SquareMeal Review of
No 197 Chiswick Fire Station
The latest venture from independent bar group Darwin & Wallace has an open, naturally lit, stripped-back feel – in keeping with the building’s fire station history. Emergency call-outs have been replaced by relaxed all-day eating and drinking, helped by a colour scheme of soft pinks, chalky whites and pale greys, plus seasonal British cooking. The menu ranges from small and sharing dishes – pig’s cheek and black pudding croquettes, perhaps, or crispy peppered squid – through to more substantial main courses. We enjoyed delicately spiced ginger chicken cakes coated in a light golden crumb with zingy lime coriander mayo, and mini sausages smothered in a sticky-sweet honey and mustard glaze. Next, an accurately cooked sea bass (soft flesh, crisp skin) arrived with baby artichoke, buttery new potatoes, asparagus and a crème fraîche tartare sauce; chicken Kiev was satisfyingly crunchy, the tender meat stuffed with garlic butter. Pudding of bitter dark chocolate tart was accompanied by a fluffy mousse and a nostalgic slice of chocolatey Rice Krispies cake. To drink, the selection of classic cocktails is boosted by various spirit infusions, house-made syrups and sherbets. Rounded off by an attractive courtyard space, this elegant venue makes a welcome addition to leafy Chiswick.