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On Sunday I went with my partner and a dear friend to Cheyne Walk Brasserie.
We felt like a long and leisurely lunch, over three courses, with plenty of wine, and we were prepared to pay for the privilege. That we did - our bill came to £550. We didn't mind - we knew it wasn't going to be a cheap day - and we wanted to kick back, chill out, and enjoy ourselves.
I'm sure the Cheyne Walk Brasserie's management and staff would be pleased, if unsurprised, to hear that we'd selected their restaurant for the purpose described.
After all, its own website describes it as follows: "Cheyne Walk Brasserie offers simple yet brilliantly executed brasserie dishes in a luxurious Chelsea riverside setting. It is the culmination of simple creative ideas, founded in design, historical value and a passion for food and drink. Once a Victorian pub, 50 Cheyne Walk has metamorphosed into a chic, modern definition of a brasserie and salon. At the centre of the Belle Epoque dining room is an open grill where much of the Provencal inspired menu is prepared, including specialties such as rack of Pyrenean lamb and grilled sea bream."
That's all true. However, we bargained without one very surprising problem - a problem that utterly ruined our visit - namely that, once a family group of about 12 had finished eating, the parents continued to sit at their table, enjoying Cheyne Walk Brasserie in exactly the way described on its website, and in exactly the way we'd hoped to enjoy it, but allowing their 4 or 5 children to run amok in a way that wouldn't be tolerated at McDonald's.
And before you write me off as a silly old killjoy who hates kids, actually that isn't the case. You weren't there. You didn't see quite how wild these infants were permitted to run. To and fro they sprinted, colliding with our table and chairs, shrieking as they did so, rolling around the floor around our feet, play-fighting, etc, while their parents continued to sip Chablis 1er Cru and chattered on about SW3 house prices and whether to buy another Discovery next time or perhaps trade up to a Cayenne.
Meanwhile, the Cheyne Walk Brasserie staff did nothing, despite the fact that we politely drew the absurdity of the situation to their attention.
When, finally, the group in question had slung their hooks, a waitress walked over to our table and said, with a conspiratorial shrug, "Thank God they've gone." Well, yes, of course, thank God indeed. But in truth that token of solidarity was too little too late.
So will we visit Cheyne Walk Brasserie again? Perhaps for dinner, yes, but never never never for lunch, no. I recommend that you, dear reader, observe the same policy.
Comment on this reader review
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 4
Tuesday, October 29, 2013