London is constantly evolving and developing, with new residential communities, shops, and restaurants popping up all over the city every year. One of the most significant of these in recent times has been Chelsea Harbour.
Work on the development began in May 1986, and for decades, the project stood out as the single largest construction site in the UK. What has been created from land that had been an often-ignored industrial area is pretty incredible. It’s now one of the most desirable postcodes in London with its stylish waterside living, stunning views, and exclusive village feel.
And we’ll experience just that with dinner at ESTIVA Bar & Restaurant in the Chelsea Harbour Hotel. The five-star hotel opened in 1990 and sits on the water, making the most of the views. On a wintery December night, ESTIVA feels cosy and welcoming and the lights in the harbour twinkle and glow, creating beautiful reflections on the water. And, as it’s Saturday, there’s live jazz playing in the restaurant. So, there’s a great ambiance and the perfect backdrop to an indulgent dinner.
Mediterranean flavours inspire the menu, and it certainly has a deluxe feel, fitting for its elegant surroundings. There’s a Surf & Turf buffet with an extravagant display of cold delights, but we’ve decided to go a la carte. Our shellfish starters are delicious – my mango, prawn and crayfish salad comes with a zingy dressing and as it’s three of my favourite ingredients on one plate, I know I will love it. Which I do. My dining companion opts for a prawn cocktail – it’s hard to beat a perfectly prepared classic, which is precisely what this is.
The main courses include chicken, steak, seafood, fish, and vegetarian options. I celebrate with a grilled whole lobster as it’s the festive season. It’s large, grilled to perfection with light garlic butter, and easy to eat as it’s prepared just the way it should be. The rib eye steak is served deliciously medium rare. We complete our selection with a portion of hand cut chips (the best chips I’ve had in a long time) and steamed greens. Desserts follow the menu’s pattern – a selection of classics, including lemon meringue pie, cheesecake, and Black Forest gateaux.
It’s always a pleasure to enjoy classic dishes well prepared with lovely live music playing, and the setting couldn’t really get more beautiful. Except for the fact that you can dine on the terrace in the summer and soak up more of the unique spirit of Chelsea Harbour and ESTIVA Bar & Restaurant al fresco. And there’s a selection of ocean-inspired cocktails, too. We’ll be back!
Words by Sandy Cadiz-Smith