I was looking forward to Chiltern Firehouse Brunch with my friend Jon Oh who was in London for a weekend catching up with friends before starting an insane week 10 days and hundreds of investor meetings across Europe.
I had been to Chiltern twice for dinner and was looking forward to seeing the vibe during the day and experimenting with a different menu. I loved it as the restaurant has a lot of windows and skylights and since it was a lovely autumn Saturday with no rain, the space felt bright and happy.
We looked at the menu and were first inclined to order a lot. When Jon asked our waiter if we had enough food, and I asked if we had actually too much, the waiter suggested we wait to order the iberico pork main after eating what we had already ordered to see if we were still hungry. I think his attitude was rare and praiseworthy as waiters usually push people to order too much and he was honest. He gets points for that…
What we ate:
Cornbread: I know…third time I have order it. The first time was just so amazing but the second time was disappointing so I had to try again. Luckily, third time is a charm and it was piping hot and absolutely delicious. As when we first tried it, straight from the oven mini cornbread baguettes, warm and moist, with the right amount of sweetness – so rich and delicious that the little chipotle- butter that comes with it was completely superfluous.
Smoked eel with potatoes, apple and horseradish: this dish was a very good surprise. The eel to me tasted almost liked a smoked trout and the eel chunks were gorgeous, white and slightly flaky with a beautiful and not overpowering smokiness. The potatoes were fingerling and small and tossed with a creamy dressing that had a subtle horseradish taste. Gorgeous and delicate dish and very creative. Best dish of our lunch!
Spiced crab omelette (turmeric, potatoes, chervil): the waiter said he really enjoyed this dish. I think the problem is the name, it should have been called egg crepe instead as what I envision when I read omelette is taller and fluffy and not very thin like a pancake, which is how this one was. The thin egg “omelette” was topped with the crab and with a creamy turmeric sauce with small pieces of green peppers. The crab was not spicy sadly and we couldn’t taste the turmeric or potatoes advertised on the menu. It was still ok but not what we expected.
Lobster noodles with chilli, ham, dried tomatoes and herbs: this was one of those dishes that grow on you as you continue eating as the spiciness kicks in and you find the little morsels of lobster, ham and tomatoes hiding at the bottom. It was a nice dish but I probably would order the amazing iberico pork we had the first time instead.
Wood roasted figs, caramel granite, fig leaf ice cream: I was trying to order something I had not tried before and should have gone with the pecan pie instead that our neighbors ordered after our dessert arrived and made me have major food envy. I thought this fig dessert sounded very seasonal and intriguing. The caramel granite didn’t taste like much and the roasted figs were overpowering. On the other hand, the fig leaf ice cream was lovely and very creamy and had some little crunchy bits in the middle that made it even more exciting. But, I would stick with the pecan pie, the chocolate dessert or the very creative and yummy frozen apple panna cotta (not your traditional one and very fun and delicious).
In sum: fun and buzzy as Chiltern usually is with some outstanding dishes and some just ok. But always a fun vibe and great people watching.
And of course don’t forget to check out the secret bar as usual by going though the secret door in the bathroom…
Chiltern Firehouse http://www.chilternfirehouse.com/
+44020 7073 7676
One Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London W1U 7PA