By Rebecca Brett
I'm a habitual creature. As much as I love going to new places, no matter where they are, after a long week at work, my local pub is far more appealing than trekking the ermmm, four and a bit miles or 20 minute tube ride to Notting Hill's latest new offering, The Chesterfield.
Be that as it may, I've got work to do: visit the new pub-cum-dining-room and see what it's all about. I'd do anything for Fluid.
Walking from Notting Hill Gate into a pretty ‘I am considerably richer than yau’ townhouse-lined area, my guest and I were aghast with shock. There was a house on fire and the road we wanted had been partially closed. With no sign of a hunky fire crew or ambulance in sight we cautiously tried to make our way to number 39. Counting slowly upwards as we walked towards the flames, we realised the one we wanted was not only the one being licked with the hot orange ambers but that those flames were under control and merely guarding the entrance to our destination.
The Chesterfield’s grand opening with flames; bit theatrical for a neighbourhood pub isn't it? I wonder if the flames were there just for the opening night?
Cowering beneath the flames, we were in. Gone were the wind and damp air. Here to stay, for the next hour at least, was the warming, comfortable and luxurious looking Chesterfield filled with, you guessed it, Chesterfield sofas.
Sitting on them were a mixed bunch of journos and locals; groups of gaggling women getting drunk on the free champers and suited men talking business.
The noise of the chatter and general cheer was a welcome sound, anything to cover, or at least mask, some of the terrible noise that was coming from the speakers. What a racket (that's what my Dad would say!). Either the wiring to the expensive Bose speakers wasn't connected properly or the DJ was hired from the local Youth Club and it was his first attempt at a big event. I'm surprised the Chesterfields weren't moving across the room with the amount of bass that was oozing from the speakers. Soulful versions of shit pop songs, 'Lady hear me tonight ‘cause my feeling is just so right' were pumping in to the room with the bass on full whack. Actually mate, I'd rather not hear you!
By carefully positioning ourselves so that the sound was bouncing away from us, we got stuck in to the drinks; champagne was free-flowing and, if you were lucky, the odd cocktail was making its way around. We were the lucky ones. We sampled the Chesterfield Martini, a concoction of fresh passion fruit juice, vodka and cinnamon syrup. Refreshing and packed a bunch. We needed food to stop us from getting obliterated on the good stuff.
By positioning ourselves in a noise-friendly area, we had also managed to plant ourselves where the food was coming from. Clever, I know.
Whatever was wrong with the music was made up for by the food. If the canapés on the opening night are anything to go by, I suspect the food at The Chesterfield is going to be good. Duck spring rolls with a deep plum jam dipping sauce, mini smoked salmon salad spoons with a sesame dressing, tender rare beef with wasabi jus, crab maki rolls with ginger and soy and my personal favourite, beef and foie gras dumplings. Here's hoping that the canapés were a precedent set for the Pan-Asian menu at the new pub.
Everyone else in the pub must have been enjoying them too as by the time the plates came back they were almost licked clean.
Aside from the food, the people, the drink and the bass, something else caught my eye at The Chesterfield. There must be a dog lover in the midst as all over the walls were beautiful Valerie Davide artworks of different breeds of the canine. To a dog lover like myself it was the finishing touch in bringing the deep wooden flooring, red Chesterfield sofas and modern touches together for a homely feel. It also made me want one of her excitable Jack Russell pieces.
Coined as a 'neighbourhood pub that everyone wants to live near to', The Chesterfield is a perfect pub for those that live within a half mile radius. Problem is, I don't. But if The Chesterfield was my local you'd probably find me there on most Friday nights with the girls, or having a lazy Sunday brunch when Mother comes to visit, or on a weeknight with the boyfriend for some great food. So will you still see me there? Probably. If I can be sure that the flames and bass are toned down, I'd be back with a vengeance and an appetite for those delicious dumplings and lethal martinis.
Read more about new bars, restaurants, pubs, and club in London, check out the Fluid London Top 10 of new venues.