National Geographic : 1972 Jan
SPIDERY ALBERT BRIDGE, its delicate tracery strung with lights, has spanned the Thames since 1873. Long-abandoned tollbooths still stand at the bridge's approaches, and signs once warned marching soldiers to break step to prevent dangerous bouncing. TOUCH OF FRANCE: Au Pere de Nico (below) and other top-rated Chelsea restaurants earn high praise from gourmets. Here waiter Bruno Noro flavors French delicacies with a pinch of convivial conversation. every jump testing the tensile strength of her black hot pants and over-the-knee socks. Kathy, once a Chelsea bird, now removed to Chis wick, said, "There are still some back streets where you can hear the birds singing"-she meant the feathered kind-"but Chelsea is getting a bit fast for me. That doesn't mean I don't come back. It still has a clublike charm-the same people going around to gether, especially in the pubs and restaurants." Chelsea's restaurants are indeed especially special, even for non-club members like me. Kathy, of course, is not concerned with their standing in the world of haute cuisine, but it is impressive. My friend Peter ffrench-Hodges, author of two gourmet cookbooks, claims, in a neat syllogism, that London today has more fine luxury restaurants than Paris, and that, since Chelsea has more fine luxury restaurants than any other part of London, Chelsea is, QED, the new restaurant capital of the Western World.