Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published October 18th 2010
'Mess' isn't the most apt name for the restaurant nestling up to the side of the Saatchi Gallery. Its high, white vaulted roof and exposed brick walls actually make it a very neat looking space. And even when you add the pieces of art that have seeped out of the gallery proper and into the restaurant – including a rather risqué piece which is best described as a neon lass who's forgotten to put her knickers on on a windy day - it's still an interior designers dream not nightmare. The messy reference is to this once being the mess hall for the Duke of York's 1000 men, who would have cultivated quite an appetite marching up and down that hill.
The art, suitably, does play a big role here, and they have a list on their website to let you know who they're displaying, but luckily the food is to eat, not just to look at. They serve everything from light brunch snacks until a late supper, including a very good three tiered afternoon tea. From midday you can order from the main, seasonal menu, on which you'll currently find such widely varied fare as: salmon fishcakes with caviar crème fraîche, braised hoi sin glazed pork ribs, salt beef with carrots and Irish stew. They also do a burger that some reviewers say is one of the best in London.
It's not priced in quite the same league as you might have feared, considering the location and the fact that it's part of the gallery - and that the art on the restaurant walls is for sale. And the staff aren't as stuffy as you might imagine they're going to be. They often do seasonal special menus priced as reasonably as £20 a head. But one of their best specials is their Monday night classic meal with a twist, which does what it promises, serving a fresh take on a well loved classic.
If the weather is right people compete to sit outside, but you'll be missing eating with the art in a really special space if you do.