Chiltern Firehouse: The fire never left

A seven to ten minute walk from Baker Street station lies a restaurant hidden inside a former 1880s fire station. Chiltern Firehouse is a contemporary restaurant with a underlying American influence, with a menu developed by Michelin-starred chef Nuno Mendes. Bringing his experience in both the US and Europe, the menu creates reimagined classics and bold new flavours based on seasonality and healthy eating.

Chiltern Farmhouse highlights, how allowing guests into the world of the people behind their food, can elevate a dining experience before the food even arrives.

The station may be long gone, but the fire never left the building.

OVERALL

Price Tag: ££££

Occasion: Journalist meetings, family, friends, date night

Ambiance: 8.5

Food: 7

Location: London, Baker Street station (1 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London W1U 7PA)

COST

Anything worth having comes at a cost they say, and for Chiltern Firehouse this is most definitely true. It is expensive, so be ready to pay at least £50 for a shared starter, main and dessert. However, you can just get one main dish which starts from £14. With restaurants like these, I feel you’re paying for both the food and ambiance, so I’d recommend you come here for a one off treat or for a special occasion.

Sitting at the chef’s counter made me develop a new sort of appreciation for the people behind our food. From the servers and the sous chef, to the Maître d’hotel and bus person.

STARTER

One of my favourite desserts are donuts and I thoroughly enjoy lobster and crab, so I had to get the Crab-Stuffed Donuts wasabi & chopped egg (£8) which comes in three pieces. Even though I was expecting a more doughy texture, I did enjoy the bread-like airy texture of the donuts, as well as the sweetness from the crab, however, it is worth noting that there is more egg than crab. Overall, though the donuts were nice, but due to the price, I’d recommend getting one portion. As I mentioned there isn’t that much crab meat in the donuts so if you want to get this dish because of the crab, you may want to skip this one.

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Crab-Stuffed Donuts wasabi & chopped egg

MAIN

For my main, I ordered the Iberico Pork Noodles with slow cooked egg, sesame & Szechuan chilli oil (£26). This dish was amazingly full of flavour. The noodles were cooked very well – they weren’t overcooked, and were accompanied by a light broth with salty and slightly sweet flavours. The pork was very tender and cooked to perfection, plus if you want your egg fully cooked you can immerse it in the broth which is very hot. For me, all this dish needed was a subtle kick of spice to give it an extra edge.

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Iberico Pork Noodles with slow cooked egg, sesame & Szechuan chilli oil 

The second dish is the Slow-Roasted Heritage Tomatoes & spiced avocado & poached eggs on toast (£16). This dish highlights the restaurant’s expertise in healthy food, it’s a dish for people who still want to eat out, but eat more healthily. This main was very light and nutritious with a refreshing sprig of mint to finish. The spiced avocado was the highlight. Overall, the mains showed how healthy food doesn’t need to be boring or bland.

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Slow-Roasted Heritage Tomatoes & spiced avocado & poached eggs on toast

DESSERT

For a lighter finish to your meal, I would recommend the Sorbet (£6). I ordered the peach and rose flavours which came with two scoops. They were absolutely delicious, and had a nice smooth finish.

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Peach & Rose flavoured sorbet 

Finally, we also ordered the Buttermilk Pancakes with blueberries, compote and Crème fraîche (£14) which was so well presented I did not want to touch it! Luckily the pancakes were just as aesthetically pleasing as the taste. The texture of the pancakes were perfect, they were so airy and slightly crispy on the outside. The pancakes were savoury, but they had the fresh blueberries, and compote on the side to bring an element of sweetness.

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Buttermilk Pancakes with blueberries, compote and Crème fraîche

AMBIANCE

They say “you can’t be all things to all men”, yet this restaurant proves that to be untrue. From the outdoor floral inspired space, suitable for a brunch with a close friend, to the swanky hightop stools lined across the chef’s counter, the varied dining locations allows you to tailor your dining experience to what you want it to be.

Something needs to be said for the concept of process, and how it forces you to see the granular detailing behind the final product.

There is something for everyone. For the foodies, I’d recommend the chef’s counter, which allows you to subtly intrude into the intriguing chaos that goes into your dish. Due to the large space, it is also suitable for large groups or family gatherings. Finally I feel this is also the kind of place you take a journalist or client to for a general catch up or meeting, due to its relaxed nature. Also, for private dinners the restaurant have the Garden Room which comes at £65pp.

From the excellent service and respectful staff, to the well flavoured and presented food, this place was a winner for me.

I wasn’t able to take pictures of the kitchen and restaurant, as the manager wasn’t too keen, which is understandable. So you can go here to see images of the different dining areas!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Sitting at the chef’s counter made me develop a new sort of appreciation for the people behind our food. From the servers and the sous chef, to the Maître d’hotel and bus person, the use of the chef’s counter allows customers to immerse themselves into the world behind our food.

Finally, something needs to be said for the concept of process, and how it forces you to see the granular detailing behind the final product. When you see how much work has gone into something, you develop a genuine appreciation, that causes you to understand the true value of every element that led to the final product in front of you. Watching my dish transition from a written order to being brought to life by raw ingredients in the hand of the chefs, who hold an impeccable attention to detail, was rather spectacular. And that is why I will definitely be coming back again – and again.

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Thoughts?