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Colbert – le café de Chelsea

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If The Wolseley and Fischer’s, both splendid examples of Corbin & King’s empire of admirable hostelries, were inspired by Mitteleuropean café society, Colbert is the Parisian version.  As the owner’s blurb puts it, it is “inspired by the great boulevard cafés of Paris… open for breakfast until post-theatre, seven days a week.”

Looking into the dining area from the bar

The formula is a familiar one, based on the brasserie model of reasonably affordable, reasonably good food and drink (not haute cuisine), served at all hours.  In this specific incarnation, the décor swerves more towards the generically ‘retro’ or ‘period’ than convincingly Edwardian spots like The Wolseley and The Delaunay.  On the other hand, the addition of French classics like Soupe à l’Oignons, Escargots à la Bourguignonne and Skate Grenobloise are a nice site-specific feature, at Colbert.

The space is divided between two principal sections.  There is a deep, narrow room with a long zinc bar and café tables.  As in other Corbin & King establishments, they provide newspapers and the general feel is that of a buzzy but not too self-conscious bar on the Continent.  The other space is a bright dining room with plenty of plush, welcoming banquette seating and more of a relaxed restaurant vibe.

The long, zinc-topped bar

The great thing about a well-balanced place like Colbert is its versatility.  You could come here for after-work drinks, take your Saturday-night date, meet friends for brunch, etc.  The effect is arguably  less grand and elegant than other C&K places but rather more dégagé, without forgoing a sense of refinement.

Dinner service


50-52 Sloane Square, SW1W 8AX
Tel.: 020 7730 2804

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