Medlar’s website looks more ‘corporate caterer’ than incredible French restaurant in Chelsea. But I’m pleased to say, having finally sampled some of its deliciousness, it certainly proves to be the latter. If you just got paid and are looking for a new bed partner – reserve a table for two (or three?) now. Because this place is ridiculous – and everything is sourced locally. Even the crabs. Which we’re a bit confused about, but hey.
Located in a quiet dining room where the waiters and waitresses hide in corners, and the ice cubes come in their own glass with prongs, Medlar is a bit different – in a special way. Don’t worry about not being able to locate the staff, because at the very sniff of a want, they’re at your table in Superman speed.
We knew it had to be meat for mains since Time Out bigged up Chef-Patron Joe Mercer Nairne’s ‘considerable skill with meat cookery’ and were prepared to go light for the starters but when we saw the menu, we just couldn’t.
The crab meat ravioli with leek and samphire was a generous size parcel covered in a rich buttery bisque and to excite fish lovers even more, decorated in brown shrimps. The flavours were so accurate, I hankered for it again the next day – so made my own – but that’s another story.
The duck egg tart was rich and the sautéed duck heart irony and succulent. Lardons could have made it slightly too salty but the yolk neutralised it perfectly – as did the root flavour of the turnip. It was delicious. And pretty too.
For mains we had Under blade fillet (which I discovered usually comes with persillade snails!), salad, triple cooked chips and béarnaise and Guinea Fowl, which my partner devoured so quickly, I didn’t get a chance to photograph it.
So here is the under fillet… which tasted like how I imagine Ryan Gosling’s ears do. It was, as promised, not bloody – and the meat tore apart with one bite – no chewiness. You could really taste the meatiness and the béarnaise sauce was tart and therefore exceptional. I could have had more if it weren’t so gluttonous (reminded me of the time my friend asked for four portions of béarnaise with his steak and felt sick as a dog afterwards).
For afters, we shared the chocolate torte with honeycomb which was mind-blowingly soft and nowhere near as rich as it looks. Top restaurants are doing some crazy things with texture these days and happily so. It makes the final course so much more interesting, particularly if dessert isn’t the main event for you. I guess the old ice cream and cake formula needed a revamp.
All in all, a top notch restaurant (and pretty pricey so make sure someone else is paying for the cab!)
Big crowds – go somewhere else.
Medlar is open 7 days a week and its address is 438 Kings Road, Chelsea, SW10 0LJ.