Chelsea’s oldest pub, The Cross Keys, is set to reopen its doors on 5th March 2015 following an extensive refurbishment under new owners, DM Group. Publicans Mark Dyer and Eamonn Manson of DM group, the duo behind Fulham pubs The Sands End and The Brown Cow, will restore the iconic 80 cover pub to the local Chelsea hub that it once was. DM Group hopes to emulate their trademark rustic ‘country pub’ vibe at The Cross Keys while maintaining a number of the pub’s original features, including a wood burning fire and exposed brick walls. Adding to its character, handpicked antiques such as original 18th Century Portuguese panelling and a scattering of early 19th Century Parisian street lamps, will give the pub an aged look and feel. On entering The Cross Keys, which also preserves the original façade, a traditional oak bar made with reclaimed wood follows familiar DM Group designs found throughout their other sites. At the rear, antique mirrors and cosy chocolate-brown banquettes run along the back wall of the dining room, whilst above a vast skylight floods the space with natural light.
The menu at The Cross Keys will be devised by Head Chef Natasha Cooke, previously Sous Chef at Chelsea’s Michelin-starred Medlar, with support from DM Group Executive Chef, Oliver Marlowe. Quality ingredients will be used to create a menu suitable for all occasions, from traditional British pub classics to innovative, seasonal plates with European influences. For those who prefer to sit at the bar, The Cross Keys will offer an array of bar snacks including the group’s signature Scotch Egg (£5), Sausage roll (£4.50) and Welsh rarebit (£4). When it opens in March the dining menu will feature starters such as Warm cured sea trout with toasted quinoa, pickled fennel and crème fraiche (£8) and Rabbit ravioli with carrot and cumin puree, broad beans, mustard and pea shoots (£9). Main courses will include Confit lamb belly with potato gratin, turnip puree, onion rings and salsa Verde (£18); and Cornish mussels with ‘nduja, leeks and samphire (£16.50), alongside more traditional and simple dishes of Oxtail and Stout Pie (£16.50) and Ale battered hake and chips (£15.50). The dessert menu will feature Lemon tart with blackberry sorbet (£6.50) and homemade vanilla yoghurt with rhubarb and ginger compote (£6.50).
A range of cask ales, fine lager and craft beers will be available along with a wine list that focuses on accessibly priced bottles from wine estates around the globe.
Nestled between the King’s Road and Cheyne Walk, The Cross Keys has been part of the Chelsea community for over 300 years. Opening in 1708, it fast became a well-known institution serving the likes of Dylan Thomas, Agatha Christie, Bob Marley and the Rolling Stones. When the pub closed in 2012, following a short term ownership by Andrew Bourne, The Cross Keys attracted large-scale media attention when squatters took over the unused building. Much to the delight of the Chelsea community, a local campaign to overturn the planning application for a residential complex was successfully won, allowing DM Group to come on board and return their local pub to its former glory.
Over the last 10 years more than 1,000 pubs have closed in London, with an average of two each year closing in Chelsea alone since 1980. The new owners, Dyer and Manson, are eager to reverse this trend by investing in the ‘Great British Pub’ industry through projects such as The Cross Keys. “Pubs are an essential part of British culture,” says Dyer, “and we felt that in resurrecting such an iconic pub that we are able to contribute to our British heritage in some way.”
On the re-launch Manson adds, “Our pubs quite simply follow an ethos of attention to the important details of service, food and ambience. We want customers to walk into the new Cross Keys regardless of whether it’s to sit quietly with a pint, a Scotch egg and newspaper or to visit with friends and family to sample an excellently cooked meal in our main dining room.”
The Cross Keys will open on 5th March 2015 and will accommodate reservations for the main dining room as well as walk-ins. Reservation lines are now open on 0207 351 0686 or alternatively booking is available online at thecrosskeyschelsea.co.uk
1 Lawrence Street
Monday – Saturday: 10am to 12am
Sunday: 10am to 11pm
Weekend brunch served from 10am