Maze Grill, Royal Hospital Road

The Gordon Ramsay group is expanding at speed, with his eateries popping up all over London. Last week I was invited to sample the menu at the new Chelsea branch of Maze Grill, arguably Ramsay’s most successful casual brand. Located on Royal Hospital Road it is the neighbour of his renowned 3 star establishment down the road.

The restaurant feels boutique-y, but with a cosy ground floor area there is enough space for a decent number of covers. I was sat, along with a few select food bloggers, at an upstairs table. We discussed recent food discoveries and inspiring travels whilst enjoying a glass of fizz.

With Maze Grill, Ramsay hopes to emulate the offering and atmosphere of the American sushi and steak houses. The menu focuses on these cuisines, with a few other tempting dishes for vegetarians. An impressive plate of sushi arrived for us to pick at, and the vibrancy of the colours indicated just how fresh the food was. It looked beautiful. We also enjoyed a few of the sharing starters, addictive Sweet Potato chips with Mexican-inspired smashed avocados and spicy crunchy Buffalo chicken fillets with chilli and lime.

For main course, an array of decadent dishes arrived. The star of the show was the wooden platter of steak which I strategically ensured I was close to. We tried the USDA Prime Sirloin (£3.40/oz) and the special but expensive Wagyu triple seared fillet (£14.50/oz). Despite the wow factor of the wagyu I preferred the flavour and texture of the American sirloin which was cooked to perfection with a lovely charcoal hint to the crispy edge. I’ve never seen steak served with lime, but it was a nice citrus addition to the dish. Every variety of sauce is available, usually peppercorn would be my preference but at Maze Grill I thought the (alarmingly orange) hot sauce or béarnaise were the tastiest. It was strange to not have fries with the steak, but my gluttonous streak was satisfied with the rich Mac & cheese and huge puffy onion rings.

Delicious wine from Washington accompanied the starter and then we moved on to a hearty red with the steak. The service was quietly attentive for the duration of the meal. Staff stayed out of the way as we arranged the plates and photographed everything… a group of food bloggers are not the easiest people to serve!

Indulgent desserts soon covered the table, a blur of sugary treats. The highlight was the ‘Monkey bread’ a soft cinnamon flavoured bread, that sunk invitingly as I dunked my spoon in. Topped with caramelised pecans, sticky caramel sauce and melting vanilla ice-cream, it was not dissimilar to a luxury version of my brunch favourite, French toast.

We left Maze Grill a few pounds heavier, but happy and content after the sushi and steak banquet. I’m not sure how much input Ramsay has in his ever-growing chain of restaurants, but either way they seem to be enjoying continuing success, with or without him at the helm.

More information and book a table at Maze Grill Chelsea here.

Duck & Dry, Chelsea

‘Blow outs’ have been a major beauty trend in NYC for a while, but it is only recently that London’s most glamorous ladies consider it an essential part of their pre-party prep… and that’s where Duck and Dry come in. This super stylish salon is conveniently located in Chelsea in a spacious venue which allows a gaggle of girls to enjoy treatments simultaneously (perfect for hen dos and birthday bashes).

The pretty turquoise salon opened last September and has quickly become a favourite with local trendsetters and celebrities. The project is the result of Yulia Rorstrom’s ambition and passion for beauty. This business-savvy lady has created an environment which is both sociable and stylish; I can imagine friends hanging out at the drinks bar, and regular clients laughing in their seats as they choose a dazzling new hairstyle.

A few weeks ago, before attending a sophisticated spring wedding, I visited Duck and Dry for a speedy hair makeover. I’d been feeling a bit low about my drastically short hair so I was hoping a bit of professional styling would freshen my look.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the chic salon was their motto which is written in big pastel pink letters on the wall: ‘Fine feathers make fine birds’. In one corner the sinks and reclining chairs are found amongst the beautiful exotic tiles. There is also a little display of the carefully selected products which are available to buy, I spotted my favourite Davines haircare brand sitting amongst the collection.

My hair was done by the lovely Kirsty O’Brien, who washed my locks before chatting to me about what I wanted. At Duck and Dry they specialise in Blow-drys and Up-dos, and their glossy brochure illustrates the variety of styles available. I chose a mix of beach locks and low tide waves, loose movement which would add volume and character to my limp hairstyle. Using the hairdryer, thin tongs and a few rollers, Kirsty created an entirely new look for me that made me feel confident and proud of my hair! She backcombed a little at the back knowing that over the course of the day my waves were likely to loosen and drop a little. She’d thought of everything.

I highly recommend Duck and Dry, a heavenly place to get your hair in tip top shape and style ready for any big occasion. If I could afford it I’d be there everyday!

More information and book an appointment at Duck and Dry here.

Medlar, Chelsea

Medlar is found tucked away on the King’s Road in Chelsea, a popular haunt for the local A-listers and Sloanies. We spotted some of the Made in Chelsea cast sashaying down the street outside the restaurant, marking their territory as we settled into a lovely window-facing table. Inside, the clientèle were obvious foodies relishing the thoughtful dishes and superior wine list. The simple décor is modest and unpretentious with striking artwork adding colour to the walls, plain wooden floor and white clothed tables all creating a calm ambience letting the culinary aspect steal the limelight.

The lunch menu is detailed and lengthy with, if anything, too much choice. Two courses cost £30 or it is £35 for three. Unrecognisably exotic ingredients pop up all over the place adding a touch of excitement to classic dishes. Fish features heavily (not ideal for a non-seafood eater like myself) and seasonal specialities appear showcasing the finest and freshest ingredients.

There were many memorable highlights of our meal. Delicately flavoured crab ravioli with an eclectic combination of ingredients (samphire, brown shrimps, fondue of leeks and bisque sauce) was a hit. I thought the artistically presented English asparagus with tomatoes, ravigote, st maure frais mousse, rapeseeds and tapenade was perhaps the best vegetarian dish I have ever tasted; vibrant and delicious. For main course the duck breast was immaculately cooked, surrounded by puy lentils with a light salad, but the true star of the show was the rump of lamb with crisp croquettes which melted in the mouth – it was intensely flavoured and brilliantly paired with sweet carrot puree.

Even desserts here excel, the innovative list is appealing from top to bottom. I chose the intriguing lemon curd beignet with lemon sorbet and Chantilly cream which was a treat, a summery reminder of churros on the beach teamed with a citrus kick from the sorbet and curd. Chocolate tart with salted caramel and praline parfait was imaginatively served, rich dense cake with super sweet sauce and creamy nutty ice-cream, definitely a good choice for the men at the table.

With ex Chez Bruce chef Joe Mercer Nairne in the kitchen and ex Ledbury front of house manager David O’Connor taking charge of the restaurant floor, it is no wonder that I enjoyed every aspect of Medlar so much. Their expertise and creativity shines through in this perfectly balanced restaurant offering beautiful and tasty food.

More information and book here: