Bluebird Restaurant still hits the spot.
Wandering down the King’s Road in Chelsea on a sunny Saturday, you could be forgiven for thinking that recent Covid times were just a bad dream. Packed full of tourists and locals alike, the place is buzzing with a positive energy and it’s with a livelier than usual spring in our step that we walk to our destination, Bluebird.
We can hear the restaurant’s terrace before we see it as the DJ is pumping out chilled beach-bar beats. With a Wimbledon theme, there is astro turf and pots of lavender aplenty, with parasols to keep the Chelsea Set cool. There are even giant tennis balls on the roof, which we spot later when we go in to eat inside. Never mind this quintessential English theme, though, as we’re here to check out the Maison Mirabeau pop up that’s in place for the whole summer. Exclusive to Bluebird, mixologists have blended four delicious and oh-so-pretty Mirabeau rosé gin cocktails; Summer Loving – a fresh fruit and mint hint, Petals On The Bed – a pink liquored coconut infusion, Think Pink, and Kiss From A Rose, all priced at £14. We try these while sitting on the terrace perusing the menu, and enjoy all the people and dog-watching opportunities that come with hanging out on the King’s Road. There is a terrace menu that has some informal options like poke bowls and burgers, but we decide to head indoors to enjoy the stunning surroundings there along with a bigger menu.
Walking into the restaurant, the first thing you notice are the huge red steel girders that dominate the high loft ceiling. Natural light streams in onto the many plants, making you feel like you’re outside, even though you’re sitting on a comfortable leather banquette. We settle down with a bottle of Mirabeau rosé, of course, and pick out what we’d like to eat. The menu has some excellent seafood choices like Lindisfarne Rock Oysters and Diver Caught Scallops, but today we are after more meaty dishes for starters. Beef Tartare with Parmesan Aioli arrives disguised by a garden shrub-like garnish, which later takes permanent residence in between my dining companion’s teeth, much to my amusement. Despite this, she tells me, it’s a delightful and perfectly chopped fillet of beef with the most gorgeous texture and taste and just the right amount of onion and gherkin. She hazards a guess that the parmesan aioli is there in place of the more traditional raw egg yolk, as it is safer, but she would have preferred to have given the egg a go. I opt for a crispy duck salad and it does not disappoint. Decent size pieces of, yes crispy, and flavoursome duck are combined with a delicate Thai-inspired salad with the wine complementing the dish perfectly.
After this promising start the stakes are high for the main course. Native Lobster Spaghetti arrives full of promise and visually does not disappoint. It glistens with tomato sauce, a piece of lobster proudly perching in a shell on top. The lobster is cooked well, an absolute highlight of the dish, although maybe could have been bigger. A 40 Day Dry Aged Beef Sirloin steak is a winner. Beautifully tender and flavoursome, it’s served with a lively peppercorn sauce and some excellent fries. I even ask our attentive waiter if I can take home the fat I don’t eat for my spoilt dog and he’s back in the blink of an eye with it wrapped in foil for me to take home (and devoured in seconds on return by my greedy hound).
By some miracle we think there might be room for dessert and going along with the tennis theme, if you love pistachios then you will absolutely love the Wimbledon Dessert, a delightful sponge base with an exquisite strawberry jelly and thick crumble of ground pistachios, resembling a tennis court. Very sweet and very delicious. The Pavlova, another quintessential summer dessert, is huge; crumbly chunks of meringue, sweet strawberries, whipped cream and raspberry coulis all coming together on one heavenly plate.
The Bluebird is such a stalwart of the King’s Road that it might be easy to almost forget it’s there, but that would be a mistake. With such a large terrace, the perfect partnership with Mirabeau and top quality food and service, make sure you head there this summer.
Bluebird Chelsea, 350 King’s Road, SW3 5UU, 020 7559 1000, bluebird-restaurant.co.uk