09 Jul THE MAPPETITE MILE: AROUND SLOANE SQUARE
Sir Hans Sloane, botanist, collector of curiosities and physician. Sir Hans Sloane, land baron and aristocrat. The former is represented by a legacy to the British and Natural History museums, the latter by all the Sloanes: Square, Street and Gardens and, all the Hans’: Street, Place, Crescent and Road that mark London’s most expensive residential postal codes.
To all this we owe Sir Hans and then then some….his foray into cocoa led to the transformation of medical elixir to chocolate milk. A sweet man, Sir Hans Sloane, yes, a sweet man.
As far as squares in London go, Sloane is a bit of a yawn. More busy thoroughfare than gardened respite, you’ll be sideswiped by a commuter before ever having a moment of landscaped awe. Wander the sides streets and there’s a melange of period architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries that’s pleasant enough to look at but hardly enough to engage you unless you’re one of the wealthy residents (not much public subsidized council flats here) nestled into this posh hood.
On the Square you’ve got the ROYAL COURT THEATRE and its stage for innovative British writers to play. For a gangbusters arts moment,
stick to the high street that is Chelsea’s King’s Road and you’ll be at the Duke of York Courtyard and the SAATCHI GALLERY in no time flat. Admission is free so take a step beyond the dignified Victorian facade into large minimalist galleries ideally suited for the renowned international contemporary art exhibitions.
Not much to hold your retail interest around the Sloane Square and there’s no luxury to catch your eye – for that you’ll have to head up Sloane Avenue and into Knightsbridge environs. Instead you’re in for mall-minded brand-centric shops that make up the bulk of Chelsea’s offerings along the length of the King’s Road. Amongst branded boutiques and service shops take a welcome detour to the oddly cool sells-everything department store that is PETER JONES. On your way to the SAATCHI STORE and it’s art-edged retail offerings make a stop at TASCHEN on the Duke of York Square where celebrity and cultural tomes achieve books-as-art status.
Slightly Euro and ladies-who-lunch (now really, darling, do you need to be lunching with those Chanel sunglasses and, oh, your new boobs do look so great) but the BOTANIST has the top-notch fare on the Square. There’s the painting of Sir Hans looking out upon polishedbrasseried digs resplendent with botany-accented accoutrements and don’t forget the teas and drinks that pay homage to his lordship’s botanical interests. The GALLERY MESS RESTAURANTtethered to the SAACHI GALLERY on Duke of York Square gives you seasonal minded offerings in high art style. If you’re not up for MESS you’re better than safe at MANICOMIO CAFE & DELI for modern-edged Italian plates on the Duke of York Square.
About that square, where Sloane is gray and uninviting the bounty of outdoor seating of Duke of York comes with the gardens fronting the Saachi Gallery. Take an alfresco moment via the acceptable takeaway from
PARTRIDGES specialty foods shop or grab an espresso and small bite from FRATELLI DELI CAFE. We want to love PATISSERIE VALERIE but there’s little to recommend on over-sized pastries and pre-portioned cakes that are at most gussied up supermarket grade confections.