Restaurant Review: Gallery Mess
We had a great time at Gallery Mess, the restaurant at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. It’s a very nice venue, for a start – an old brick building with a vaulted ceiling and big arched windows that look out over a little square right on the King’s Road. On entry, you’re welcomed by a long bar scattered with champagne bottles; to be honest, on first sight there is a worry that you’re about to have an experience of ostentatious style over substance, but fortunately, that turns out not to be the case at all. The thing that the restaurant and its staff take seriously is, thankfully, the food and dining rather than the showy extras. That said, when you get past the bar and discover neon artworks on the walls above the elegantly set tables and, later, the bathroom walls, which are tiled with bars of soap, the decoration becomes a great source of fun and conversation.
But on to the food – the seafood, to be precise. The menu is modestly sized but reasonably priced, especially for the area, with deliciously fresh fish and some very tasty-looking grilled meats for the non-seafood-inclined. We had the scallops to start with, and the ham hock terrine. I then ordered the bream from the main seasonal menu while my date had the cod chosen from the specials board, which was presented to us with aplomb by our waiter. Perhaps the only thing to bear in mind is that both dishes were served with capers (which I love, but others – my date among them – unfathomably despise); presumably they can be easily omitted by the kitchen on request.
Careful removal of capers aside, the dishes were excellent. We had a very good bottle of house white wine with them, too. Our fellow diners in the restaurant, of which there were enough to provide for a vibrant atmosphere (although it wasn’t full on a weekday evening), all seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their meals too. And if you’re out to impress on a date, the menu boasts a very fine-looking seafood platter, which promises oysters, crab, prawns and shellfish (oh, and you can also add a lobster and a bottle of champagne!). For dessert, we shared the crème brûlée, which comes with raspberries and shortbread and is of course delicious.
Perhaps the best thing about Gallery Mess, however, is the simple fact that it is attached to the Saatchi Gallery itself, thus providing for an ideal two-in-one date destination: fine art and fantastic food. If you’re looking for a date venue in west London, Gallery Mess is heartily recommended.