Chutney Mary is somewhat of an establishment in Chelsea having attracted customers from far and wide for over 20 years since its opening in 1990. Boasting a prime location in the heart of antiques land on the New Kings Road the chances are if you are a Chelsea resident you will have frequented this establishment at least once. It has been on my hit list for a long time but has always escaped a visit in favour of its cheaper gastro pub neighbours. I had heard wonderful things about this restaurant and in particular rave reviews about the quality of the food. Unfortunately for me I had also heard that this taste of Indian heaven comes at quite a high price and sadly I am not in a position yet to command a salary worthy of regular dinners at £150 a pop.
Fortunately for me my lucky Aries stars had aligned and my birthday was imminent. My lovely new boyfriend, eager to please, had informed me he had booked a table for a Friday night. Having enjoyed a balmy walk there from my flat I was practically hopping with excitement to see what all the fuss was about. I am a huge fan of Indian food and especially a spicy curry on a Friday night and so to sample one of my favourite cuisines at such a high standard was a real treat.
We were greeted with precision and ease in what appeared to resemble a boutique hotel lobby more than an Indian restaurant. After a mere five minute wait we were guided downstairs to an impressive room filled with round tables splayed on varying levels, all of which were heaving with people dressed up to the nines quaffing champagne. This restaurant obviously attracts the ‘celebrating’ crowd on a Friday night. Our table was at the back in a tropical greenhouse/conservatory style glass room with a large tropical tree in the centre- I can well imagine this is some people’s idea of hell but having loved the rainforest cafe as a child I squealed with delight at this adult equivalent.
We ordered cocktails to start and I practically guzzled a lychee martini while salivating over the eclectic and sophisticated Indian menu. After some hand holding and eye gazing we ordered another round of drinks and our food. I decided on the chicken tikka with raspberry chutney to start and the special of the day king prawn coconut curry for a main, both of which had one chilli next to them indicating I was in for some spice. The starter was light, delicate and extremely flavoursome- the chicken pieces fell apart and melted in my mouth while the combination of the spicy tikka and sweet chutney was close to what I imagine a ‘taste explosion’ is like. I had switched to the house wine by this point which was light and dry while new boyf was enjoying an authentic beer (can’t remember name sorry!). The main king prawn curry was equally as delicious and presented beautifully with the pilau rice arriving in a terracotta pot type thing, anyway it did the trick and kept it warm!
Thanks to new boyf advising them this was a birthday meal I was then presented with a lovely icing coated cupcake decorated with a candle on a plate emblazoned with ‘Happy Birthday’- such a thoughtful touch and the perfect end to a wonderful evening.