Restaurant Review: Adam Handling Chelsea at the Belmond Cadogan Hotel in Chelsea
Adam Handling Chelsea showcases the absolute best of seasonal British produce, taking inspiration from the building’s iconic history and London itself. After a multi-million pound restoration, the opening of the Belmond Cadogan Hotel in March of this year created a lot of hype in the local area.
The luxury hotel features 54 rooms and suites and is a symbol of heritage and luxury in the Sloane Square neighbourhood. When it came to the dining experience, the Belmond Cadogan team turned to a British chef who is a true trailblazer on the London food scene.
“Each of my venues is influenced by the local area, which is very important for me,” says Chef Patron Adam Handling. “Adam Handling Chelsea draws inspiration from its British history as it would be silly not to; it’s such a historic and iconic building to be in.”
With successful restaurants in Hoxton and Covent Garden, Handling was brought in to not only oversee the hotel’s main restaurant Adam Handling Chelsea, but he was also tasked to develop menus for the entire food and beverage operation at the Belmond Cadogan Hotel, including Afternoon Tea, room service, and catering.
When it comes to Afternoon Tea, Handling shares that he opted to recreate flavours from the tea his grandmother used to serve, whilst incorporating a modern touch and elements of a traditional High Tea. “It is a real experience, but nothing gimmicky. We’ve illustrated the journey Sir Hans Sloane made across the world in the ingredients,” he says.
It is clear from the start that the staff has been trained to be professional, attentive, but still approachable. On our way to our table, we pass the open kitchen, where the chefs greet us as they finish off dishes on the pass. From the sommelier to the servers, we are engaged in conversations about our meal, our backgrounds, and our overall experience. In a sea of white tablecloths, we’re happy to see that the atmosphere is still convivial and customer-focussed.
Our dinner at Adam Handling Chelsea started off with a glass of Adam Handling Own Label English Sparkling from West Sussex. This arrived alongside one of Handling’s infamous dishes: homemade sourdough with chicken butter. The bread was as fresh as could be and the chicken butter is absolutely addictive. Chicken stock is whipped into the butter and to add an extra layer of texture and flavour, chicken skin is crumbled on top.
Whilst there is an enticing 6-course seasonal tasting menu available, we opted to order a la carte. We paired our meal with a bottle of red, chosen for us by the sommelier. The menu has a mix of snacks, starters, mains, sides, and desserts. The lobster with pink peppercorn, dulse, and dill was absolutely tender and flavourful, though definitely on the pricey side at £35. One of Handling’s signature dishes, “Mother”, is a vegetarian treat made from celeriac, yolk, apple, and dates, and is intriguing, interesting, and delicious.
A stellar special on offer during our meal was the freshly made linguine with Krug Champagne butter sauce, with a supplement of Oscietra caviar or Scottish lobster. However, we were drawn to some of the meatier options on the menu and decided to go with the roasted lamp rump, lamb shoulder, and lovage; and the Highland beef with ragu, blue cheese, and house pickle.
Both dishes used very high quality meat and were paired with accompaniments that highlighted their rich flavours. Our server suggested we take the Jersey Royals with mint and roasted hispi cabbage with ranch dressing as sides and we were not disappointed! The vinegar notes and tanginess of the ranch perfectly complemented our mains.
To cap off our evening, we chose two desserts: the chocolate stout with whipped miso and buckwheat crumb and the yoghurt with sweet cicely, milk crumb, and marigold. The playfulness of the desserts showcased Handling’s innovativeness and his desire to stay true to the character of the Chelsea locale whilst bringing his personality and informal dining ethos. It’s also important to note that like his bar Eve in Covent Garden, the bar at Adam Handling Chelsea follows a zero-waste approach.
Adam Handling Chelsea respects the traditions and character of the local neighbourhood whilst bringing the ingenuity and innovation of a chef whose main focus is on bringing great food to his clients. It is the perfect location for a special occasion, date night, or family gathering. I am already awaiting our next visit where I would love to try the spectacular tasting menu.
Address: 75 Sloane St, Chelsea, London SW1X 9SG
Phone: 020 8089 7070
Image credit – Tim Green