|Chilled broad bean and pea soup with goat's cheese & oodles of truffles|
Medlar aims to be a "neighbourhood restaurant" and by the look of the full tables last weekend, it seems the Chelsea locals are happy to make Medlar a place where everybody knows your name.
Medlar opened in 2011, and is the baby of chef Joe Mercer Nairne (formerly of The Savoy Grill and Chez Bruce in London and Rockpool in Sydney) and David O'Connor (former front of house manager of Chez Bruce, The Square and, GD favourite, The Ledbury). These are serious credentials.
The decor is more refined and the atmosphere more formal than your standard neighbourhood joint, so don't go for cosiness. But what the ambience might lack at times, is made up for on the plate. Seasonal ingredients of British leanings are cooked simply and presented prettily, with an easy going French flair.
Chilled broad bean and pea soup is is certainly more summery than the conditions outside, and given some lovely depth by fresh goat's cheese and generous shavings of truffle. It looks gorgeous too.
A large, plump crab raviolo is served with samphire, brown shrimp, a fondue of leeks and a sumptuous shellfish bisque sauce. Yes, it is as good as it sounds.
Middle white pork chop and cheek comes with celeriac puree, black cabbage, crackling and marjoram. It's straightforward and tender - cooked well but not something you'd be bursting to go back for. The steak on the other hand is nothing short of sublime - an almost gamey tasting under blade fillet with juicy persillade snails, salad, superb, crispy triple cooked chips (oomph big time) and a perfect bearnaise. Award winning.
It's hard to pick a favourite dessert - we tried a large macaroon with divine English raspberries and lemon curd, a vanilla custard pot with blackcurrent compote and langue de chat (TPG mostly hogged this so it was hard to get a look in), a terrific, chocolately torte with almonds, topped in crunchy honeycomb chunks, honeycomb ice cream and a rich, velvety caramel sauce, and (finally) the tart Victoria plum ice cream with delicate brandy snaps and shreds of sweet stem ginger.
Service is pleasant and prices are very reasonable - £39.50 for 3 courses. Lunch is a steal at £25 for 3 courses, or £30 at weekends. Enjoy!
Medlar, 438 Kings Road, Chelsea, SW10 0LJ (Tel: 020 7349 1900) www.medlarrestaurant.co.uk