The Saatchi Gallery in Duke of York Square is rated as one of the best in the world, so it’s little wonder that the restaurant adjoining it pulls out all the stops for diners, be they fresh from wandering the gallery itself, or weary-legged after a hard day’s shopping on the nearby Kings Road.
Gallery Mess is a relaxed restaurant for passing visitors, but also a desired destination in itself. With displays of decadent modern art adorning the exposed brickwork walls, and the best service you will have experienced in years, this really is a cut above the rest.
My companion and I headed down to the all-day eatery for a long and lazy Sunday Brunch, the all-day brunch being a new speciality in the venue’s offerings. With options of bottomless prosecco, champagne or bloody marys we had put all other plans on hold and decided to make a day of it, and boy were we glad we had?!
Having been greeted by Nelson, our waiter for the day, we sat down at a table overlooking the terrace and entrance to the adjoining gallery. With the sun shining through the floor to ceiling windows there was a bright and summery atmosphere inside and out from the moment we walked in. Having handed us our brunch menus Nelson set dishes of fiery-chilli savoury biscuits and marinated green olives on the table, then left us with a glass of fizz while we perused what was on offer.
The menu is divided into breakfast, starters, mains, sides and desserts, but there’s no formality required and you are free to pick and choose from all sections in whatever order you like. So we began with breakfasts of Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine. Poached to perfection and topped with a zesty hollandaise sauce, two eggs sit atop freshly toasted muffins with either bacon or spinach depending on your preference. The dishes are light enough to act as a starter for a lunch, but ample enough to constitute breakfast if you’re visiting earlier in the day.
After a short break we decided to order more dishes to accompany the glasses of delicious champagne that kept arriving at our table. Brought over by Nelson with a smile every time, it’s the touches like never leaving a glass empty or a napkin unfolded that stick in your mind when recommending Gallery Mess to friends. And as the rooms filled up with passing tourists and locals out for a long lunch, we saw that in fact we weren’t that special – everybody received exactly the same First Class treatment.
I ordered the Hass Avocado dish, but mentioned that I wasn’t too keen on the grapefruit listed as an accompaniment. Our server immediately rushed off to talk to the chef and returned seconds later asking if I would enjoy sliced pickled cucumbers instead. It’s worth a try, I thought, and when the meal arrived I was astounded by how exceptionally well the ingredients complemented each other. Tasty, zingy and fresh, the generously portioned salad was a delight. My companion had ordered the cheese board, with cuts of quality brie, cheddar, stilton and more, and served with the most deliciously smokey chutney I have ever tasted, and we enjoyed some freshly baked bread on the side.
If you have room for dessert you must experience the wonder that is the signature pudding of chocolate and beetroot cake. But if you’re feeling a bit full you can just indulge in the creamy cocoa topped truffles brought to your table as an indulgent finish to an impeccably presented meal. There is a variety of teas and coffees to choose from just to drag out your afternoon that little bit longer, should you so wish. It was only when we checked our watches after coffee was served that we realised we had been sitting at our table for more than three hours!
While our visit was leisurely there was no feeling we were outstaying our welcome. Families around us settled in for the afternoon, with children running around on the lush lawns just outside as parents and grandparents talked and laughed beside us. Nelson and his team were incredibly attentive, but not intrusive, allowing us to kick back and relax, and really enjoy our visit.
Be it a catch-up brunch or a family feast – there’s also the option of a full Sunday roast! – Gallery Mess caters for all tastes, groups and requirements. It is open seven days a week – 10am-11:30pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am-7pm on a Sunday.
- To enquire about the restaurant or make a booking call the team on 020 7730 8135 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org