saatchi gallery restaurant gallery mess

Gallery Mess restaurant at the Saatchi Gallery, Kings Road

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For a restaurant attached to an art gallery, the Saatchi Gallery restaurant Gallery Mess doesn’t seem to have a lot of actual art going on.

We ate in the high-ceiled portico half of the Gallery Mess, which was very pleasant if somewhat lacking on the art front

In fact, it was only when I went to find the Ladies at the end of the meal that I was able to see the rather impressive shoe sculpture which was tucked away out of sight of most of the diners.

saatchi gallery restaurant gallery mess
Tucked away in the corner by the loos, I finally found some art…

The way the restaurant is laid out means that either you sit in the the rather airless back room where you get to see the shoe, and a few bits and pieces on the walls, or you sit in the airy, high-ceiled portico which looks out onto the terrace (which I expect is rather fabulous spot for a spot of al fresco lunch in summer) but where we faced brick walls and works of art were few and far between.

saatchi gallery restaurant gallery mess
The Gallery Mess at the Saatchi Gallery would be an excellent lunch spot for hot summer days

The menu showed no signs either that the restaurant had any arty connections at all, which seems a terrible waste of a great way to set yourself apart in London’s highly competitive restaurant scene, and rather failing to capitalise on the fact that Gallery Mess is part of one of London’s most famous galleries.

However the atmosphere last Thursday night was very pleasant, with efficient, friendly service, albeit a slightly hit-and-miss approach to food.

We started, after a bit of a kerfuffle, with a couple of cocktails – the waiter asked if we’d  like a glass of champagne, frowned when we asked for two Classic Champagne cocktails (they’re at the top of the drinks list), and then brought us just champagne regardless, but we managed to get the correct drinks after a while – and then beetroot and goat’s cheese salad (£7.50) and marinated scallops with pea puree (£12.50).

saatchi gallery restaurant gallery mess
The beetroot and goat’s cheese salad looked as good as it tasted
saatchi gallery restaurant gallery mess
The scallops looked lovely, were barely cooked, so went back to the kitchen and returned vastly improved

The goat’s cheese salad was a big hit, very tasty with a delicious honey and thyme dressing, and the cheese was done really well.

The scallops were fine the second time around: the first they were cold and flabby so had to be returned to the kitchen, but the staff were very apologetic and brought my dining companion some nuts so she had something to eat while I belatedly tucked into my starter once it had returned, perfectly cooked this time.

The mains of salmon fishcakes (£15.50) and line-caught cod (£17.50) were much better, both in cooking and presentation, and we shared a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet (£30) which was very nice if a little on the warm side (we added ice-cubes).

saatchi gallery restaurant gallery mess
Salmon fishcakes with chips and tartare sauce
saatchi gallery restaurant gallery mess
…and cod with crab mash, asparagas, lemon and caper sauce

No London restaurant menu is complete without a side of mac ‘n cheese these days, so we duly ordered that too (£4.25 and it was very nice).

saatchi gallery restaurant gallery mess
The ubiquitious mac ‘n cheese

We finished off with a well put together cheese board and a delicious creme brulee and even managed a glass each of supersweet Pedro  Ximenez sherry which was suggested by the waiter and turned out to be a great idea.

We were almost the last to leave and had certainly enjoyed the evening, but it lacked the ‘wow’ factor which the Saatchi name implied. But sitting outside with a bottle in the sunshine – then no doubt the Gallery Mess will come into its own.

Gallery Mess Café/Bar, Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York HQ, Kings Road SW3 4RY 

Tel: 0207 730 8135

www.saatchigallery.com/gallerymess

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Sarah Bridge

Sarah Bridge

Every review is personally researched and written by leisure expert Sarah Bridge who, when she is not writing about leisure for a national newspaper, spends her time seeking out the best leisure experiences, from city centre boutique hotels to country house estates, Michelin-starred dining to the newest openings.
Sarah Bridge
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