Looking for an all-day restaurant in south London? Read our review of Vardo, and check out more suggestions for eating out in London here.
Vardo in a nutshell
Low-key, all-day dining spot in Chelsea’s Duke of York Square from the team behind Caravan.
What’s the vibe?
Scandi spaceship is the vibe at this striking cylindrical spot. On the outside, it’s all white stone, folding glass windows and a foliage-adorned roof, but step inside for warm wooden tables lining the edge of the room, plush sage-green curved booths in the centre and a buzzy bar at the back.
What’s the food like at Vardo?
Moving on from Caravan, Vardo (a Romani wagon) is influenced by the flavours of the globe, brining spices and spirits from northern India to the Arabian Peninsula. Split by style (think snacks, grains, pizza), the dishes are sharing plates, all arriving at the same time. Slipper-style flatbread comes with a slick of garam masala spiced labneh and a generous scattering of crispy chickpeas, while jamón croquettes are soft and sticky on the inside and golden on the out. The pot of saffron aioli lacks the floral flavour, but it’s garlicky strong all the same.
If you’re making your way through the menu, pass on the burrata and instead fill up on the spiced pulled lamb shoulder. Tahini and pomegranate mint pesto act as a sweet base for the shreds of tender meat and crispy skin. Spiced dahl is on the drier side of the chart with a dollop of coconut yogurt adding a welcome creaminess and little pea and broad bean fritters bursting with sweetness. If you’re after a speedy lunch or dinner, go straight for a bowl of this.
Old-school, soft-serve ice cream is pepped up with grown-up flavours, from chunks of caramelised pineapple with a dusting of salty, sesame seed praline to Fontodi olive oil and smoked sea salt.
And the drinks?
An imaginative cocktail menu is inspired by the Silk Road, working its way from Rajasthan through to the Americas. If you like things punchy and earthy, order the Pursuit of Happiness, a concoction of miso peanut butter, bourbon, rum and coffee bitters, or, if you’re going booze-free, the citrusy Naked & Famous made with STRYYK 0% not gin, pineapple, kaffir lime and mint. The house-made apricot and bay leaf kombucha is a great starter booch, with a very subtle fizz and savoury tang.
Words by Ellie Edwards
Photographs by Issy Croker