The Collection originally opened in the late 1990s and, with its infamous Norman Foster catwalk-style entrance, was for many years home to the rich, the famous and the fashionable. Having fallen from favour and slipped ignominiously into closure, it reopened again in October 2011 with love and attention heaped upon it by the uber-trendy Design Studio (under the direction of Tom Dixon), a Mediterranean-style menu in its mezzanine restaurant and a stylish ground floor bar.
Upstairs, where the restaurant action takes place, tables overlook eclectic artwork, modern installations and the buzzy bar below. To begin, a number of diverse small plates feature in place of more traditional starters. On ELLEuk's visit these ranged from smoked squid and haricot beans with chilli to delicious burrata with some seriously high-quality extra virgin olive oil. In fact, The Collection excels at olive oil bread comes with three varieties (infused with truffle, lemon or basil), all of which are delicious. Other small plates included seared veal fillet with watercress and salsa verde, which was cooked to perfection with a deliciously tangy marinade, and smoked duck with green beans and sesame, which had a very clean and fresh taste (although the duck slices could have done with being a bit thicker to add more texture to the dish).
On the whole, main courses were ever so slightly less exciting than the small plates - but tasty all the same. The lamb shank with pistachio sauce and artichoke puree was a triumph and the complimenting flavours fused together to produce a really interesting result. Desserts follow the same Mediterranean theme and included Greek yoghurt panna cotta and warm pistachio tartlet with white chocolate mousse (which is highly recommended).
While the re-launch of The Collections restaurant is a success, the massive industrial warehouse-like premises (think more East End local than posh Chelsea hangout) is still something of a problem. And if the sheer enormity of the space makes it difficult to operate solely as a restaurant, the club-style feel created by the ground floor bar means that the atmosphere of the exposed mezzanine restaurant wont be to everyones taste. The food definitely exceeded expectation, but you can be left feeling like youve just stepped out of a noisy nightclub rather than having enjoying a sophisticated meal.
The ELLEuk Score
Style of food: Mediterranean
Good for: buzzy date; group birthday dinner; pre-dancing; weekend brunch
Prices and Other Details at The Collection
Address: 264 Brompton Road, London SW3 2AS
Opening times: 10am to midnight daily
Average price per person for two-course meal without wine: £35
Price of bottle house wine: £25 Gavi DOCG, Riva Leone (White), £22, Merlot, Saint Etalon (Red)
Price of glass house wine: £6.50 White as above, £7 Red Corbieres, Vieilles Vignes Chateau Saint Eugene
Price of glass house champagne: £9.25 Pommery Brut Royal
Price of bottle house champagne: £65, as above
Private dining? Watch this space. Details to be unveiled.
Outside dining? No
Bar? Yes. For non-diners too
Best tables? Close to the balcony for people-watching at the bar below
Who goes? The Chelsea Euro set and those looking for big night out
Nearest tube: South Kensington