Formerly Chelsea Kitchen, 98 King's Road, London SW3.
tel: 020 75891330 „
Guys, this is wrong.The Stockpot is not the former Chelsea Kitchen.The Chelsea Kitchen was i@ 98 Kings Road and closed in 2006. They reopened in 2009 in Fulham road.The Stockpot is further down at 273 Kings road - and it has always been there.
Still can't believe this place is going, okay it's under a new name of The Stockpot, but in my day this was called The Chelsea Kitchen and was by far the most accessible restaurant on the Kings Road to get a table in. The fact is that the place does a good meal and does it well with the bonus that it is cheap to eat can never be ignored, especially in the present climate. I used to go here when I was a student and the fact that I could get a decent two course meal and drink for under five pounds was something else and to this day the traditional of popping in for a meal and being out within half an hour has yet to stop.
Other Stockpots are located at Leicester Square, St Christopher's Place just off Oxford Street and Old Compton Street in Soho. To me the fact that the Kings Road branch always seems to be packed said a lot about the restaurant itself, as it appears to have changed very little in the 20 years since I've started going here and even though it is basic it still has plenty of character to it and is slightly reminiscent of a 50's Cafe. The location of the Stockpots are quite clever, by no means are these greasy spoons at all and on the flipside they are by no means a world class chain of Michelin rated restaurants either. The food is excellent and service is fast, however they are placed in locations that tend to capture a fair amount of tourists as well as regulars that go there. The Kings Road is no exception as the clientele are mainly people who work in the area and fancy a meal out before going elsewhere, like in my time it caters for students as the prices really can't be argued about at all and surpass places such as McDonalds and Burger King with what there is on offer.
Now lets give you a breakdown, the place has as much seating as you can cram in and although the staff are happy to change the table configuration as necessary they will give any spaces out to others as soon as possible, so if you go on your own then the chances are quite high that you could be seated on a table with complete strangers opposite or next to you. Also the Waitresses can be impatient at times, I think they may be on commission and the fact is they have a lot of people to server so I guess they are feeling the pressure a bit. Don't let this put you off as the atmosphere is always lively due to the fact that you may have in the region of 50 plus people dining in a close vicinity to each other, this makes for overhearing other conversations more of the norm rather than the exception. However everyone keeps themselves to themselves and don't interfere at all. The ambiance is sometimes chaotic and occasionally they have to set a time limit for people to stay as there can be a queue outside, which is noted on the door as you enter and wait to be seated. What I have found is that it depends on the weather and the time of the month as well as more people tends to choose to go here towards the end of the month when money is a little scarcer than at the beginning.
Can't really complain about the quality of the food either, I know they use the lower end of the quality range for the breakfasts as the Sausages tasted funky to say the least, however it is this what keeps the prices down and portion sizes are decent enough so that you wont be hungry an hour later. For example looking at the menu I can see a range of Omelettes and Salads from the Egg to the Hamm with a complete leftfield addition of Sea Bass and Swordfish which I thought for £5.95 was amazing value. In fact that was one of the dearer priced meals as everything else is usually around the £3 to £4 mark, which easily be spent on Starbucks on a single Coffee! Add a drink and dessert and the obligatory service charge then you'll only be out of pocket by £9, or to put it another way if there are two of you and you want something decent to eat then £20 isn't a bad price and seeing as this is on the iconic Kings Road in Chelsea then the location and the cost far outweighs other restaurants locally. There are also other choices such as Casseroles, Pasta, and Spaghetti Bolognese with or without chips; in fact I have found that the Menu is updated accordingly to the seasons due to the fact that you tend to see Soup in the winter while in the summer it is more choices like Salads. I do heartily recommend the Spaghetti Bolognese as you can taste the succulent mince and the Tomatoes. It is normally just as busy at lunchtime as it is in the evening and even then the fixed price menu is a strong option as two people can eat for £5.99 each. One thing I will say is that you can always tell when the Menu has been updated, the Menu itself is laminated and has additional handwritten information stuck over the top of the corrected items and it is quite funny to see this.
The Stockpot is also licensed as well so you can have a Beer with your meal; the range consists of mainly bottled lager or house Wines with all bottle and Alcohol volumes quoted on the menu itself and to be honest isn't really going to increase the cost that much either, £2.50 for a bottle of Becks. The couple that we sat next to had a two course meal and a bottle of house Wine and that came to £23 in total. The look of disbelief on their faces was a joy to watch as they added up their bill again just to double check that the £4.95 bottle of wine they had been served was actually priced correctly on the bill.
For those not drinking, there are a full list of soft drinks such as Coke, Lemonade, Bottle Water and Milk.
To give an idea, this isn't a place where you would take a client to lunch as I suspect they would find it difficult to talk and would want a level of privacy as well. This is the place for a couple who are exploring London to go to for a meal before a film or a show and as I said earlier the restaurants are located in areas where there is a good nightlife and in fact the areas are quite lively at all times anyway. No, the Kings Road branch is a place where you can go for some light lunch or you go as a starter for the evening. I personally like it because the food is freshly prepared and the fact that I can meet friends there to chat and talk, okay at times it can be a bit cramped and loud, but that is part of the character of the establishment, it is the food that people go there for and the prices that do genuinely surprise people.
In this time where we all have to cutback a little for whatever reason it is nice to know that there are places like this that honestly try to keep the eating out an affordable experience and with the wide scope of meals they offer it is a place that I would happily return to again and again, all the more fun to see the world go by in SW1 with a window seat.
I must have eaten in the dear old Chelsea Kitchen in the King's Road, Chelsea a dozen or more times and I reckon it is one of the most reasonably priced eateries anywhere in Chelsea. It is part of the Stockpot chain of eateries and prices are really very moderate. I lived for several years in London as a pretty hard-up postgraduate student and had to watch my pennies. Going to the Chelsea Kitchen did not break the bank. You can get hearty,tasty,soups such as Leek and Potato for approvximately a pound. a lasagne or pizza dish will only set you back two pounds or so and they also have a range of yummy desserts which dont cost a fortune.They also do some nice,simple,inexpensive but healthy salads. The last occasion I eat there my father was paying. He too likes the Chelsea Kitchen and since he is a bit of a gourmet, I was surprised that he too sings the praises of this warm and friendly eatery. Although the main dishes are very reasonably priced he considers they are basically quite good quality. The way I saw him tucking into a apple crumble with great gusto, I think he is right. You can get soft drinks,lagers and glasss of wine and agiain the drinks menu is very moderately priced. A half of lager costs around a pound. A glass of red wine is about Stg1.85, which is really good value. The decor is simple with wooden tables,the service exuberant but friendly, and clearly the place has a lot of very loyal patrons. It gets a thumbs-up from me !
I used to be welcomed with a cheer and a grin when I stepped foot into the Chelsea Stockpot. Presented with mountains of good food and flowing beer, for a few modest pounds. What happened? Well I didn't go into town for a while, so I never noticed a slow change, but I went back last week and boy was it a different experience. Yes, you still get a friendly welcome but they are rather too busy to pay the same special attention. They've gone all posh. Gone are the huge home portions. Gone is the relaxed atmosphere. Gone are the tiny prices! So, what do you get for your bigger bill. You get an upmarket fast-food joint. There is still tons to choose from but it is served within a couple of minutes which makes you wonder how fresh it might be. they have obviously hired more staff both waitressing and in the kitchen. There is heckling from the kitchen and a rushed atmosphere. The pile of chips is now a exhibition of a select few. The salad is no longer a meal in itself but an artistic array of thinly sliced morsels. The beer has gone up £1. I ordered a seafood tagliatelli, which I'd had before but this time the seafood was chewy and the pasta was overdone and sloppy! Before, I could be extravagant and order swordfish, chips and salad (huge portions)for £4.95 and a beer for £1.10. Now it's £6.95 and £2.20 - what's that all about? The place is just the same, greasy cafe style, but they just hung up new pictures! It never was a glamorous hang out but now it's trying to get in with the in-crowd. It just doesn't work! Well they must be doing something right because the place was packed out - perhaps down to advertising. But I know one thing. They've lost a regular.