Friday, 11 November 2011
Full Marks (almost): The Markham Inn
It's not often that I find the time to explore the chic warren of streets between the King's Road and South Kensington. But one afternoon, drawn down a typically quirky, quiant and beautiful Cheslea side road (you know the kind, traditional terraces, at once smart and unmistakably Chelsea, yet painted in array of canydbox colours) that I discovered the Markham Inn, sleek in appearance yet also traditional, positioned opposite Geales restaurant and next to a little green framed in Boris bikes, I noticed the Markham Inn, Elystan Place.
On that occasion I just dropped in for a cocktail, impressed by the sleek black-painted exterior, sophisticated black and red brasserie style interior amd the large central bar. My passionfruit, vanilla and champagne cocktail hit enough buttons to entice me back for dinner a week or so later.
If the design is sophisticated take on the traditional gastro-brasserie, the food veers more squarely towards the traditional. Visiting in the evening, the restaurant area is lit almost exclusively by candlelight, adding an element of glamour that perhaps raises expectations that the food might be more sophisticated than it was. Nonetheless, the classic dishes such as lamb chops with green beans, sirloin steak with bearnaise sauce and traditional fries, croque monsieur and salad or crab on toast make up in quality what they may lack in imagination. The prices too are reasonable enough to make this a valuable neighbourhood restaurant - just one that you might feel like dressing up for, and quaffing a little champagne at!
The croque monsieur was exceedingly large for a starter (it came with chips and salad) but managed to avoid being oily yet tasted rich and satisfying (this would be a great lunch option). On the other hand, my crab on toast was just the right size, rich, creamy yet also fluffy - just how I like it.
Equally, my sirloin steak was cooked to perfection, and the accompanying fries had a crispy outer with just the right amount of salt (warning - I like things fairly salty!). The boy indulged in the lamb chops with green beans and a light gravy. I don't think it knocked his socks off but the meat was well cooked, the gravy the right consistency and the green beans were just on the right side of the crunchy/soggy divide.
Rounded off with a decent bottle of Crozes Hermitages, we felt this was a very pleasant way to spend a Friday evening. There's a lovely ambience, a little bit of casual glamour and elegance, the food is well prepared, hearty and familiar (if not revolutionary) and the prices are pretty decent. Well worth an outing with the girls or a weekend date night with a loved one.
The Markham Inn
2 Elystan Street, London SW3 3NS
PS excuse the pictures - it WAS quite dark!