Chiltern Firehouse 333

1 Chiltern Street , London, W1U 7PA

11 reviews

63 International Marylebone

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  • Slow-roasted short rib, hazelnut purée and bone marrow, Chiltern Firehouse
  • Chiltern Firehouse London restaurant steak tartare pine nuts chipotle spices Nuno Mendes
  • Chiltern Firehouse exterior Chiltern Street London restaurant
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SquareMeal Review of Chiltern Firehouse

SquareMeal award hall of fame 1999-2018 logo badgeSquareMeal London Hot 100 2018The fervour that surrounded André Balazs’ Marylebone hotspot has died down and you no longer need to be famous to secure a table, but Chiltern Firehouse still delivers in spades. Readers praise the outdoor-themed interiors as well as the high-decibel “party vibe”, and we’ve also been impressed by the all-inclusive attitude of the staff, who happily laugh and chat with diners. Meanwhile, in the open kitchen, chef Nuno Mendes and his team send out plenty of likeable big-time successes. Snacks such as bacon cornbread and the famous coral-dusted crab doughnut kick things off nicely, but there are other highlights too: char-grilled Ibérico pork comes with the unexpected additions of grilled peaches and red pepper kimchi, while a side of mac ‘n’ cheese is given a fiery kick with jalapeño peppers. Early risers pack in for breakfast (potted eggs with caramelised onions and curried potatoes), freelancers take advantage of the indulgent lunchtime offers (crab and lobster omelette, say), and we’d also recommend Chiltern Firehouse for a pre/post-meal trip to the botanically themed bar for cheekily named cocktails. Be warned – the bill (with impressive wines included) may have you reaching for the fire alarm.

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6.7

Food & Drink: 7.0

Service: 6.5

Atmosphere: 7.6

Value: 5.3

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Paul P. bronze reviewer 05 February 2017

Clearly on the hot list for celeb spotters but reality is this is actually not a bad spot whether entertaining clients or out with friends. I've done the private room and a table out on the restaurant floor. Both have attentive staff, great food and great overall ambience. Booking staff can be a little snobby but that probably goes with the turf.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 2.0

Continental Diner platinum reviewer 25 January 2017

Visiting most recently in early January 2017, and it was once again superb. The thing is that one has to "buy into" the concept. For a later seating you will probably have to plan for a drink in the bar before. It is quite festive (read: party-like) it can get quite loud and the concept appears to foresee a balance between Nuno Mendes' fantastic food a truly good wine list and restaurant that conveys a youthful sense of occasion. I could understand if someone doesn't like it, I can also see lots of diners "having an unlucky experience". Do not come here for the first time for an important date or meeting. You have to see how this place is and works. Also it is not at all corporate, I would not come here for a standard business lunch - it is a complex and special place. The food, if you like modern fine dining is out of this world. Light and extreme attention to detail, but it sometimes seems secondary to the overall experience, which in its own right is a pity. But there are bar seats opposite the open kitchen (think L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon) which might be for the out-and-out foodie. Then there is the bill. Two things, you can always deduct a return ticket to LA from the total and if it still seems steep, at least the fire brigade will be on hand at least in spirit to put out that smouldering credit card...

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 2.0

Joanna G. platinum reviewer 01 September 2015

We ate here on the weekend. Our evening started in the restaurant bar where a surly faced bartender whipped a stool away from me just as I was about to sit on it (I don't actually think he was being rude, just unobservant and really could do with learning how to smile). We found somewhere else to sit straight away and had a glass of champagne and a vodka tonic (we ended up having two drinks before dinner which of course added to the bill). Now, the food. We shared the fried chicken (a couple of gristly bits which were off-putting but the rest were very nice and crispy) and the famous crab doughnuts (excellent, thoroughly enjoyed these) - why do restaurants do starters with odd numbers though, I was nice enough to let my husband have two to my one). This was followed by lemon sole for me which was perfectly cooked, but with way too much butter and salt (with warm thik slices of cucumber, which were just slimy and didn't really add to the meal) and my husband had chicken and leeks, again all way too over-seasoned though. We followed this up with a shared key lime pie (wonderful!) and washed down with a reasonably priced bottle of white wine (under £40). The atmosphere is lively and buzzy and the staff were friendly and attentive, but if I am going to spend over £200 for a meal out, I want it to be a meal to remember and can't wait to re-visit (like Le Gavroche or Texture). All in all , this was a long-awaited Saturday night booking for dinner, which I regret spending that much money on.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 0.0

Munira 07 June 2015

Had a long lunch at Chiltern Firehouse. The atmosphere is nice and the weather meant we could sit outside. However the rest of the experience was just dire. Poor service where the waitress forgot to place half our order, super slow service and all the mistakes were just met with a nonchalant smug. The food was average at best. Steak tartare was too saucy and the main course needed a microscope to be seen. I left with a dent in the bank account and hungry.....warning - you go for the hype but will be left completely underwhelmed.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Tanya D. gold reviewer 09 February 2015

Well, you can see from my previous review that I really struggled to a reservation here but when I finally did, it was a total let down. For starters, when we arrived, our table wasn't ready so we were cramped into the tiny little space they call a bar where it took ages for us to get served: 20 minutes or more. The cocktail was frankly, just weird. 30 minutes after we were due to be seated, the not very nice host came to get us with no apology whatsoever for making us wait so long. The server was super nice, that and the warm crab donuts were probably the only good things about the night. The flavours fell far below what I had previously experienced at Viajante and were mostly like the cocktail: just weird. The pork had this very odd smokey flavour and the smoked trout with pineapple was awfully sickly. The mix of ingredients didn't just clash, they were raging a full-on war! Overall, considering how much we spent, the experience fell far below what I was dreaming about. Unlike Viajante where I just could not go back often enough and was my favourite restaurant, I will not be going back any time soon. Take your money and patience elsewhere.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

La Gringa bronze reviewer 30 October 2014

I brought a friend here who was visiting from overseas, booking lunch three weeks in advance. We walked in the door and the first person who comes in behind us is Kate Moss. She's short for a model. My friend and I laugh, as we're not there for the celebrity gawking, but it hits us right in the face. We got a table by the front door, good for people watching. And it is a good looking crowd. The room is fabulous- excellent use of space and not noisy. We were encouraged to get the crab doughnuts by the waitress. They arrived, three little puffs of pastry with a bare minimum of crab meat inside. For that price you could be a little more generous. I had the fish and it was very good, my friend steak tartar which left him unimpressed. The Caesar salad was nice as was the pecan pie dessert, but again, at those prices the piece could be a little bit bigger without violating the concept of small dishes. A bottle of wine and the bill was £250. Been there, done that.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 20 October 2014

Perhaps the best way to approach the Chiltern Firehouse is with a high degree of scepticism only then to find expectations surpassed. I had been put off for two reasons. First, the obvious: I would prefer to dine somewhere based on the quality of food and not on which A-through-to-Z-list celebrity I might have a chance to spot. Nearly every person I had spoken to prior to our visit name-dropped that they had seen the likes of the Beckhams or Lindsay Lohan there but failed to comment on the food. My other reason relates to the fact that after having attempted to book for lunch in late August, I was snootily informed that the first available option they could offer me would be breakfast, in mid-October. My comrade and I both thought that after having had to endure a six-week wait for a table (and for arguably the least ‘fashionable’ meal of the day), it better be good. Fortunately, we were pleasantly surprised and would return. The advantage of opting for breakfast was that there was not a star in sight and, instead, we could focus on our surroundings, the food and the atmosphere. Chiltern scored on all three counts. In terms of location, the eponymous former fire station has been refurbished tastefully, with an emphasis on the classic rather than the trendy. There is lots of natural light and tables are well-spaced. The calmness of the outside area (albeit absent of people when we visited) also appealed and one could easily imagine sipping either tea or cocktails here in the summer. Onto the menu, and with Nuno Mendes, innovative inventiveness is the name of the day. Do not expect bacon and eggs here at breakfast. I sampled a wonderful spiced crab omelette with sourdough bread while my comrade opted for a wild mushroom hash. My omelette was light and fluffy with a subtle yet effective chilli kick, while my comrade’s dish was rich and earthy. Both were beautifully presented on cast iron pans brought straight to the table. The food came surprisingly quickly after ordering and the service could be improved upon (my tea came after the food rather than before, without an apology, while there was also a mix-up with the bill), but staff had a positive attitude. There is undoubtedly a relaxed but buzzy vibe here, which probably becomes more pronounced (and louder) as the day progresses. Although not cheap, by upmarket London standards, the cost is fair. Overall, we enjoyed, even (or particularly) without the celebrities. No doubt Chiltern’s success will endure for some time to come.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Tanya D. gold reviewer 30 September 2014

I have been a fan of Nuno's since he first cooked at a small gastro pub in Shoreditch and was unknown and then several times at Viajante and was blown away, but this is so typical in London, people who know nothing about food or dont follow chefs get wind of a celebrity haunt and that's it, you can never experience one of your favourite chefs cooking again. Celebrity haunts come and go but excellent, innovative cooking speaks for itself and does not need to suck up to Z-listers. Annoyingly they have an intermittent schedule of opening up reservations so you can call every day and it will be fruitless. As all celebrity haunts, this too will fall out of favour, and when it does, your original customers will have given up on you and moved onto someone new. So sad that Nuno has sold his soul rather than made his cooking accessible to those that really enjoy it.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Maidenamerica 11 June 2014

Well do you know, I have to show off just a little because for some reason I can't even begin to imagine, we've been twice. Yes that's right we've got tables there on TWO separate occasions and it's still only June 2014. We're not famous, fashionable, well dressed, thin, rich or even particularly nice people so dog only knows why they let us in … or back in for that matter. Everyone can make a mistake once but twice looks like carelessness, as Lady B would say ! The first time was for my birthday, just the chubby hubby and me and you know it was just bliss. We had a couple of drinks in the extra tiny bar first. I love all cocktails to the point that I've decided to give up wine and just concentrate on the hard stuff but at first sight the short list didn't look that promising. Lots of things with vermouth; in fact 8 out of the 12 cocktails have vermouth in them and one of the few that doesn't is some foul ‘soft’ option of mucked about apple juice. I don't like vermouth except in fish pie where it's purpose is to disguise the taste of fish and, if I wanted to drink apple juice, I'd have stayed home and raided my daughter's lunchbox not put on magic pants and dragged out in the rain for the privilege. Strangely it turns out I was totally wrong about vermouth, a circumstance which often happens to me despite my very strong convictions. Vermouth is blinking lovely stuff and I quickly knocked back ‘A Quick One Before Dinner’ which is “Trio of vermouths, aperol, champagne, grapefruit and lemon peel”. It tastes just like a kiss from Leonard Rossiter just before you go into dinner in an 80's throwback scene; a bit Grand Marnier-like, a hint of some proper liquor and a bit of aftershave, no tongue but a kiss that knows it's business. Leonard Rossiter has always struck me as the sort who drank Grand Marnier rather than just flamed pancakes in the stuff. The chubby hubby had a ‘Ravello Breeze’ which apparently includes “Gin, lillet, saffron syrup and citrus” (the list happened to fall into my bag, hem hem). I thought it sounded both a bit strong and a bit girly and sure enough it came in this lovely tiny rippled glass with a tiny dainty stem and a puff of something foamy floating about on top. Well it may have looked like a French poodle but it tasted like spring in Desenzano wafting through your mouth and down your throat. Fan-freaking-tastic. I had something else too at the table but even with the list in front of me I can't remember what it was and it was nice but not fan-freaking-tastic so I'll leave that there. By the way, the bar area is great people watching but tiny and full of people who haven't managed to get a table but have managed to get past the beautiful girls/ boys guarding the place from non-diners, trying to look like they belong and existing on tiny nibbly things and cocktails. The scene is top top class and if you like tequilas then they have some very unusual ones behind the bar but the best thing about the bar is the lovely silver bowl of metal flowers; lilies, peonies, roses and things all fashioned out of old cutlery and not in a rubbish craft show way. Really beautiful and I want it in my hallway with all my soul. We were offered a normal table but chose to sit on the little bar ledge space that runs around the open kitchen. The CH wasn't too happy 'cos he's a traditional fellow but after 18 years together I'm more than content to sit side by side watching the action and not having to make polite conversation all the time. While waiting to order we had some beetroot blunts, which I'd read Giles Coren waxing lyrical over, and also some cornbread fingers 'cos I'm kind of trashy at heart. And they both sent me all Valley Girl. OMG how could they be that good ! 'Cos they really were. The blunts were all creamy and sweet and rooty and the cornbread ! Well it's proper cornbread the like of which I've never had in the UK and not even that often in the States. And the fingers come with a chipotle-maple butter which tastes like sweet-cured bacon which has been mashed and oozed onto the plate. Christmas they were good ! Slightly disappointingly, the second time I went the blunts were off and I had to stuff crab donuts dusted with coral into my mouth to keep myself from sobbing. It was very hard. Starters: the CH had something that was good but no details come back (possibly octopus now I think of it as it's just the sort of thing he would like and order because I don't so no sharing) and I had grilled lebanese cucumbers which were fine but not quite at the heights of the canapé things. All totally salvaged by some incredibe short ribs which came next. Again you don't often see them here and I love so always order in the US. These were just perfect, sticky, soft tendrils of beef, sweet but still meaty and just yum yum yum. Whilst slavering and eye rolling over that, we had a “Spot Nuno” competition in the kitchen. I had this feeling he had a beard but most of the kitchen have beards in that totally hip, “I hang out in Brooklyn” way that the young ones seem to do now. We ended up asking one poor beardy who was trying to make what looked like 5,000lbs of beef tartare if we'd got it right and he misunderstood and went a fetched the great chef Nuno Mendes for us to meet. Totally cringing moment and we had to shake hands and mutter some complete sycophantic nonsense to the utterly charming but completely non-plussed man. Consoled ourselves with puddings and, once again, I have to break out the Valley in me and say OMG ! I had some apple pannacotta thing and it was completely overwhelming without being to pastry-chef-tarted-up nonsense. Imagine a puff of dry-ish lightly toasted meringue still crunchy with sugar grains, a smooth cream just barely holding a tower shape and very lightly scented with apple and sitting on a little soft jelly of tiny but intense apple pieces. The whole thing set in a deep ring of bright herb granita only just sweet and tasting of basil and mint and all sorts of other good green things. Guys, we floated home and didn't even notice the rain. The second time we went at the last minute after some mysterious man phoned and said “I think you'll take any table and you live locally; come at 6 with 4 of you”. I literally abandoned my child and ran around with family who happened to be in the house and it was a lovely, lovely night. Everyone loved everything, although my hip beardy music-producer brother (believe me, he fit in !) didn't love his ‘Happy Marriage’ cocktail which is quite scented with violet liqueur. I've heard some grumbles with the service but I've never experienced anything other excellent, professional and very friendly staff and, again, we're not that nice so it must all be them and their training. This restaurant deserves every good word it's garnered and the food is truly delicious without being pretentious. Whoever designed the drinks list is a genius and the chef is all over that restaurant and without all the ego that often comes with a game like he's got going on. We've managed to get another table on a Sunday in July (why ! why!) and I'm almost having more fun deciding who to ask than in looking forward to the meal. Everyone I know, especially all the glam Chelsea set are desperate for a table and I'm a tiny bit enjoying their grumbles that they can't get one despite their expectations that everything is available for them always. I told you I wasn't that nice.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 3.0

Monikasays platinum reviewer 27 May 2014

Chiltern firehouse is London's hottest new opening, with now a 4 month wait for tables. I was lucky enough to sneak in on an early table 6pm in the early days before it exploded onto London's trendy gourmet scene. 6 pm way too early, I hear your say, well not in a place like this. One, you have secured the hottest table in town, two, you get to bed at a reasonable time with no hangover the next day and three the frisson starts early at places like this as everyone is excited to be there whatever time. CH is a swankily refurbed period fire station and is in rather smart Marylebone. There is a certain romance and exclusivity to this place, like Chateau Marmont in LA (same owner). There is a hotel too and the rapunzel room in the tower looks like a must do one day. As you enter this fairy tale castle you pass an alfresco dining area which I will be trying to sneak into this summer. The food is mastered by Nuno Mendes, Portuguese chef straight from Viajante in East London. There is a definite American, posh hotel food vibe e.g. caesar salad with the lightest crispy chicken skin, delightfully light crab donuts, good fish dishes, the lovely iberico pork.. However this place is more about the buzz, the food is great but not wondrous, for me Berners tavern has both. Definitely worth splashing some cash, even if too experience London's celebrity scene.