Once an old West London boozer hailed The Goat in Boots, Goat DINE is a slick Chelsea restaurant that takes dashes of Parisian chic, heaps of undone interiors and a pinch of New York to create a West London stalwart.
The Venue and Atmosphere
Whether you love or hate Chelsea, there’s no denying Fulham Road’s style, a stretch of road that has seen more designer shoes than a Milanese catwalk. Having served patrons in one form or another for more than 350 years, Goat DINE sits confidently among the interior shops such as the brilliantly named 'Carpet Diem' and a 1950s cinema. The restaurant is a contradiction with a mash of swanky old Chelsea and the current pared-back fashion of low-hanging lights, Parisian-style tables and chairs muddled up with unpolished wooden benches. In recognition of their namesake, a horned goat bust hangs on the wall alongside a comically medieval-style cartoon of an armoured beast.
On a Wednesday night, every table is full of the young and beautiful; Goat DINE is a spot where you are just as likely to bump into a cast member of Made in Chelsea as a Russian oligarch. Our table was in a hushed corner that overlooked the restaurant and open kitchen with their roaring pizza oven. Barbour-clad couples, friends and even an adorably shaggy dog crowded round candlelit tables, too absorbed in secret sharing to worry about posing.
The Food and Drink
Fusion is the hottest word on the London food scene’s lips, and Goat DINE marries posh pizza and an Italian menu with the flavours of New York. Starters swing from homely artichoke soup (£6) through to Italian-staple calamari fritti (£8). The beef carpaccio (£9) was wisps of barely-there beef, covered in a salty parmesan and truffle shavings that were light enough to leave me wanting more. Tuna tartare (£10) was a neat rectangle of raw tuna and avocado chunks, spiced up with a hint of chilli.
Split between pizza and meat-heavy dishes, the main menu was a mixing of traditional Italian staples smartened up with New York flavours, from wedges of speck, pear and walnuts through to dribblings of chilli-infused honey. A hunk of fleshy monkfish (£21) was delicately wrapped in paper-thin San Daniele ham and sat atop a squid-ink risotto and simple fava bean sauce. The slow-cooked rabbit (£21) was a heartier affair, stewed in a red-wine-like meaty jus and saved from stomach-churning richness with a whipped sweet potato mash. Finish with the vanilla and blueberry cheesecake (£6) which, despite its safe-sounding name, was exquisite, from the fruity coulis down to the hint of rosemary.
Goat DINE is more than just another generic fine-dining restaurant; it toes the line between quirky and sophisticated, clashing exposed-brick walls and industrial-style beams against royal-blue wallpaper and polished wood surfaces. The menu takes simple ingredients and moulds them together to create a whole spectrum of dishes. If you have time, head upstairs to secret speakeasy Chelsea Prayer Room, a cavernous lair of armchairs, velvet curtains and potent cocktails.