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Thursday, 18 April 2013

GOAT, Chelsea


(Never marry a goat in boats)

Despite living nearby, I always avoided this pub when it was The Goat and Boots. It's a pity  a friend of mine who married someone she first met there didn't follow my example. Days before her wedding, she asked me whether I thought she was too young to get hitched. It was clear to me that, as a result of a particularly cruel and complex childhood, craving security, she was about to say 'yes' to the first geezer that had offered to put a ring on her finger. Through rose-tinteds, she saw Sir Galahad where I saw the shite in not-so-shining armour he'd turn out to be, two kids, divorce and a bitter custody/ alimony battle later. My point is, I generally know what will work - and GOAT, after a wholesale makeover that has turned the moribund tavern into a gleaming post-industrial pizzeria/ diner/ cocktail bar has success written all over it. Firstly, the place looks good - particularly the split-level lounge upstairs whose wine and bubbles are honestly priced. Thin-crust pizza slathered in gloriously unctuous goo is 'the best I've ever tasted,' reckons my date. I wouldn't go that far: I still daydream about a sloppy Giuseppe I locked lips with on Long Island one summer, but if I were the MD of Zizzi, I'd be dangling a fat contract under GOAT's pizza chef's Neapolitan nose. If you're looking for a bop, an old skool DJ, housed in a reclaimed church pulpit, turns the first floor bar into the Devil's playground at weekends. Chipper staff, and the young Kiwi/ Russian couple that owns GOAT are utter sweethearts. But best of all, is a wee hush bar lurking behind an anonymous door. Cleverly done out like a study in a dour Edwardian manse - set to a scratchy 30's jazz soundtrack - The Chelsea Prayer Room comes on like a dipso vicar's guilty secret. Cocktails are on the money at £10 for Rhubarb Bellini and Woodford Reserve bourbon, sherry, lemon and plum bitters flip, Spanish Harlem. Any negatives? That depends on your tolerance for the sort of gilded clientele synonymous with this particular part of Cameron and Osborne's Britain. Hence, Willie Windsor's sister-in-law Pippa Perky-Bottom, and what looks like every extra ever featured in a certain TV series 'starring' the sort of silver-spoon-fed Binky Bellends that give eugenics a bad name, are in the house when I visit. Had my friend wed a goat of their ilk, her divorce settlement might have been considerably more generous than custody of the vacuum cleaner her lardy, tight- wad, waste-of-space husband gave her as a birthday present. 

333 Fulham Road SW10 9QL 7352 1384 www.goatchelsea.com/