From one dingy former council house to a room next to an abandoned hospital in which the basement lights came on at night, I have lived in some horrible places. To endure the never-ending damp, the biting coldness in winter and the brown carpets, I spend my days dreaming of proper grown-up houses which I could decorate with endless fairy lights and patterned cushions. If these fantasies took bricks and mortar form, they would look something like Artist Residence in Pimlico, a hotel that could plaster every interior-based Instagram feed. Along with several rooms, the spot also houses a restaurant, The Cambridge Street Kitchen, which is much more than just a pretty face, as we found out.
Venue and atmosphere
It seems like most places in London are former pubs, luckily for us, the Victorians' love of boozing has handed us an endless amount of interesting buildings. The Cambridge Street Kitchen is one such building, which has opened the space out, creating an L-shaped restaurant with an open kitchen in its right angle. The front of the restaurant is lined by a long seating shelf topped with swirling patterned cushions, walls are covered in bold-coloured artwork, and a neon sign reading 'this is where the magic happens' glows above the working chefs.
Artist Residence London could be anywhere; despite being moments from Victoria station, the place feels more like a country pile a million miles away from the city's endless humdrum. The entire building is a labyrinth of rooms and personalities; upstairs The Cambridge Street Kitchen smacks of sophistication and fine dining. Head downstairs to find the spot’s naughtier side, with an underground cocktail bar lit almost entirely by neon art. If you’re looking for cosy, the snug is straight out of Alpine territory with a fireplace and ping pong table through to a second room.
Food and Drink
It seems that the duo behind Artist Residency and The Cambridge Street Kitchen took the ‘art’ ethos seriously with a kitchen that creates plates pretty enough to be mounted on the wall. It’s not just my eyes that were treated, every bite was a symphony of different flavours. Head chef Elliott Miller has created a concise menu of only four options for both starters and mains, all comprising of the fresh and seasonal. From the two fish starters I went for the tuna tataki (£11) while my companion opted for the meat: quail (£13). The tuna, which was flash-seared to leave the inside raw, melted on my tongue like rice paper; pineapple, wasabi and wisps of radish added bite. The quail was similarly delicious, though far richer as the bird was served in a thick, buttery sauce and sprinkled in popcorn and sweetcorn chunks.
The main menu, which changes regularly, reflected the sudden chill of autumn September has brought on with plates of steak, poultry and mushrooms. I swapped guinea fowl for duck breast (£24) which was again pink in the middle and on a bed of kale and meaty chanterelle mushrooms. Sirloin steak (£26) was covered in tenderstem broccoli and a salty anchovy butter. To match the strong food menu, The Cambridge Street Kitchen has an equally impressive wine list; glasses can be paired with each dish, or go for a whole bottle - I recommend the Bonfire Hill, a South African red.
Dessert comes in the form of cheese boards and chocolate mousses, but even better are the cocktails down in Clarendon Cocktail Cellar. All based on movies, drinks include Titanic (£9) which was a mix of sea salt, rose, Plymouth gin, and a great chunk of ice. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (£8.50) came with Swedish staples Aquavit and Lingonberry jam for a bitter and sharp drink.
Everyone needs a retreat, a break from London life; mine usually happens after too many bottomless brunches resulting in traipsing back to the countryside for some r&r. No longer. The Cambridge Street Kitchen is a sanctuary from London life which wraps you up in their world of gastro cooking, gorgeous artwork and dreamy interiors. Go and get lost in the labyrinth of rooms, from tucked away snug to sexy cocktail bar, just don't blame me if you never want leave.