Arkles - the thoroughbred of restaurants

Chelsea Village, Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London SW6 1HS

Arkles Irish Restaurant in Chelsea Village is named after the great steeple chaser who dominated the jumping scene both in Ireland and in England 30 years ago. He destroyed all the opposition in all but 5 of his races and will always be considered the greatest steeple chaser of all time. There must be plenty of pubs and bars all over the world called the Arkle etc., but this latest venture at the Chelsea Village is aiming to be the best possible tribute to the great horse.

Well just how good is it?

Within Chelsea FC football grounds, is a remarkable selection of restaurants to please varied palates. Among these is the unusual Arkles, which sets out to display Irish Cuisine at its best, raising the standard and satisfying the reality that sophisticated Irish food is certainly available.

All of the ingredients used by Darren, the restaurant's Irish chef, are flown in fresh from Ireland. The menu is enhanced every 6 weeks to reflect seasonal changes and for variety, while there remains a stable foundation consistent dishes.

I started my meal with Cabbage and Bacon soup. This was a wonderful deep green with lumps of bacon and croutons. The soup was hearty and delicious though not overly filling -beware its saltiness. I also sampled the Traditional Irish Smoked Salmon with Soda bread. This was presented with onions and capers and had an unusual hint of lemon, which complimented the salmon nicely. I would thoroughly recommend both of these dishes.

The Grilled Calve's liver with Clonakilty Black Pudding Boxti and Rich Beef Glaze was really really good. As a Scot by heritage, I do like a quality black pudding, which this certainly was. The dish was nicely rounded with onions, parsley and potatoes and beautifully complimented with the beef glaze sauce. This one I'll come back for time and time again. The liver was not delivered "well done" as I'd requested, but this did not mar its superb flavor.

The dessert bowled me over. It was Dark Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Ice Cream and White Chocolate Sauce. In fact the presentation included a string harp made out of crispy caramel, so delicately done it was like lace and a shame to eat. Also the sauce was a mixture of both white and brown chocolate. A sample of the Summer Berries in Chablis Jelly and fresh Raspberry Sauce somehow slipped through me lips too. This was a very refreshing dish and a lot more interesting than it might at first sounds.

I recall a few years ago reading an article in an American Airlines flight magazine about "Scottish Cuisine". At the time I'd never thought of Scottish food as a cuisine, so found the article intriguing. Now I see that there is an excellent Irish Cuisine that can be enjoyed in a warm, cozy Irish horseracing decor. Chelsea Village is certainly a place to visit and the Arkles restaurant is definitely a winner in the tradition of its namesake.

Wally Robertson, October 1999

+44 (0)171 565 1420
+44 (0) 171 565 1421

Price for lunch for two with wine 55

Nearest Underground station: Fulham Broadway
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