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Easy Is As Easy Does!
The Big Easy (Chelsea)
Member Name: T4imbo3107
The Big Easy (Chelsea)
Advantages: Quality food.
Disadvantages: You pay for the area.
There are times that I like to eat out and eat well and Easter is always a time that I tend to meet up with friends for a meal, as a person who is regularly in the Chelsea area on a Saturday afternoon for the Football the invitation to join a few friends for dinner at The Big Easy was an easy offer to accept without pause or hesitation, after all this is a place that I have seen from the Bus when going down the Kings Road and a place that I have had a hankering to go to for a while as on the occasions that I have passed the place always seems to be busy whether it's a lunchtime or an evening. So the location of the restaurant is the western end of the famous Kings Road in Chelsea. An area that you can easily see a plethora of supercars simply travelling the road to what can only be perceived as showing off, after dark the whole area changes. The shops shut and the bars and nightclubs come alive and a younger clientele appear dressed to the nines for a night of clubbing to which the area has plenty to choose from.
The Big Easy is situated right in the middle of this area, and for a restaurant that bills itself as an American BBQ, Crab and Rib-shack restaurant the size of the place is on the small side. However it is based over two floors and I recommend if you do visit to get a table downstairs as the atmosphere is better than upstairs where I have found its mainly families with young children, also the basement area has a small stage that on a Saturday night you may find that your table is right up against and the speakers are almost sitting on your table! As this is an American diner the theme is kind of a mix of surfing and Americana as the walls are decorated with items that add to the ambiance of the restaurant. The lighting is not the brightest either as it's enough to see what you are eating yet can easily be considered to be on the dark side. That was downstairs and upstairs is brighter by far. This is also where the bar is located and this area can get very busy, overall this is again a small area and the seating always goes quickly, it's interesting to note that the bar is used as a potential overflow area when the tables have reached capacity. Music is piped over all areas, unless a band is one downstairs.
We had a table for four booked for 1930, however due to the Football game we attended we didn't arrive till 1945. We were met with stern faces as our table was about to be given away to someone else and we were labelling a non-arrivals! The problem is here that you are only given a two hour window in which to eat and drink and of course if you are late then either your time is reduced or an automatic cancellation is applied. In our experience upon arrival we did state that we had not received any phone call with regards to our pending arrival as the restaurant when booking said they would call to confirm we were still taking place, anyway we were shown to our table downstairs and felt that we had to order quickly as we were now up against the clock.
The scope of food is amazing, from a whole rack of Ribs to Burgers and Steaks, I got the impression that the seafood was the signature dish as Shrimps, Lobster and Prawn were prevalent on most of the menu items with Combo's for two and a mix of meat and fish if needed. Not a big fan of Lobster as for me its always the Steak and the taste of the meat in the way its being prepared, needless to say that I wasn't let down by reading that all Steaks have been 35 day matured. From this I knew that the flavour was there and immediately knew that I had made up my mind. I like the food in this place, it serves a Double Cut Steak in various forms such as T-Bone and Rib Eye, and however the size isn't the issue as it's a hefty piece of meat in the region of 700gm which does fill the plate, the thing that gets me is the starting price - £23.90 gets the meat only with garnish. If you want fries or sauce or even a side then that's extra, so what starts of at £23.90 easily goes up to £35 plus drinks! With Jumbo Shrimp to start with, delivery of 5 big Shrimps on a plate with sauce and salad and the Steak as the main course, a few bottle of Budweiser bought my bill for me to a staggering £59 including service! Okay that's a lot of money in this climate at the moment and I wouldn't personally tend to go here regularly, but you do tend to get a decent sized portion with what you order, we were waiting around 15 minutes for starters and then a further 20 minutes for mains to be delivered which I thought was an acceptable time to let the food go down and talk amongst ourselves, as I said earlier we were now up against the clock and because of this we weren't allowed to have dessert at the table and advised that we had to sit at the bar if we wanted our last course, this was when we decided to pay and to leave. I would have thought that a little flexibility could have been applied as we were still in our reduced time slot, so the night ended on a down point. The quality of the food is very good and the Shrimps were tasty and succulent, the Steak cooked to how I like the meat when I ask for it to be well done and it was tasty and yet we felt like we were being rushed which I thought wasn't really fair and meant that we were unable to relax.
Service wise the Waitress couldn't do enough for us on our visit and was checking up on us just enough to ensure that the drinks never ran dry and that our food was satisfactory, this was appreciated as some members of our party wanted additional sides and these were ordered and delivered with a quick turnaround without hesitation. I did feel sorry for her when she was speaking to us about our time limit as she wasn't being awkward, but did sympathise with us and was very apologetic in her approach. In the end we left at 2130 and went to a local pub to have a last beer, we didn't feel that we had relaxed as much as we should have and were quite disappointed with this. Okay we were late and we knew we had broken the agreement that is taken out when booking, however the restaurant could have been a little more flexible in their approach and this upset the people I was with as they go here once a month to eat so they weren't too impressed with the whole experience. As we left there was quite a few people outside smoking which made the place look even more busier than when we arrived, there were also black cabs pulling up as well and these were being taken very quickly, in fact over a space of 10 minutes we saw a steady influx of cabs coming and going, so I think its safe to say that it's a hotspot in the Kings Road.
I had never seen a queue at the men's lavatories in a Restaurant till now, and was surprised that I was part of the assembled males waiting outside, in fact it was quite embarrassing as given the seating is quite tight on both levels the queue was starting to into the seating area, anyway the lavatories were clean and decorated brightly. With only two Urinals and a cubicle available for a place that could easily seat in the region of 150 people, I was a little surprised by this.
Overall I do rate The Big Easy as a place to eat, but I do understand the level of service has dropped in recent months and even though I could probably see this on my visit with other customers I couldn't. The location of the place has disadvantages, these are painfully obvious such as the only way to get here is by bus or taxi as the place is nowhere near a tube or train station with Victoria being the nearest mainline station some 15 minutes away by bus. As most of the turnings off the Kings Road are residential the parking falls under permit holders as the area is made up of residential squares and terraces and therefore the area has been given a substantial amount of double yellow lines that immediately prevents parking in the vicinity. I did enjoy my visit as I enjoyed the quality of the food, however I wouldn't go at a peak time such as a Saturday again as its simply not worth the hassle as the place beyond capacity, I would rather go on a weeknight and experience the happy hour and a nice meal, on the flip side there was a good atmosphere and the band did get the place rocking.
Summary: Well worth a visit.