What better place for a girly lunch than Cheyne Walk Brasserie, a French Brasserie on the banks of the Thames in Chelsea. Claire had organised lunch so it was essentially compulsory to start off with a glass of champagne as we perched in the upstairs lounge room looking out the large picture windows at the wind whipping along the Thames.
Champagne over and done with, we headed downstairs to the restaurant proper, a light airy room with sky blue leather banquette seating lining the walls. Right in front of the door there is a huge open charcoal grill where a chef was busy searing steaks and grilling spatchcocks. The room was completely full with lots of family groups settling in for a lazy afternoon of food and wine.
The most popular starter by far amongst our all girl table was the char grilled squid salad. Juicy pieces of squid lightly charred on the grill were served on a plate of rocket daubed with pureed avocado. It was sensational and went some way to sating our appetites prior to the arrival of the main courses.
As I had ordered the sirloin steak a warm plate was brought to the table and then the steak arrived separately on the board it had been resting on and the waitress transferred it. Again, use had been made of the charcoal grill and the steak had a brilliant smoky flavour. Sadly it was overcooked although I think the problem was that they had confused my steak with someone else at the table who has asked for theirs medium to well done (horrors!).
It has to be said, that the French do desserts with style and there were an abundance of options on the menu. There was a fabulous tarte tartin that was served at the table in a blaze of alcohol(pictured) and a dainty chocolate fondant filled with silky smooth chocolate sauce. I could not resist the white chocolate and rhubarb souffle. It was served with a tiny jug of hot white chocolate that was poured into the souffle creating a sweet tooth sensation of fluffy souffle, rhubarb chunks and sweet chocolate sauce.
We decided to finish the afternoon in the style it had begun and head upstairs for more champagne only leaving when we belatedly realised that we were the only customers left at Cheyne Walk Brasserie. Bad form perhaps, but the combination of the champagne and the setting was just impossible to leave.
Details: 50 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea SW3 5LR (Ph 0207 376 8787)