Gallery Mess is a restaurant in the Saatchi Gallery on King’s Road, Chelsea. It is the location where Tempest arranges to meet Robin and Strike for an interview with her and Jason, both Body Identity Integrity Disorder (BIID) sufferers who had previously known murder victim Kelsey Platt.
In chapter 43, Strike and Robin meet in Pret A Manger, also on King’s Road, before they walk together to Gallery Mess, which is “a little retired from the road, behind the statue of a bewigged and stockinged Sir Hans Sloane.”
“Passing through an arch in the pale brick wall, they entered a grassy square that might, but for the noise of the busy street behind them, have belonged to a country estate. Nineteenth-century buildings on three sides surrounded the square.”
“Ahead, contained in what might once have been barracks, was Gallery Mess.”
“The room they entered was long and narrow, with a second, wider area visible through arched openings to their left. White tablecloths, suited waiters, high-vaulted ceilings and contemporary art all over the walls….”
Sitting down at the table with Jason and Tempest, Strike orders a Spitfire beer. When it arrives, to his “horror, the Eastern European waiter upended his bottle of Spitfire beer into a glass containing ice.
‘Hey!’ said Strike sharply.
‘The beer isn’t cold,’ said the waiter, surprised by what he clearly felt was Strike’s overreaction.
‘For fuck’s sake,’ muttered Strike, fishing the ice out of his glass. It was bad enough that he was facing a hefty lunch bill, without ice in his beer.”
(Luckily, the server didn’t pour our beer over ice. I would’ve hated to have seen the reaction….)
As a courtesy to her boss and his financial situation, Robin orders the cheapest salad on the menu and a glass of water.
Tempest is not nearly as courteous, ordering wine, starters and what was undoubtedly one of the pricier main courses, and she encourages Jason to do the same. The interview with Jason and Tempest proceeds about as Robin predicted it would, with Strike exiting the restaurant shouting at the BIID sufferers to get psychological help.
Fancy a cheap salad and/or Spitfire beer yourself? The Gallery Mess is really a nice restaurant in which to dine. You can find it on Google Maps here:
Franklin Row – where Yvette Bristow lives (The Cuckoo’s Calling).
Pret A Manger – where Strike and Robin meet before interviewing Tempest and Jason.
Chelsea Arts Club – where the killer is revealed in The Silkworm (it’s about a 20 minute walk away).