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The Short Version: Located in the posh Chelsea district of London, Medlar can offer a taste of upscale dining in a comfortable and relaxed setting. This beloved restaurant has been tantalizing people’s taste buds since 2011, and its seasonal menu always has something new for regulars to try. Couples can elevate their dinner dates by making a reservation at Medlar and sharing a romantic three-course meal.
In 2011, Chef Joe Mercer Nairne drew from his culinary background to open Medlar on King’s Road in London. The independently owned restaurant attracted attention with its sophisticated dishes and beautiful plating, and it soon became synonymous with fine dining in Chelsea district.
Medlar Co-Owner and Manager David O’Connor said the inspiration for Medlar’s name came from a fruit commonly used in medieval dishes. The fruit is referenced in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and has been cultivated since Roman times, so it seemed apropos for the restaurant.
Medlar hearkens back to Europe’s roots and offers a modern take on classic ingredients. Its prix fixe menu and wine list have time-tested favorites reimagined to fit today’s trends.
The culinary team is passionate about innovating in the kitchen and creating one-of-a-kind dishes that make an impression.
“Our style is modern European,” David said. “You can see influences from Britain, France, Italy, and other European countries.”
Over the years, Medlar has satisfied many couples looking for romance and refinement during their evenings out. The restaurant’s comfortable atmosphere, hospitable service, and delectable food all combine to create a quality dating experience no matter where you come from or what you’re celebrating.
The Medlar kitchen uses French-style techniques in many of its most popular dishes, so people often refer to it as a French restaurant. However, the menu features a tapestry of European flavors and ingredients that go far beyond the borders of France.
Couples can spend many pleasant evenings exploring the Medlar menu, which changes to suit the season. The culinary team updates the menu every few months to feature the freshest possible ingredients.
Medlar also has some mainstays on the menu that have proven particularly popular. The crab ravioli is an indulgent and savory starter that consistently gets good reviews from diners. David estimates that Medlar has served over 300,000 crab ravioli dishes over the last nine years.
The prix fixe menu can offer daters a one-course, two-course, or three-course dining experience that fits their budget and their appetite. A discretionary gratuity of 12.5% is added to the total bill.
Couples celebrating an anniversary or proposal tend to want to go all out and enjoy a three-course meal with wine chosen by an expert sommelier.
Medlar has some rather tempting dessert options that can end a date night on a sweet note. The Tarte Tatin is a buttery pastry dish with ice cream that is intended for two people to share. Or couples could go a more savory route and get a selection of cheeses as their dessert course.
Medlar is in the heart of a wealthy neighborhood, so it tends to attract a sophisticated crowd. The restaurant sees a mix of Londoners and out-of-towners looking for a high-end meal that isn’t too high in price. The menu’s prices range enough that it can fit within the budget of a university student or a business executive.
“Our aim is understated excellence,” David said. “Medlar is relaxed and comfortable with friendly service and very good food.”
Medlar offers an elegant dining experience where people can treat themselves to something special and celebrate life’s milestones. The cozy and candlelit atmosphere is perfect for a memorable date night or anniversary celebration.
If you’re planning a large event, Medlar can help set the tone for any type of gathering. The restaurant has a private room where parties of up to 28 people can mark a special occasion. This room has hosted rehearsal dinners, birthday parties, and family reunions, and it offers a prix fixe of Medlar’s signature dishes.
Many couples have left positive reviews of Medlar and called it a hidden gem in the London dating scene.
“Medlar is a top-class restaurant,” said David D. in a five-star review on Facebook. “The food is just stunning and each dish has a twist that makes for some fantastic flavour combinations. The staff are excellent and the wine [is] exceptional.”
“My husband and I visited Medlar for a rare date night out,” said a woman in a glowing TripAdvisor review. “We were not disappointed. The staff were incredibly attentive…and the food was divine.”
One couple traveled all the way from Michigan to celebrate their anniversary by having dinner at Medlar. “Couldn’t have been more pleased,” the couple said in their review. “Wine pairings were outstanding. Perhaps the best dinner of our four days in London.”
“When we see customers enjoying themselves and making memories, it makes us happy because it means we are doing our job,” David said. “Whatever your reason, your background, or your budget, we are happy that you are coming to Medlar and want you to feel relaxed and well cared for.”
Medlar can set the table for a charming dinner date, anniversary celebration, or birthday bash. The prixe fixe menu highlights the traditional flavors of European cuisine, and its reasonable prices make fine dining more accessible to dating and married couples throughout London.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Medlar team faced unprecedented challenges and closed in mid-March as lockdown orders went into place throughout London.
David said the restaurant has been able to endure thanks to the loyalty of its customers, who send well wishes and bought gift vouchers when dine-in seating wasn’t available. Medlar reopened on September 1 with plexiglass dividers and other safety measures in place to make diners and staff members feel safe returning.
“Our restaurant is full of regulars now, and that makes me feel very proud,” David said. “When we come out of the pandemic, I hope that Medlar stands as an institution of Chelsea district and continues to create something new — not just rest on our laurels.”
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