Bluebird's new autumn menu: meet executive chef Liam Smith Laing

Bluebird, on King's Road in Chelsea, has given its sharing menu and swish decor a makeover. Executive chef Liam Smith Laing reveals what we can look forward too...

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Made up of a casual cafe and courtyard on the ground floor and a formal restaurant on the first floor, Bluebird has been holding court on King's Road for nearly 20 years.

Now, its modern Mediterranean menu has been given a facelift by executive chef Liam Smith Laing, formerly of Southbank's Skylon and Istanbul favourite La Petite Maison. 

We talk to Smith Laing about what he thinks sets Bluebird apart, what he likes to cook at home and where he likes to eat in the capital...

The fresh gnocchi is served with spicy pork nduja and Italian Fontina cheese

After the menu's makeover, what is your favourite thing to cook?
The whole roasted turbot in the Josper oven is immensely satisfying to cook and smells wonderful, but I love to make the fresh gnocchi in the morning.

Bluebird has been a fixture in Chelsea for a long time. What sets it apart from other restaurants?
It’s a bit of an icon and is unique. We have the café, courtyard, the shop, bar, restaurant, club and private dining.

Did someone inspire you to become a chef?
I was cooking from an early age with my grandmother and got my first cookbook for my sixth birthday. I always knew I wanted to cook.

If you were to host a dinner party, what would be your a signature dish?
I like to do a one-pot wonder so I can put it in the oven and spend time catching up with friends rather than in the kitchen.

Tell us one item or ingredient you’re obsessed with.
When I worked in Istanbul, I discovered isot pepper. It has a very unusual, sweet, spicy, smokey flavour which I love. I use it all the time at home and also on some dishes at Bluebird.

The restaurant also boasts a chic cocktail bar

If you're short on time, what's your favourite cooking hack?
Making hollandaise sauce in a syphon gun. It takes away all the hard work and produces a much lighter, cleaner result - it never fails me.

You must have an abundance of kitchen gadgets and utensil, do you have a favourite?
I have handmade Japanese knives which I wouldn’t swap for anything. But my microplane grater is probably the most useful gadget.

London has an abundance of restaurants, which is your favourite?
Yauatcha in Soho. I have been going there for years and always have a great time. It serves such great food.

So, what can we expect from Bluebird?
We'd like to build the reputation of Bluebird, improve the quality in all areas and make the shop a destination for people who want something special for home.


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