The first thing one notices at PJ’s Bar & Grill is the enormous wooden fan slowly turning as a remnant of a bygone era. However, upon closer inspection, it’s actually the propeller of an airplane – a wooden propeller. Coupled with all the other relics from the colonial era and upper class English society, character is what PJ’s has a lot of. Friendly staff is what they also have in abundance, along with sensible, hearty, down to earth, honest food. Mohammed Sillah heads up the kitchen, having previously come from Fredericks in Angel, and has also done time under the tutelage of Alan Pickett and the Galvins.
Of course, as it happens when chefs go to eat at their chef friends restaurants, the onslaught of food is inevitable. Starting us off was a simple bruschetta, perfect for the glorious summer evening that shone its light through the doors of the restaurant, whilst a platter of starters indicated that this was going to be a relentless onslaught of food. Heralding the start of the feast was a ballotine of foie gras, confit duck and d’agen prunes with a golden raisin relish, beef carpaccio, mozzarella, tomato and avocado salad. The ballotine was the winner by a long shot and a champion in its own right, a hard hitter for all carnivores. Hot on its heels, grilled sardines, red onion salad and anchovy dressing. Gem-like cubes of braised lamb shoulder with a pistachio and herb crust dissolved in our mouths whilst a platter of hot smoked sea trout, sprouting broccoli and tartare of beef, traditionally garnished split opinions down the middle. I loved the house-smoked trout whilst Ms. N adored the tartare, pottering about with the garnishes and mixing it all up.
What was most evident about the dishes at PJ’s is that it looks after a variety of dining habits and preferences from the traditionalist to the casual with a round-up of comfort. Insisting we order a dessert, Mohammed then proceeded to ignore the little docket that churned out of the kitchen printer and decided to plate us a selection comprising of Chocolate fondant, cheesecake and panna cotta. We tried our utmost best yet could do no more justice than a spoonful of each, deciding at the end that the chocolate fondant was one of the finest ever sampled – enormous, yet full of molten intensity.
Whilst Chelsea has no shortage of great restaurants, it was evident that PJ’s is a place to head to with friends, where one can enjoy an evening of food, drink, conversation and laughs and have it all feel seamlessly comfortable.
Recommend you go: 7