Chiswell Street Dining Rooms

Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Chiswell Street Dining Rooms

Silver Award

It’s all about subtle luxury at this slick best-of-British restaurant/cocktail bar from the ETM Group, which also owns the neighbouring Jugged Hare: lime-green leather chairs, dark-wood floors and mirrored walls define the dedicated dining area, while an accomplished chef is on hand to deliver a menu of seasonal, unpretentious food underpinned by carefully sourced regional ingredients. Devon crab is sweetened by pink grapefruit and further enhanced by avocado and pickled radishes, while generous mains might feature a Saddleback pork chop served alongside pulled shoulder, pickled plums and spring onion, with a side of double-cooked chips. To conclude, try the “spot-on” Guanaja chocolate and salted caramel tart with pistachios and boozy cherries. Service is “impeccable”, and knowledgeable staff are happy to chat you through the extensive, reasonably priced wine list. Afternoon tea and “superb” pre-theatre deals are also offered, making this hard-to-fault dining room equally popular with City suits and Barbican concert-goers.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Fine dining, Lively, Quiet conversation
Group dining [8+]
Food Hygiene Rating

Chiswell Street Dining Rooms is featured in


56 Chiswell Street, Barbican, London, EC1Y 4SA

020 7614 0177


Opening Times

Mon-Fri 6.30am-12M (Thurs-Fri -1am) Sat-Sun 7-11am


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17 Reviews 

Frank C

26 July 2017  
Food & Drink 4
Service 3
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4
Oasis in Culinary Desert
The area around Cass Business School seems to be devoid of good restaurants. There are plenty of fast-food places for office workers but not much else. It is therefore lucky that Chiswell Street Dining Rooms exists and it is appropriately full. The food is good although some of the main courses are a bit pricey. Nevertheless, there is something for everyone and there is a good range between fourteen and eighteen pounds. Starters are imaginative with the crisp duck egg with lettuce and peas being a good and tasty idea. The fish dishes are perhaps the highlight - though I confess that I seldom eat meat - with the Restaurant's version of fish and chips being particularly well presented and delicious. The Cumbrian chicken, however, must have taken a detour through the United States and gone for a chlorinated bath. This was rubber chicken that was oddly succulent but lacked all flavour. No opinion, I'm afraid, on desserts as I am on a diet but they presented interesting variations on English classics. I was tempted by the cheeses as there were a couple of which I had never heard. Service is surprisingly erratic given that the staff is helpful and charming. The courses came in timely fashion, but both taking our order and receiving the bill required some effort on our part. I liked the buzzy atmosphere and the mixture of diners. There were different age groups represented as well as the usual City business lunchers. You can certainly do much worse than Chiswell Street Dining Rooms in London and you can certainly do no better in this part of town.

Jenny C

19 May 2017  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 3
Atmosphere 1
Value 2
Room for improvement
Best bit - rare breed steak - beautifully cooked, great fat chips, dessert - my husbands burger nothing special but dessert good.. Prosecco nice but far too expensive, Cheeseboard nice but pricey. Atmosphere and ambience zero - not helped by noise from adjoining bar with very loud and noisy drinkers - very distracting, felt like an anonymous hotel restaurant, One of the waiting staff was a little arrogant and in your face - other staff were fine. So, an overpriced and pretty dull place to eat and will not be returning.

Pippa R

05 May 2017  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 1.5
Atmosphere 3
Value 2.5
We did arrive for a late lunch (2.15) but even so the service was not up to scratch. I have been to CSD many times before and very much enjoyed my experiences - this time I came with a journalist to whom I had been raving about how great this place was ....eeeeek. The service was slow, they forgot our side dishes, did not ask us if we wanted anything with our steak, they ran out of what we ordered so I had to choose something else, we were constantly told that we had to move as they had an event coming in soon (we moved to the bar area after lunch and still no guests arrived) and they were cleaning up around us. A bit embarrasing but my guest was gracious about it.

Francesca G

22 January 2016  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Great meal again
We have tended to focus on Chiswell Street Dining Rooms when we go to the Barbican. I've been with several groups of friends and relatives and it's always been good. I didn't know quite how many were going to be able to come last night but the restaurant was able to deal with a possible - 2 and the eventual number + 1. Lovely meals, enjoyed by all, good reasonably priced wine, nice service and everything done and delivered and the bill paid well in time to get to our concert.

Martin E

15 January 2016  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 4
Superb pre-theatre (Barbican) at Chiswell Street Dining Rooms
A strange start to a superb pre theatre meal as Chiswell street is bustling with commuters (lots of lawyers) and is fairly soulless. You enter on te corner of what looks like an office from the outside through what looks like a friendly local as you step through the door into the main dining room - a bit officey so the ambience is only ok. We arrive at 1730 so it was nice and quiet - when we left there was a steady stream of folks walking through to the private dining areas and it became noisy due to low ceiling and hard floors. Now the good news.... Service was impeccable. The wine comes by the glass and whilst my first choice had run out the alternative f a glass of Semillon was superb (the best wine I had all day having spent six hours on a wine tasting course!). The waiter was friendly and attentive. lovely warmed half loaf was ready whilst we perused the menu. Plenty of choices and a cut above all the nearby competition (we tried Cote and Searcy's in the same week and Bonfire the week before.. the latter is not fir foodies). I settled on the crab and salmon starter - always a tricky combination - delivered flawlessly with a layer of sweetened (enriched with something!) brown crab meat and supported by soused cucumber and herbs. With the Semillon I felt like a King ... appropriate as we were off to see Richard II. My wife's beetroot and goat's cheese starter was beautifully presented and the beetroot was crisp and unpickled - hoorah! My main course was "Cauliflower and winter truffle risotto, Blue Monday, salt baked celariac" and was again beautifully presented and the cooking absolutely spot on: risotto rice had bite, sauce was creamy but not cloying, there was real depth in the celariac, the blue cheese was in bits there were big enough enough to taste but not so big that they overpowered. Clearly they have an accomplished chef and we sent our compliments. I was hoping that my desert of "Guanaja chocolate and salted caramel tart, pistachio, boozy cherries" would maintain this high standard and it really did. Everything about this desert was spot on; it sounds easy till you see how others attempt it. The base was thin and crispy, the chocolate intense but light, the salted caramel not overdone and the little cherries were alcoholic but not over powering. On a par with a Michelin restaurant in my view. We enthused about the meal as we departed, full but far from bloated. A superb pre theatre meal which is well worth the premium over other nearby establishments. [My wife agrees with this assessment and yes, I have no connection with the h establishment].

Caped C

28 March 2015  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 4
Atmosphere 2.5
Value 2.5
Mixed Feelings
The food was competently cooked but not special or different. My steak was not seasoned at all. The venue has the ambience of an average city bar, too bright and not far off All Bar One decor. For what should be a standard pre-concert meal, we got an eye watering bill - we had eaten a main each (no starter or pudding) and some sides with a couple of glasses of wine and it came to north of £120 for two. An ok experience but I'd only return if other venues in the areas couldn't accommodate us pre-concert.

celia T

11 October 2014  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
memorable evening
We went to Chiswell Dining Rooms for a pre-concert meal on Friday 10th October and had one of the best meals we can remember for some time. The crab soup was stunning, with a crouton topped with crab meat, perfect seasoning and consistency. Red grouse was well flavoured with pickled blackberries and a delicious sauce. This was my perfect dish as the presentation and attention to detail were something I would never replicate at home. The piece de resistance was the dessert, chocolate marquise. Strangely we were the only diners requesting it, and all I can say is that they didn't know what they were missing, best marquise I've had in years, flavour and consistency just right, with boozy cherries to add a little extra. All washed down with an excellent bottle of wine and very good value. We then went to the Barbican for a fantastic concert, so will remember the evening for a long time.

Graham J

24 July 2014  
Food & Drink 4
Service 2.5
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 4.5
This was my first visit and I went with a longtime lunching companion; so we have had many and varied lunches over the years. The atmosphere, the choice, the value, were all good to very good. But, sadly, what the place needed was somebody who really knew what was happening front of house. We were brought menus by one person and somebody else then came and removed them, not realising we had not ordered. Once we were asked to order, we were then told that one of the items was off (you really didn't know before I ordered that ?) One of the starters was wrong and one of the sides missing from the main. At each occasion it seemed that someone different was appearing at the table. So the overall experience was a shade frustrating. The place had everything going for it, but the team needed leadership and coordination, to really deliver the customer experience. Sadly, without this, I probably would not hurry back; although I feel I want to.

Sarah R

16 July 2014  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4
Value 5
I've booked three private large group meals in the dining rooms here and each one has been fantastic. They are very accommodating, flexible and organised. The staff on the night were very helpful and efficient and made all our guests feel welcome. The food is delicious and not too expensive in comparison with similar restaurants. I will definitely book again and I recommend them whole-heartedly!

Naomi K

24 June 2014  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 4
Our group dined in the smaller of the private dining rooms (‘Grubb Street’), and ate from the 3 course set menu. The atmosphere in the dining room was excellent, and we were extremely well attended to throughout the evening, with quick and efficient service. The food was good quality all around – all guests very much enjoyed their meals. The highlights were the leek and onion soup, the spring pea and black radish salad (which is certainly the most imaginatively put together salad I’ve had in recent memory), and the tonka bean and white chocolate mousse. Quite unusually too, the portions were quite generous – particularly the salmon main course. I would dine here again – the set-menu is seasonal – so I’d certainly be interested in trying a few more dishes here.
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