35 Old Church Street, Chelsea, SW3 5BS
tel: +44 (0)20 7352 2908
Whenever I'm headed to Chelsea, I always suggest to friends that we meet at the Pig's Ear. Three reasons: the award-winning gastropub food has never let me down; they brew their own eponymous ale which is a crowd-pleaser; and - it sits on one of the prettiest streets in London, just off the King's Road and two doors down from the mecca that is...Manolo Blahnik. On a recent visit though, I was aghast to see a sign at the bar saying: "We are no longer serving Pig's Ear Ale. The brewery has shut down." Boo, hiss. Also, we were shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of spoiled Sloanes (I know, I know, we were in their territory) who kept flicking their pink shirt collars up and giving each other high fives. At first we treated them as an anthropological study in dipshits, but after ten minutes, they were bloody annoying. So, on that particular visit, I'm afraid to say the only thing we did enjoy was the food. Oooh, and the company of our favourite Spanish friend.
Starters included roast veal bone marrow with bitter leaves and toast (£6.50), smoked haddock rillettes with roast spring onions, golden beetroots and cress salad (£6.75) and arancini stuffed with three cheeses, red pepper, avocado puree, lamb lettuce and tomato sauce (£6.75). It was tough to choose, but we went for a charcuterie sharing plate with three meats: cecina de leon, salchichon and jamon. It also came dressed with olives, almonds and spiced picked cucumber. We also ordered a side of French fries with garlic mayonnaise, because for my money, they are the best in London. The Spaniard went straight to a main course of lamb neck fillet with cannellini beans, chorizo, almonds, radicchio and pea shoots (£15). He loved every mouthful. Also on the menu: macaroni with Mayfield cheese and roasted button onions (£12.50); whole baked trout with warm salad of caramelised apple, soused leek and fennel and shiso cress gremolata (£14); or grilled vintage dried aged Scottish rump steak, french fries, mixed leaves and green peppercorn sauce.
If the Sloanes hadn't been prancing around the pub like they owned the place, we might have stayed for the white chocolate parfait with brownie, dark chocolate sorbet and griottine cherries. Or the kaffir lime and stem ginger creme brulee with passion fruit sorbet. Or the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. But we wanted to get the hell outta dodge. Until they bring back an ale as delicious as the old one and put a sign on the door saying: "No tossers" I'm not sure even the food will lure me back anytime soon.