful to a restaurant than it is to a woman,” and it’s certainly easy to be faithful to No. Fifty Cheyne. When you find a well established restaurant that’s still as popular as it was on day one, you can be sure they’re doing something right. I’d like to shake the bloggers who merely pose for pictures outside the restaurant’s floral installation. They have their priorities all wrong!

No. Fifty Cheyne, 50 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London SW3 5LR. For more information and reservations please visit the website.