The Imperial Arms, Chelsea
THE IMPERIAL ARMS: LONDON
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT
Tuck into classic British gastro pub meals and small plates
Choose between a wide range of wines, craft ales and cocktails
Enjoy the stylish surroundings of the grand Victorian building
Relax in the courtyard garden
The Imperial Arms is situated on the fashionable Kings Road in London – the place where Mary Quant famously invented the mini-skirt and Starbucks opened their first UK store. It’s just a 10-minute walk from Fulham station, in the heart of Chelsea’s Design Quarter.
The Imperial Arms first opened its doors 150 years ago and is one of the last remaining Victorian pubs in Chelsea. Following an extensive makeover, the venue was relaunched in February and is now a sleek space with the laid-back atmosphere of a traditional British pub.
Super-stylish but very comfortable, The Imperial Arms has warm lighting, wooden floors and beautifully tiled walls. The ceiling and wooden beams are painted in fashionable grey, giving the large space a more intimate feel.
There are lots of modern touches; with leather banquette seating, brass salt and pepper pots and small milk bottles filled with flowers. Although it has quite an industrial feel with exposed brickwork and metals and the place is brought to life with indoor plants and lots of natural light.
I visited with my boyfriend Alex and we ordered a bottle of Prosecco alongside three courses.
Starters: Beetroot Hummus with Olive Crumb & Crudités and Warm Flatbread (£4.75), the Crab & Crayfish Samosa with Mango, Chilli & Coriander (£7.00) and the Gherkin Polenta ‘Fries’ with Chipotle Mayo (£6.75).
Mains: Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Fondant Potatoes, Romanesco, Sweet & Sour Jus (£16.75) and 10oz Ribeye Steak (£28.00) with Green Peppercorn & Brandy (£1.75)
Desserts: Spiced Plum Crumble (£6) and Belgian Chocolate Brownie with Chocolate Sauce, Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream (£6.75)
Yes, we ordered three small plates between the two of us as a starter – but we were very hungry. We both agreed the samosas were the best, and almost fought over the last one (we cut it in half in the end). The chefs hadn’t scrimped on the fish, as they were packed with thick chunks of crab and crayfish. We loved the combination of the sweet mango and spicy chilli.
The polenta ‘fries’ were also delicious. Covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, they tasted incredibly indulgent and the gherkin still had a good crunch to it. The chipotle mayo was very tasty, with a spicy kick. The beetroot hummus was light and fresh and we loved the flatbread, which had a smoky charcoal flavour.
To follow, Alex opted for the British ribeye steak with peppercorn sauce. The meat was tender and the sauce was delicious and creamy with just a hint of brandy.
I had the slow-cooked pork belly, which was a real treat and not something I’d have the patience to cook at home. The serving came with three generous slices of pork and each piece was full of flavour with different textures. I loved the crunchy pork crackling on the top, the succulent flesh underneath and that very naughty (but nice) gooey fat in-between.
We also ordered a side of chips covered in a thick layer of Parmesan and truffle oil. By the time we’d eaten those (they were amazing!) I didn’t think I could handle any more carbs, but the pudding menu was too good to resist…
I ordered the plum crumble and swapped the suggested ice cream for hot custard. This was very tasty with a warm, wintery spiciness to it but rather than the soft, molten fruit I’m used to in a pudding like this, the plums were cut into quite thick separate slices.
Alex had the chocolate brownie and was generous enough to let me dig in too. I’m not sure I would’ve shared it if it was mine because it was heavenly. Thick, rich, creamy and just warm enough to compliment the vanilla ice cream. Perfect.
We had a brilliant time at The Imperial Arms and would definitely go back. From our table we could see the staff bringing out lots of dishes from the chef hatch and they all looked fabulous, so we’d love to try out some more food another time. If you aren’t dining, you can still enjoy the glamourous bar and there’s a gorgeous courtyard as well.
The Imperial Arms, 577 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW6 2EH
Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Imperial Arms - but as ever, all reviews are our honest opinion!