Restaurant review: GOAT, London

goat chelsea london

Jonathan R Jones

Jonathan R Jones is a freelance writer on art, interiors and lifestyle based in London and Berkshire. As well as covering food and travel for VADA, he writes for publications including Art Review, Modern Painters and Sculpture Magazine and is Contributing Editor at COVER Magazine. Find him blogging at jonathanrjones.wordpress.com.

 

There’s some stiff restaurant competition in this part of London. Yet this modern Italian local holds its own and rises above ‘gastro pub’ to offer some pretty decent grub. Ignore the gimmicks (dog treats on the menu, anyone?) and you’ll find some well executed cooking. And we didn’t even try the pizzas.

Food and drink

This place is as well-known for its cocktails as it is for its food; they host The Old Fashioned Cocktail Club on Thursdays and the upstairs space is a cosy cocktail lounge, complete with pulpit for the weekend DJs. We tried the short but sweet vodka and passion fruit ‘Astoria’, finished with dried chamomile flowers, and a ‘Jamaican Me Crazy’, a deliciously long rum and absinthe concoction with ginger beer.

To start, the fried calamari came in a convincingly light and crisp batter. The accompanying fresh chilli and basil mayo was a hit too. I greedily scooped up every gloopy drop. My companion’s tuna tartare with avocado arrived looking like something from the patisserie counter in artful layers of pink and green. Creamy avocado had a subtle chilli kick, while the tang of grapefruit meant the whole thing was pleasingly zingy. We also shared a ‘rosemary focaccia’ which was more like a pizza base than the traditional Italian bread.

Although tempted by both steak and pizzas, we couldn’t resist trying some of their more adventurous dishes. Roasted hake came perfectly cooked, the succulent flesh wrapped in San Daniele ham. It sat atop a dramatic swirl of puy lentil puree, coloured black with squid ink and was accompanied by chilli-dusted tenderstem. The latter added a welcome warming twist but couldn’t hide the dish’s over-salting. My partner’s duck breast main course deconstructed the trad a l’orange style, with grilled clementines and apricots. A generous bed of samphire was a surprising success. On the side we just had to try the smoked paprika fries (more-ish if a bit soggy) and broccoli with chilli, garlic and shaved almonds (perfectly cooked and not swimming in oil).

I was greedy for a pudding but should have given the homemade tiramisu a miss. Made unconventionally with maderia it didn’t have a hint of coffee, lacked a boozy kick and was rather dry and stodgy. Even the cream was heavy and in short supply. The presentation is adorable – it comes in a mini terracotta pot, the top heavily cocoa-dusted to look like soil with a cheeky sprig of mint sprouting from it – alas the fun stops there. What I should have opted for was my companion’s sticky toffee pudding. It was a flawless execution of this classic – a guest at a neighbouring table confessed that she had it every time she visited. An added bonus to the dessert menu are the pairing cocktails (espresso martini with the tiramisu, and a rum and lime Bolivar Sour with the sticky toffee) for an extra £6 each.

Look and vibe

Goat occupies the former Goat in Boots pub, an ornate Victorian brick building on a generous corner plot where the Fulham Road meets Park Walk. The exterior is painted a stylish turquoise-grey and huge plate-glass windows make the most of the location, and allow for great people watching. Inside, reclaimed industrial light fittings match the bare floorboards for a stripped-back aesthetic. This is offset by ornate wrought iron balustrades and vintage-style chandeliers.

The cosy ground floor restaurant is dominated by a dramatic metalic back wall which is softened by stacks of logs and mismatched bistro style furniture. Upstairs the ‘Drink’ bar has more of a traditional pub feel with an embossed ceiling and reclaimed ecclesiastical touches. The hidden Chelsea Prayer Room is an intimate private-hire space with a cosy feel; think low-lighting, exposed brick, ornate mirrors, comfy leather Chesterfields and a roaring fire.

The clientele is very ’Chelsea’. Expect to jostle tables with those fabled ‘yummy mummies’, suited after-work types, and a generally well-dressed but casual local, monied crowd. It’s unstuffy and easy-going but this is the Fulham Road, darling!

 

 

Price

Around £58 per person, based on three courses with sides, two cocktails and wine, excluding service.

Every Wednesday local residents (SW3, SW6, SW7, SW10) can enjoy 50% off their food bill. Look out too for the weekend Bottomless Brunch, Friday happy hours and other offers.

The bottom line

Come for the cocktails but stay for the food at that stylish local serving modern Italian-inspired fare.

GOAT is located at 333 Fulham Road, London SW10 9QL.

For more information or bookings call +44 (0)20 7352 1384, email info@goatchelsea.com, or visit goatchelsea.com.

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