Since the launch of the original Chucs on Mayfair’s Dover Street in Summer 2014, the group has expanded to other iconic locations across London. Situated in the heart of Notting Hill, Chucs Westbourne Grove opened its doors in early 2016, encompassing three levels and a discreet garden terrace. 2019 saw the launch of Chucs Cafe Kensington on South Kensington’s Old Brompton Road, Chucs Cafe Chelsea on Lower Sloane Street, as well as Chucs Belgravia. With 84 covers, a spectacular white marble bar, plus a chic outdoor terrace, their sixth site – in St John’s Wood – opened this July 2021 and is their most ambitious project to date. Serving modern Italian food in an art deco setting, this is where we head on a recent dark Thursday night for dinner.
Walking in through a thick curtain, cosy is the first word that springs to mind. Classic brasserie in design with blue walls, leather seating and low lighting, we settle in a comfy corner with a glass of Champagne. The service is friendly and unobtrusive, and we are soon munching on a basket of delicious, still warm bread and perusing the menu. So many dishes jump out that we need a second glass of Champagne before we can decide. Featuring classic Italian dishes, there are plenty of pasta and pizza dishes, but we plump for a fresh and fragrant seabass and avocado ceviche to start with. The Chucs chopped salad has been recommended, but will have to wait for the next visit. For mains we go for an 8oz ribeye steak which comes with a truffle butter and fries. Tender meat and crispy fries, it’s simple but beautifully done. We also try the melanzane alla parmigiana, another Italian classic; cheesey, tomatoey, auberginey gooiness. Comfort on a plate.
Remarkably there is still room for dessert. Don’t judge us but we have three between us! We order the vanilla cheesecake; softer than a traditional cheesecake it is deliciously creamy and topped with peanuts and crumbled chocolate brownie. The white chocolate semi-freddo with passion fruit is lighter but equally as satisfying and the sharpness of the passion fruit is a good palate cleanser… in time for the tiramisu! In our defence it’s brought out for us to try, so we haven’t planned on eating three puds, but boy is it good, and boy do we clean our plates.
We are keen to try so many more dishes that the Westbourne Grove restaurant has already been booked to take advantage of World Pasta Day on Monday 25th October. A chance to try the tagliatelle with Cotswold lamb ragu… or will it be the ravioli of rare breed beef? With a 50% discount on the day it might well be both!