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London Gastro Boy’s guide to the best Christmas treats in Chelsea

London’s most clued-up foodie reveals his favourite treats, just in time for Christmas

21 December 2023

Christmas is only a week away, and the area around Sloane Street is my go-to for shopping, nipping into Peter Jones to pick up some essentials for the big day and, of course, eating. From the well-known to the need-to-know, I’ve done the legwork to help you find the best puds, panettone and limited-edition treats this Christmas.

Panettone At Cantinetta Antinori

Cantinetta Antinori, the Florentine winemaking dynasty of over six centuries, brings its Tuscan hospitality and recipes to Harriet Street, just off Sloane Street. If you only have one panettone for Christmas this year, make it the restaurant’s exquisite Panettone All’Albicocca – an artisanal apricot treat served with icing sugar and custard. It’s the same one Cantinetta Antinori serves in its Monaco restaurant and is a favourite of the Giraudi family, who are partners in the London outpost. This is one traditional, elegant and refined Christmas treat.

Anya Café’s Festive Afternoon Tea

Anya Hindmarch’s Village on Pont Street is dedicated to all things creative and sustainable, and its frequent pop-ups, which feature special editions, quirky installations and collaborative items, often disappear faster than that recent Anya x Uniqlo collection. 

The legendary Anya Grotto is now in residence, but if Santa is fully booked, pop into the Anya Café next door and enjoy the Festive Afternoon Tea with seasonal sandwiches (egg mayo cut into the shape of a Christmas tree, and salmon into the shape of a gingerbread person), and delight in the snow-dusted blackberry caterpillar tart. Wash it all down with champagne or a hot drink topped with those omnipresent Anya “eyes”. The smiley-face mince pies, with their buttery shortcrust pastry, also make fantastic stocking fillers.

Mulled wine at Sir Frank’s Bar

Slip into Beaverbrook Town House and head to the art-deco Sir Frank’s Bar for drinks and board games. Pull up a seat at the bar and enjoy a warming glass of mulled wine served from a vintage copper teapot, and enjoy the bar’s beautiful Japanese-inspired interiors, lacquered walls and leather booths. Certainly not style over substance.

Parlour by Ice Cream Union’s festive flavours

Next, head to Pavilion Road – the “hidden” mews street full of artisan food, beauty, fashion and restaurants. For a quick treat, pick up one of the festive flavours at Parlour by the Ice Cream Union, which for the past 12 years has been producing ice creams and sorbets for many of London’s top restaurants and chefs. Their limited-edition mince pie ice cream and cherry sorbet are super festive and delicious, and make a great snack mid-shopping trip.

Ottolenghi’s Christmas pudding

This Christmas, Ottolenghi has put a Middle Eastern spin on the traditional Christmas pudding (of course). Made from a family recipe, this pud has Lebanese arak, dates, dried figs, almonds, orange zest, orange blossom water, aniseed and plenty of ginger. It is moist, spicy, boozy and very aromatic. The pudding also comes wrapped in a limited-edition cloth designed by artist Ivo Bisignano.

The Carlton Tower Jumeirah’s French toast

If you have time to spare, escape the crowds into The Carlton Tower Jumeirah on Cadogan Place, just off Sloane Street, and head into The Chinoiserie for its signature dessert French Toast. You’ll thank me later. It is an utterly divine guilty-pleasure of warm, homemade brioche soaked in crème anglaise, with torched caramelised brown sugar and vanilla ice cream. I was still thinking about it, days later.

Christmas in Chelsea is always special, with the many boutiques, restaurants and hotels dressed to impress, reminding us that the party season is in full swing. Sparkling lights illuminate every street, while the neighbourhood’s traditional townhouses are decked in festive fare, and you’ll find some of the best spots to eat, drink and be merry in all of London. If you only do one more thing this festive season, head to Chelsea and be swept up in the glamour and beauty of one of the city’s most stunning boroughs.

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Photography: London Gastro Boy

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