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The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar in Chelsea, London

212 Fulham Road, London, Chelsea, London, SW10 9PJ
Cuisine: British Average Price: £35
Tel: 020 7349 9901 | Email to The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar | | Transport: South Kensington | Write review

The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar Review

The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar is featured in these Guides:

Best for: traditional yet modern-day British food of a quality that you aspire to do at home; at-home portion sizes too.

Great: service; extensive wine list that includes English wines.

I like British food, I do, but I’m talking about real British food, not a Shepherd’s Pie ready meal slung in the microwave for a couple of minutes. That, while it may have appropriated the name of said dish, is clearly a very poor derivative. Time has not been kind. See, I can’t even use the word ‘relation’. Think castles and manor houses to slumming it. And while I don’t doubt there’s been many a pauper who have bravely raised their hand in the hope of securing their rightful place back in the castle, let’s face it, it’s not often that they manage to scramble up that mound to get back to noble living. I should mention what is probably obvious by now; I’ve been overdosing on Robin Hood and the like recently.

One thing to note from these films though; at no point did anyone reach for a ready meal and ping open the microwave door. Or even settle down to a home-made version with a couple of boiled carrots in front of the tele. No, they had banquets, huge tables laden with reams and reams of luscious things, a cacophony of colour and sumptuousness. Even the peasants did all right, a nice wild boar roasting merrily on the fire amidst the trees.

And back to reality. I do not live in a forest or castle. Or even a manor house. I live in a dense urban area known as London. But I do like British food. And I like it to be good, very good. And very good British food is a rare commodity, even a decent roast, unless I make it myself, of course.

However, good news in my quest for quality British dishes made from quality British ingredients; I hear that one restaurant on the Fulham Road may have what I’m looking for. I quietly leave my quarters in East London and move west to the land of nobility. I have no lofty title to claim but I wouldn’t mind a decent dinner.

The Penny Black is a discreet restaurant with a black awning, mid-way between Fulham and South Kensington tube. There is no fanfare or trumpets when I arrive, but that’s OK, that’s not what I’m after. We are greeted, however, with a glass of English mead; no, that’ll be my fantasy again. Actually, a surprisingly lovely glass of sparkling wine - Chapel Down, made in Kent - is offered; dry yet not too acidic. I’m impressed and beginning to feel very slightly transported back to a country at one with itself, at one with its lands.

To follow, I ask for scallops and black pudding with horseradish. My Venezuelan fellow questee, though not on English soil for long, is as curious as I am to find out what’s available and orders chicken livers with mushrooms in a devilled sauce. The scallops are tender, as is the liver, and happily I know all the ingredients are sourced as locally as possible.

Now on to full banquet mode; two very large slices of Beef Wellington from the kitchen. I would have preferred it, of course, had we got a mere (i.e. very large) slice from the cow-size Beef Wellington laid out before us on the banqueting table. Still, I think they do that on a Sunday; carve a huge forerib of beef at the table amid piles of roast potatoes and veg and plate-size Yorkshire puddings. The Beef Wellington is large, rich and served with delicately sliced potato and fennel on the side.

Puddings from The Penny Black banquet include English favourites such as baked Alaska and rice pudding. However, the white chocolate cheesecake with strawberries and chocolate terrine with berry sauce would do any noble’s table proud.

We came, we ate, we drink our coffee at the tables outside in the lilting eventide sun and behold our noble post for as long as we can. The wine is soft and sumptuous, a Pinot Noir from New Zealand. There are no turrets, no guards to keep us in check, and there is no title to claim. As peasants we come and as peasants we go but at least we can say we had a seriously good feast. I do like English food. And as much as my curiosity steers towards foreign lands, there can only be merit in taking stock of what’s produced in Britain and using it to make seriously good food. And that’s what The Penny Black is doing. Serious food created with serious ingredients with a homely welcome that would encourage any present-day peasant or nobleman to come forth and seek his rightful place at a plate of high calibre food.

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Customer Reviews for The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar

Average (based on 6 votes): 6 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar.

“The atmosphere in the restaurant is great very friendly, cosy and very welcoming! The service is as good as some of the top restaurants I have dined in, very attentive, friendly and helpful staff. The best part was the food! Amazing menu and every course was just out of this world!!!!! They also have a great selection of wines...just all round perfection! My friends and I have had the best time at The Penny Black. Will be visiting soon for my b'day!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Ishari D, London (5 years 10 months 14 days ago)

“My fourth visit yet only my first review. The Penny Black has been in updating mode since my last visit last year and now has a much better atmosphere with more moody lighting and better separation between the dining room and bar. The bar itself is really buzzy and doesn't feel like an add-on anymore - I would now come here for one of the great cocktails they do without feeling I'm sitting in an airport lounge. The food has also come on leaps and bounds over the last few months and maybe a little less British in style, but all the better for its newfound openness. The tornedos rossini in particular is better than exceptional, possibly right up there with the best Michelin chefs. Prices have come down a touch from what I remember so the value is excellent. Very impressed with the improvements!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Steven, London (5 years 11 months 2 days ago)

“Me and three girlfirends headed here for drinks and dinner just before Xmas and had a great time. The cocktails were amazing and we sat in the bar for over one hour before ordering dinner. The service was great and they didn't rush us into taking our table. The dinner was amazing and even after all the hype on the internet we were still blown away. My friend has never had salmon taste as good as here but the chocolate fondant was on another planet. Our only complaint is the music is a bit too retro and needs to be more modern to make the bar really buzzy. We will all definitely come back.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Martina de Wet, London (6 years 14 days ago)

Show all user reviews for The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar

“A really good find. The service is exceptional and from that a good restaurant can flourish. The meal was very good and substantial which is a nice change from the great-but-need-MaccyDs-afterwards brigade. The wine list deserves a specific mention as it is very well written, comprehensive and brilliantly offers every wine by the glass. We will return to try their Sunday brunch or perhaps a roast beef or two.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Terence White, London (6 years 11 months 4 days ago)

“The effusive review written above gave us enough confidence to visit this new restaurant just round the corner from home. I am thankful that we did venture in as the food is remarkably good, the service spectacular and the atmosphere very cosy. Great local restaurant that will now become one of our regular dinner spots”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Steven, London (7 years 2 months 21 days ago)

“Make no mistake, this place is a great restaurant. No ifs, not buts. In truth the Penny Black was not what I was expecting when I walked through its dark coloured doors. It is neither spit and sawdust nor is it glitzy or glamorous. It is actually rather cool in a modern, discreet, warm style that grows on me as I sit and cast my eye around some modern art. Crisp white linen, weighty cutlery and beautifully shaped glassware helps to convey that this is a serious place, but the easy smiles and graceful yet confident manner of the staff suggest a more laid-back atmosphere. The service was very very good. Although noticeably young as a team, it was evident that our waiter was very well trained and made some excellent wine suggestions to go with our food choices of scallops, pork belly, the obligatory beef wellington and a curious monkfish and beetroot combination. The food was very well-judged on the whole, with robust yet balanced seasoning and an obviously loving attention to the cooking. Scallops with horseradish and black pudding were squishy and tender, perfectly cooked just to the point of tipping from under to just right. Wellington was every bit as good as I had been told it was by friends who had already visited. However I was completely blown away by the pork belly, so much so that I asked to see the chef to find out how the meat was so tender and flavoursome on the bottom, yet roasted to crispy perfection on the top. I have promised not to divulge the exact details, but I can report the liberal use of cider and a roasting technique that is inspired. The rest of the evening melds into one long experience of intimate conversation, flirty touches over an obnoxiously good strawberry shortcake, playful swirling of dessert wine and a late acknowledgement that we never noticed the waiter, despite our glasses always being full and the table clean. My daze was rudely awoken by the extraordinary hand drier in the washroom which was so loud and powerful that it positively shocked me. My umbrella was also mistakenly given out to another customer and I was left with a similar black number, only to find that it inverts with alarming ease and would have been more practical if it had a hole in it instead. Nevertheless, I left feeling overwhelmingly sated, happy in the knowledge that British food is in the seemingly safe hands of a young, talented team at the Penny Black. Oh, that curious monkfish and beetroot combination - much much better than it sounds and I'm having to myself next time.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Terence White, London (7 years 5 months 5 days ago)

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Food

Our food menu is a showcase of great British produce and cuisine. Famous for one of London's best Beef Wellingtons and Sunday roasts, we use only the best locally-sourced produce possible to create an ever-changing menu that reflects seasonal variety. British Isles fish and seafood is very well represented with a stunning grilled lobster as one of the highlights, perhaps partnered with an Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak for a proper surf & turf.

Bespoke menus are available for parties

Updated 12/01/2013

Valentine's Day Dinner
A spectacular Valentine's Day dinner featuring Tornedos Rossini, native lobster, chocolate and champagne!! Four courses and a glass of champagne or a bellini cocktail for just £48 per person!
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Sample Dinner Menu
A sample dinner menu for The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar. Please note that there may be minor variations due to seasonality and/or availability
Download
Spring Menu
Spring has Sprung! New menu, new wines, new cocktails!
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Drinks

The Penny Black is renowned for having over 100 wines all available by the glass or half bottle carafe. Each and every wine deserves its place on the menu - there are no 'fillers' or 'duff' wines - and our passion for wine makes us almost unique in the London restaurant scene.

We also have an extensive cocktail list overseen by a former world champion mixologist and our dedication to serving the highest quality drinks is matched only by the special selection of freshly cooked bar snacks.

Updated 28/12/2012

The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar Wine Menu
The full wine and spirits menu for The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar
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The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar Opening Hours

Monday: Closed Friday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 12:00am
Tuesday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 11:00pm
Saturday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 12:00am
Wednesday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 11:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm
Thursday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 12:00am
   

Additional Information

Special offers, discounts and deals at The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar

Special offers are available in conjunction with the seasonal events we hold during the year

Updated 12/01/2013

Events and other great things going on at The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar

Penny showcases several special menus throughout the year for specific occasions - please look at the events listings for more information

Updated 12/01/2013

The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar Hire Details

The Penny Black Restaurant & Bar has the benefit of having one of Chelsea's largest private dining rooms, that can seat up to 30 people in total privacy (or 60 standing)
Suitable not only for private dining or parties, we cater for corporate meetings, conferences and product showcases.

In addition, there is the possibility of hiring the main floor of the restaurant which can seat up to 50 (or 100 standing).

In all cases, bespoke menus are created for the needs of our clients.

Updated 28/12/2012

Name: Main Floor
Type: Restricted Area
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: Provide your own
Capacity: 50
Notes: The main floor of the restaurant can be hired out as a restricted area, seating up to 50 people for dinner, or 100 standing for canapes and drinks
Name: Private Dining Floor
Type: Private Room
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: Provide your own
Capacity: 30
Notes: Our private dining floor can accommodate up to 30 people seated or 60 people standing in total privacy. Suitable for private parties, corporate events, meetings and product showcases

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