Gallery Mess Cafe/Bar
The Mess is as close as us lot will ever get to eating in London chez Nigella (Lawson) and Charles (Saatchi), the power couple behind domestic goddessery and British contemporary art. So-called for being, like the gallery (see Culture), within the Duke of York’s Headquarters – the handsome Georgian institution that’s previously housed the Territorial Army – the Mess is amply in keeping with the London trend for quality eateries in art galleries. Although it’s not Nigella, but the respected ‘food design’ company, Rhubarb, at the helm, her casual culinary influence is evident. Legend has it that she’s scoffed everything here, but then choice is mercifully limited: Spanish charcuterie, chic salads (eg Nicoise) and retro classics (bangers and mash, sundaes, crumbles and sponges), all delivered with utmost professionalism. There are also pastries for breakfast, all-day bar snacks and afternoon tea (2.30-6pm), as well as wines, champagnes, proseccos and pitchers of Pimm’s (potentially dangerous when surrounded by artworks for sale). The high-ceilinged, whitewashed space (all vaulted walls, exposed sandstone brickwork and Vitra furniture) serves as a calming antidote to abstract art and King’s Road crowds. Even Nigella, a local, is occasionally spotted taking refuge.