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JOURNEY AT CHELSEA FUNHOUSE 459 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW10 0LR WORDS: KATE WEIR There’s a chance that you’ve caught wind of a new distraction in London. We had a lot of bubbly fun pressing Bob Bob Ricard’s much Instagrammed button (see our review in this issue), but when we heard that the new Chelsea Funhouse’s Journey restaurant had a unicorn that vomits champagne, well, we were down there in two shakes of a mythical beast’s tail. This would surely be the culmination of all my Lisa Frank-loving, Last Unicorn-watching, My Little Pony-playing desires – and, I would get champagne to boot. Now, I don’t want to rain glitter on anyone’s parade…Journey’s drink-spewing unicorn is indeed real; perhaps a little too real. This trophy mount, tinted pink and trussed up with a rainbow-light horn, long pink mane and slightly soul-boring glowing eyes – looked like the guard of an ancient lair, or as if it had stumbled in from an acid-rave bender. But, somehow, it’s naively uncanny creepiness made it more endearing. I could relate: I too have pink hair and throw up champagne from time to time. There’s more to Journey than under-the-weather unicorns, though: a novel menu has four different tasting, um, journeys through different regions and eras. We set course for the Silk Road and Castilla, but there’s also the Raj route’s oysters, Punjabi-spiced mussels and shitake rolls, or the Eastern Bloc’s beetroot mousse, mushroom dumplings and lamb with barley. Each journey (priced at £60 a head) has four courses and four different cocktails, and, impressively, there are vegetarian and vegan takes on all menus, too. My gourmet ramble through the former Spanish Empire included Peruvian bream and salmon ceviche with avocado and lime, washed down with a jalapeño-spiked Pisco; Mexican tilapia and ox-cheek tacos with mango salsa and a potent margarita; Spanish seabass and chorizo with saffron aioli, plus a sherry-slugged sangria; and for dessert, a Filipino coconut rice-pudding with lime sorbet that was a little heavy on crunch. My friend’s vegetarian caravan down the Silk Road stopped for a salad of beansprouts, avocado and radish, with a thimbleful of jasmine-infused champagne; almond-sprinkled curried cauliflower soup with a rose and lychee Martini; a turret of aubergine with couscous, pomegranate and lemon with a complementary cobbler to drink; and a grilled peach with lemon sorbet and ginger crumb, toasted with strawberry limoncello. Dish and drink pairings were variably successful,

but overall it’s an intriguing concept that might encourage you to try something new and diminishes the agony of choice. Fresh from its launch, Journey may be a little all over the place at the moment, but the former World’s End Distillery looks damn good with coloured hoop lights, graffiti murals and a fairy-lit tree in the centre of the room, and the upstairs bar is an intimate date-night space to abscond to later. Brace yourself for the unicorn, give yourself over to the fantasy and immerse yourself in a transportive evening here.

FANCY CRAB 92 Wigmore St, Marylebone, W1U 3RD WORDS: KATE WEIR The Red King Crab is a spindly aquatic bastard, who can reach up to six foot when laid out at full length and could definitely take you in a fight. Procuring them from Alaska’s icy waters is so dangerous that it’s been profiled on the show Deadliest Catch; however, they’re also prized for their delicious thigh meat, so we’re sitting in Fancy Crab’s quirkily dressed dining room on Wigmore Street waiting to get stuck into thismonstrous crustacean. Around us are murals of pin-up girls riding crab claws, wiry spirals of lampshades and vintage portraiture embellished with – you guessed it. It’s a little offbeat if on-brand; but, we’re here to conquer the creature from the deep, which – the waiter explains – can only be harvested from September to December, when a valiant crew spend three days hauling the adult males of the species in, cooking them in seawater and freezing them so they arrive at the table in peak condition. This heroism makes you that bit more grateful for what you’re about to eat; if crab is your aim (the clue’s in the name, really), order a leg and a claw (£18 per 100g, minimum order 400g) or the whole beast on a platter (£99 per kg), either barbecued, or served on ice with dipping sauces. Whether for patrons’ benefit or to keep their glossy restaurant free of crab viscera, claws and such are served prêt à manger – so you needn’t crunch and mine away with a culinary toolkit. Our meal gets off to a great start, with generously filled king crab bon-bons, well-seasoned squid and an excellent scallop ceviche with truffle sauce – an unlikely yet delicious flavour pairing. The Grand Platter of seafood we order (£85) is the third largest on the menu, and we’re told it’s big enough for two, maybe three, people. There’s a tempting array of edibles arranged atop a stand: half a lobster, a couple of fat tiger prawns


and langoustines, an octopus leg and a seabed of mussels and clams; however, we’re still a little hungry afterwards and nary a crab claw has crawled onto our plate. A rookie error and one we’ll try not to repeat on our next go. To finish, a zesty, deconstructed lemon-meringue tart and panna cotta washed down with two colourful coupes of fruity cocktails. We may not be willing to risk life and limb in the Arctic Ocean for a crab meal, but we’d happily shell out for one here.


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Christmas 2019 Edition  

The Fa La La La La issue. Including festive ideas for food and wine, travel and our glorious and rather popular annual Christmas gift guid...

Christmas 2019 Edition  

The Fa La La La La issue. Including festive ideas for food and wine, travel and our glorious and rather popular annual Christmas gift guid...

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