Back in the late ‘80s, this iconic building – once a one-stop Michelin shop for all your automotive needs – was converted into two restaurants, both named in honour of Bibendum, aka the paunchy Michelin Man. The oyster bar, despite a crustacean-heavy menu and proper tablecloths, is the more casual and affordable of the pair.
The vibe is one of laidback luxe. It’s a chilled-out crowd, but one that’s still ‘very Chelsea’: the kind of place where people think nothing of having a huge seafood platter on a Tuesday night. Original features include the yawning entrance (big enough to drive a car in) and huge windows, plus the magnificent vintage tiling. There’s fish on ice and even a florist’s stall, all in a space where they used to pump up your tyres.
As for the food, it’s better than ever. The menu was re-jigged when super-chef Claude Bosi took over upstairs (launching Michelin-starred Bosi at Bibendum), so you get the likes of plump breadcrumbed snails (£12), a well-dressed tomato salad (£4), or golden battered fish with skinny fries (£16.50). Plus, of course, oysters and platters of fruits de mer. The downside is that service can be a bit clueless and the wine is pricy, sharply adding to the bill. Call ahead to snag one of the best tables: right at the front of the first foyer, with views onto the street.