I’ve been so excited to share this Chiltern Firehouse post with you guys because many of my past blog posts have been written from the perspective of a blogger. By this I mean, I go to a restaurant, gush about it… but don’t return. This isn’t because the place isn’t amazing, because I wouldn’t write a post about somewhere I didn’t enjoy A LOT (I am super lazy hihi- I actually write about a super small minority of the places I actually visit), but rather because there are many things in life that you have to experience, but don’t need to constantly experience.
Chiltern Firehouse is different, and that’s what’s made creating this post so enjoyable. You can guess how often I come here from the fact that friends know exactly where to find me every lunch/brunchtime before they’ve even asked me 😉 I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve skipped down the stone floors towards the courtyard, the number of cups of tea I’ve drunk here, and the extent of everything I’ve ever ordered. I think I’ve spent more time at Chiltern Firehouse than at uni in my three years at UCL hahah- it’s my favourite restaurant in London.
I love the marble tables in the courtyard and the decor of the interiors and bathroom, the salt and pepper shakers ( which are super cute but never used) and the presentation of the food. I love snuggling by the fire with a blanket and joking with the waiters and gazing at the menus and cutting into the juicy food. I love the excitement of trying something new from the menu and the feeling I get when I find they’ve nailed it again, just like I knew they would. I wouldn’t be a regular anywhere else.
Over the past years that I’ve been going, the menu hasn’t changed all that much, and that’s another thing I love about Chiltern- you can go back and find that your favourites are still there waiting for you.
In terms of starters, I could not recommend the Tartare more. Forget the beautiful presentation- once you’ve tried it, you’ll regrettably ravage it all. It’s spicy but not too spicy, and is unlike any other non-truffle tartare I’ve ever tried. I never expected to like a tartare without truffles in it until this one. If you’re not a fan of onions in tartare (like me), they’ll kindly make it for you without them, and while it comes with some delicious sauces and sides, it’s so good that I could eat it on its own hahah. Another one of my favourite starters I’ve eaten a lot at Chiltern Firehouse in the past is the Caesar Salad. They make it with crispy chicken skin and that particular variation on this classic is what really gives this dish a thumbs up from me. I don’t normally like this salad at all because I’m more of a crispy chicken kind of person 😉 but not at Chiltern! There are a whole lot of starters there to try but I always come back for the tartare because the flavours are incredible and it’s surprisingly filling. But ultimately, nothing beats their famous Crab-stuffed Doughnuts, so if you’re going to go for one thing, pick that!
I think the key with ordering at Chiltern Firehouse is knowing what you want out of it. This place is amazing for eating light, refreshing food, less amazing for getting super full. It’s very summer friendly, and although I love Chiltern in the winter too, I especially love it during the warmer months when I am more inclined to try lighter food. On the other hand, going when you’re hungry is actually a good thing because there is so much good food to try. I am a super-fan of their steak and I hate going there when I’m full because it means I miss out on so much great food!
I personally don’t eat sugar but my mom does so this next tip comes from her 😉 DO NOT go there without trying the desserts. Not only do they look incredible, but they taste super good too. I’m always kind of nervous about taking my mom somewhere to try the food because she’s tried so much around the world and did french cookery classes at restaurants in Paris, so I’m kind of grimacing when I suggest something and wait to see what she thinks. With Chiltern I don’t really need to grimace- their Crab Doughnuts got a yes from her, and the desserts went down a treat too.
The best place to sit is the courtyard, because the atmosphere is just splendid. I know that might seem like a funny way to describe it, but there’s no other word for it. Granted, the lighting also makes for some great photos 😉 but I love it most of all because nothing really beats eating outdoors. Chiltern Firehouse has one of the best courtyards in London along with The Ivy in Chelsea; it’s like being in a secluded garden- quiet enough to give you inner peace, but unlike the garden, with enough liveliness to keep your experience interesting. If the outdoors is too cold for you though and the blankets don’t help, the indoor seating area is lovely too, and really cosy. The variation between the different areas of the restaurant is really nice because there’s something for everyone, but I always manage to convince everyone to sit outside with me 😉 If you’re having a hard time convincing, your secret weapon is the fireplace- Chiltern have one outside, and you can get a seat right beside it!
Often people ask me how I manage to book tables there with such little notice, and I don’t think there’s an easy answer for this 🙁 They know me by name which is probably how, but to be honest a lot of people get tables easily even when only dining here for the first time, so it doesn’t hurt to try calling even on busy days! 🙂 It is a lot easier to get a table than a couple of years ago. Brunch has gotten a lot more difficult though (I think because of Instagram haha) so if you’re not acquainted with the restaurant I recommend you book at least a week in advance for extra probability of getting a table. I would totally recommend breakfast, brunch and lunch, dinner not to the same extent, and if you can, the courtyard is a really great place to dine!
After my mom [Alex] came back from Prague, the first place I booked for us was, as you guys can probably guess, Chiltern Firehouse 😉 (I know, surprising).
And the ambience and just being there together catching up and sharing stories made the whole experience really special.
Also, the food.
We’d picked our favourite starters, although Alex nipped my crispbread hihi.
And then ordered more food!
The famous Apple Panna-Cotta turned out to be the perfect finish to our meals, but took a long time to convince ourselves that it was not too pretty to eat! I’d totally recommend this favourite haunt to you all and you can check out Chiltern Firehouse’s website for the menu and to book by clicking here 🙂
After our meal we decided to buy some rouge blooms and take the trip to Mayfair…
To nearby Annabel’s, where another alfresco paradise awaited…
… but found a gorgeous surprise waiting for us outside!
Summer is definitely here, whether the weather agrees or not!