It's not often that you visit a restaurant and are so swept up in how amazing it was that you cannot stop thinking about how perfect it all was. The formula for my idea of a perfect restaurant is quite simple - well-designed, welcoming interior with a buzzy atmosphere, fresh and flavourful food served by friendly, efficient staff who are there but not there - if you see what I mean. When all those components come together, the result is quite spectacular but not in a booming fireworks way, more like an understated perfection kind of way.
So when you find a restaurant that ticks all your boxes, you want to tell the world - hence this blog post. I went to Medlar with a group of interior design bloggers during London Design Festival to celebrate the launch of Fromental's new showroom in Chelsea Design Harbour (separate post coming soon). For me, it was perfection.
As soon as we walked through the door, we were greeted by a member of the waiting staff who ushered us quietly up to the private dining room to join the rest of the party. The restaurant is beautifully designed with an excellent layout including my personal favourite restaurant feature of all time: booths.
At Medlar, the booths seat up to six which I've always thought is a pretty perfect number of people to go out to dinner with. I've always loved the cosiness that you get in a booth - it also helps block out everyone else's conversation. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to sit in a restaurant with zero atmosphere, but I'm pushing 35, and a large part of my teenage years were spent pacing around listening to ridiculously loud grunge music so my ears really aren't quite what they should be.
I am also a big fan of the designer's use of that stunning green which is accented throughout the restaurant and anchors the entire scheme so effectively - the result is really quite marvellous. It's a perfect shade of green - classic and contemporary at the same time. I love it.
I really love the antique effect distressed mirror, it reflects the light really gently and makes the restaurant feel spacious and roomy. Lighting is such a tricky thing to get right in restaurants, but Medlar absolutely nail it with beautiful lamps giving a soft warm glow with spotlights above for a bit more precision.
Medlar is owned by Joe Mercer Nairne and David O'Connor. It is their first restaurant venture and their aim was quite simply to provide fantastic food and service in a relaxed environment. Tick, tick and tick.
After attending Eton and Oxford University, where he read Archaeology and Anthropology, Joe embarked upon his culinary career. He first attended Leith's School of Food and Wine in 2001, only deciding afterwards to make cooking his profession. I love that he changed professions to do something he was really passionate about - it really does change your life when you get up in the morning and look forward to going to work.
Joe's experience prior to Medlar included roles at Carluccio’s, The Savoy Grill and Chez Bruce, along with a spell in Sydney working at Neil Perry’s Rockpool. Meanwhile, David started his career working as a waiter at his parents' restaurant on The Wirral before moving to Alexander House in West Sussex.
He moved to London in 1998 to work at The Orrery restaurant and worked under Patrick Fischnaller and Chris Galvin before moving to Nigel Platts-Martin’s The Square in 1999, he stayed with the group for 12 years managing front of house at 3 of the restaurants; Chez Bruce, The Square and The Ledbury.
Doesn't the food look delicious? Zomg, it was so so so good. Everything was so carefully prepared and bursting with flavour. I am allergic to milk which always makes going out for dinner a tiny bit hazardous so I did call ahead and let them know I was one of those annoying types. The waiting staff could not have been more gracious, not to mention creative. It was a wonderful night - thank you so much to the London Fromental team and Modenus for hosting the evening.
Medlar Restaurant, 438 Kings Road, Chelsea SW10 0LJ
Tel: 020 7349 1900
All images: Medlar Restaurant