Call to ‘Arms’: Victorian pub revived on Kings Road
Long frequented by the Chelsea Set, The Imperial Arms is situated on the Fulham end of Kings Road, Chelsea in what is known as the Chelsea Design Quarter – there’s a wealth of top-end design, furniture and interiors shops. Once you’ve finished fitting out your luxury London pad, you’ll find some excellent food and great cocktails at the Imperial Arms.
One of the last remaining original Victorian pub buildings in the area the Imperial has been in situ for nearly 150 years. Its new owners have given the pub its ‘Arms’ back again by renaming it The Imperial Arms.
The Imperial Arms is part of the Epic Group, and this is their first venture into London. They have several out of town pubs including ones in Milton Keynes and Maidenhead.
Reopening in February of this year, The Imperial Arms has been beautifully refurbished in a handsome selection of shades of green, with attractive hanging dome lights and wooden floors throughout, blending the character of this traditional pub with a sleek modern style. It has a pretty garden at the back with covered areas, which makes all the difference in the warmer months. There’s also an events room upstairs (which is clearly popular and seemed to be hosting quite a party on the evening of our visit).
My friend and I were warmly welcomed and offered a cocktail to kick off the evening. I enjoyed a fresh and summery Mo-Gin-Go, a mix of Tanqueray gin, mint, lime and a dash of sugar. My friend opted for a Stormy Monday, akin to a Dark and Stormy without the alcohol, a mix of ginger beer, lime and bitters with a bit of a bite! They also serve an Epic Negroni and my favourite summer tipple, Aperol Spritz
The atmosphere was warm, friendly and buzzing, catering to the attractive young Chelsea crowd. It was a Friday evening and a DJ was playing some laid-back tunes. Mind you, we did laugh when the waiter asked us with some concern whether the music was too loud for us, I am hoping it wasn’t because we were looking particularly aged that evening!
We started with a couple of small plates to share; melt-in-the-mouth spicy crab and crayfish samosas with a sweet mango, chilli and coriander salsa and some bruschetta with fresh chunks of salmon in a tangy citrus marinade – perfect summers starters.
There is plenty to choose from on the menu, including traditional fish and chips, Hereford beef burgers and shepherd’s pie together with a good selection of veggie and vegan options.
For my main course, I had a tender roast chicken breast in a flavorful red wine jus served with a hearty potato and wild garlic gratin and some juicy Hispi cabbage.
My friend relished his Stone Bass Supreme, which he described as a deliciously meaty fillet of fish with some tasty caramelised root veg – (heirloom carrots and purple potatoes) all given a gentle kick by some harissa mascarpone.
This was washed down nicely with a chilled bottle of Grey Rick Sauvignon Blanc 2017, a classic Malborough Sauvignon with lime and melon notes.
I always think it’s worth saving a little room for the sweet spot and there are some tempting choices to be had on the dessert menu including poached English rhubarb, cream, shortbread and pistachio; Braeburn apple tart and vanilla ice cream and Belgian chocolate brownie, chocolate sauce and raspberry ripple ice cream. We chose to share the traditional chunky plum crumble with lovely vanilla ice cream.
So. if you fancy something homemade ‘Made in Chelsea’ why not try out the Imperial Arms.
Address: The Imperial Arms is located at 577 Kings Road, Chelsea, SW6 2EH.
Telephone number: 0207 366081
Web: The Imperial Arms
Open Mon 9am-11pm, Tues-Sat 9am-12am, Sun 10am-11pm.