The Surprise, Chelsea
Surprise, it's gone gastro! Last time we were in the area it was shut and heading for dereliction if not a transformation to a not-pub. Walking in, we guessed pretty quickly that it had joined the thriving Geronimo group and it's obviously of a particular type with the grey-green walls and light and airy interior, although friendly enough. Rescued from yet another flat conversion, it was probably due for this sort of makeover. They've kept a lot of the original features, possibly most noticeably the stained glass in windows and the partition separating the old two sides of the bar. Decent beer on the bar and the usual Geronimo menu are as to be expected. It's not the old pub we remember, but it obviously meets the needs of its clientele. And just for timeliness, there was a beer on to celebrate the Royal Wedding, too - Windsor Knot by the Windsor & Eton Brewery!
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15 Jan 2012
I could not contain my glee when I realised this pub had been redeveloped - I was sure it was lost forever. I went with my wife for the first time on Sunday 15 January 2012. A nice sunny (albeit brisk) day meant the place was heaving. The decor may be a bit posh for some, but this is Chelsea, and we quite liked what they'd done to the place. We fortunately found a little table to grab a late lunch downstairs, upstairs being a bit more formal and requiring pre-booking. The menu was a bit brief, but the Sunday roast was amongst the best I've had. The Macaroni Cheese was an odd recipe but it 'worked'. A salad was equally 'unusual' but quite tasty. Big thumbs up to the chef. The guy who took my order had a sour look on his face, but seemed run off his feet ... why is it that pubs run so 'lean' on staff these days? Collection of finished glasses was clearly not a priority, although to be fair the finished plates from lunch were cleared away very swiftly. Amongst the biggest negatives: the guy behind the bar ... as my wife said 'cute, but retarded'. Watching him work at a glacial pace was painful. He clearly must have been 'someone's son' because he didn't earn that role on merit. Being Sunday there were a few Chelsea rugrats running amok, and the occasional wail of a baby (completely unnoticed by it's parents - typical). I'll be trying this place out again [not on a weekend] ... I can't help but feel I should love this place but a number of small things just didn't sit right with me. One thing I've noticed with Geronimo pubs: the look and feel of the pubs are great, they're just let down by their staff who are uniformly glum and under-trained.
6 Christchurch Terrace, Chelsea, London, SW3 4AJ
020 7349 1821
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How to find the The Surprise pub
Leave Sloane Square and walk down Kings Road for a few minutes, turn left down Smith Street and walk down until you come Christchurch Street (third right). Turn down here and you should shortly see the pub in front of you.