Chiltern Firehouse

Restaurants , Creative contemporary Marylebone
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
(28 user reviews)
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 (© Britta Jaschinski)
© Britta Jaschinski
 (© Britta Jaschinski)
© Britta Jaschinski
 (© Britta Jaschinski)
© Britta Jaschinski
 (© Britta Jaschinski)
© Britta Jaschinski
 (© Britta Jaschinski)
© Britta Jaschinski
 (© Britta Jaschinski)
© Britta Jaschinski
 (© Britta Jaschinski)
© Britta Jaschinski

One of London's hottest (and hardest to book) restaurants, with culinary fireworks exploding in every trend-conscious but wonderful dish.

André Balazs is one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, with a net worth estimated at $450 million. But rather than follow the example of George Best (who once said ‘I spent 90 percent of my money on women, drink and fast cars; the rest I wasted’), the Hungarian-born US citizen has set about building a hotel and restaurant empire, starting with Chateau Marmont in Hollywood and progressing through The Mercer Hotel in New York City, among many others.

Chiltern Firehouse is Balazs’s first hotel outside the US. A lovely 1889 Grade II-listed Victorian-gothic fire brigade building has been rebuilt from the inside out, and now boasts a discreetly gated garden as the entrance. The staff’s aura of professionalism and sincerity hits you immediately: they’re uniformly well drilled and rarely go off-script. Checking in feels a bit like arriving at  a Scientology meeting.

The best seats are at the kitchen counter, where you can watch the chefs at work in their lavishly appointed huge open kitchen. Nuno Mendes – formerly of Viajante – is in residence, creating a menu that reflects current trends in top international restaurants.
The kitchen can do fiddly and pretty, exemplified by stunning appetisers such as the tiny, slider-like ‘doughnuts’ filled with crab meat. But pretty’s only part of the story here. Good flavour combinations and modern cooking techniques are also to the fore. We watched as our squab starter was expertly carved, the pigeon meat shockingly pink but the skin crisp. Assembled with braised chicory and a herb-infused barley risotto, it was a stunning dish.

A main course also greatly exceeded expectations. Monkfish was cooked in a sealed pan using hot charcoal and fresh pine – similar to the French technique of éclade, with the pine aroma infusing the flesh. The monkfish had a lobster-like tenderness that needed little more than some fennel and small dollops of moist puffed barley to make a dish.

Inventive, but not overplayed details are a theme here: a slick of smooth roasted aubergine purée with perfectly tender grilled octopus or a dense jus reduction with slow-roasted beef short ribs.

The desserts are equally simple, equally clever. A ‘panna cotta’ was more like a baked alaska, the ice-cream below the grilled swirl of meringue kept cold by a moat of frozen green granita. Of course, such skill and such a swanky setting don’t come cheap, especially with a tempting list of wines and cocktails at premium prices.

Ask for a tour of the hotel if you’re visiting, as it’s illuminating to see how the rich travel; the 26 suites are stunning, and a trip up the firehouse’s watchtower to admire the view is a treat. In fact, our only reservation was our reservation: it took us three refusals from the booking desk’s email, then three visits in person, to secure our dinner table. Firehouse is so hot right now.


Venue name: Chiltern Firehouse
Address: 1 Chiltern St
Opening hours: 8-10.30am, noon-3pm, 6-11pm Mon-Fri; 11am-3pm, 6-11pm Sat-Sun
Transport: Bond Street or Baker Street tube
Price: Dinner for two with wine and service around £150.
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Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:9
  • 3 star:6
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
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2 of 2 found helpful
Staff WriterStaff Comp

A lovely venue if you can book a table. I came here for the first time for lunch over the summer, it was a beautiful sunny day and dining in the courtyard is just fabulous. The menu is really interesting and unique and the service is excellent. Last week I came here for a business breakfast and the eggs and avocado were lovely. I'd highly recommend both lunch and breakfast and look forward to trying dinner.

Adam Walker
2 of 2 found helpful

Had an amazing dinner here last night. The space is stunning; don't miss a drink in the beautiful bar before taking your table. And I can't wait to sip a G&T on the summer terrace when the weather warms up. The staff and service is exemplary. It's old school glamour all the way. As for the food, Nuno is on fire - literally. Every dish was delicious; the crab donuts, the maple glazed salmon, the cornbread, the chocolate torte. It's like the Hollywood Hills have arrived in Marylebone. And it's my new local. Can't wait to go back. Andre, we salute you.

1 of 1 found helpful

Best for lazy sunday morning brunches when its all a little quieter and theres free street parking nearby, FT and ambiance provided. The solution to all items on the menu being amazing is to order everything to share - the corn dogs with bacon butter and crab donuts are essentials :).

Stefan S
1 of 1 found helpful

"Celebrity famehouse" is the name I personally associate with this venue. Set in the heart of Marylebone, I have witnessed taxis and limos whizz past in the night to drop off A-listers. While they are greeted by paparazzi for bookings made months in advance, you can get a taste of fame by booking for breakfast. Expect to be greeted by posh doormen and well-groomed waitstaff, alongside immaculate furnishings and porcelain crockery. However our expectation for good service was the missing link. The waitstaff mixed up our orders, spilled maple syrup on the table, and generally were difficult to get hold of, despite empty tables speckled around. Food presentation was cute and charming - my spinach crepes were literally green. The mushroom and potato filling was warm and delicious, with the spiced yoghurt making it an Indian-inspired cuisine combo. Overall I'd be curious to go back - particularly in the evening, if I'm lucky enough!

julio bruno

We were lucky to get a table in the garden in a gorgeous summer day in September. The food was excellent, grilled carrots with hummus and sea bream in my case. Delicious. All paired with a great Sancerre wine. Service was attentive and unobtrusive. Great location and surroundings.  

Frederic R

Very disappointing. The service was woeful, waiters kept on bumping into one of our seats and the food went from average to mediocre. You pay for beautiful surroundings and the privilege of a reservation, but do not expect an enjoyable culinary experience.

Sarah G

I booked Chiltern Firehouse with really high hopes and expectations for a family visit for brunch (6 adults, 2 children) to celebrate my stepdaughter's 21st birthday. We kept it a surprise and she was delighted.

Because of the size of our party we were given a private dining room, which felt quite special but also meant we were cut off from the main restaurants ambience.

The restaurant is actually quite hard to find as there is no outside signage & the entrance isn't obvious. Once inside, my general impression was of a luxe but cramped interior. I really liked the oxblood leather curtain you have to walk through, it's very grand. But the tables are very close together & weaving your way to the distant toilet takes quite a while as its single lane traffic.

We had a lovely afternoon, the service was friendly & efficient.

The brunch menu is lovely & was my attempt to make the visit affordable. Everything (apart from the steak looked affordable, but it's amazing how it all adds up!)

I was surprised there were no classic English options (no bacon anywhere!) but we enjoyed our starter 'snacks' the crab doughnuts & bacon cornbread were delightful. Our mains were a selection of omelettes, classic egg dishes (eggs all perfect), pancakes (huge stack of really fluffy ones,) salmon (medium rare), shrimp & grits & I had the powerfully spicy crab noodles & we shared some (small portions) sides of fries & salad. Desserts - dark chocolate tart, sorbets, key lime pie & burnt meringue pannacotta, were enjoyed by all, athough, I personally really didn't like the burnt meringue pannacotta.

There were a number if glitches with the order, 3 instead of 2 portions of crab doughnuts, hollandaise not on the side as requested, condiments not offered (& staff absent for a while at the crucial moments we needed them) & ice creams instead of sorbets served with bizarre explanation of faulty freezers. To be fair they were very apologetic, replaced the incorrect dishes & took items of the bill but still a few too many errors for such a place.

The bill was high £350 plus for the 8 of us, & all in all for that money I'd take Berner's Tavern for grandeur, Sushi Samba for the Rock & roll or Duck & Waffle for the fun as while it was lovely & the food good I didn't think it lived up to my expectations or warranted the prices.


After having wanted to see what all the Fuzz is all about at the Celebrity hot spot Chiltern Firehouse, I was finally able to secure one of the extremely sought after tables for two for a romantic dinner (Well my friend got the table by pulling some serious strings). upon arrival you are immediately blown off your feet by the stunning venue. The old Firehouse has been converted in such a beautiful and respectful way. So we went for a few snacks to start, then two fish mains and followed by a rather peculiar dessert of pear and licorice. Don't get me wrong ... the food was good, but definitely not worth the extortionate price tag. Service was lovely, but it was fairly obvious that they wanted our table back quickly (you can't really blame them - we were having the cheapest bottle of wine on the menu). So I would definitely go back to Chiltern Firehouse, but next time I would go for bar snacks and cocktails on the amazing courtyard.

Sohère R

Lucky me getting a last minute table for Sunday Brunch! I wanted to see what all the hype was about. The staff are attentive and dressed very smartly, there's a buzzy atmosphere, and the decor is smart but not intimidating with lovely attention to detail.  It had a feel of Hollywood 50s glamour. The food was lovely (the crab donuts blew my mind!), overpriced for the size of course, but you pay for the exclusivity. Afterwards I went for a cup of tea in the bar area, which was also relaxing and smart and not intimidating. Very enjoyable afternoon, and would love to go back again for a special occasion. 

jael m
Staff Writer

The hype is justified – not for all the celebrities going there (I wish they wouldn’t making it easier for us normal people to get a booking) but as the flavor combinations and food creations really are on a different level!

To start with we had some amazing savoury donuts served with a chipotle style butter and we also tried the ceviche: fresh, tangy and flavoursome!I then opted for monkfish, which was infused with a subtle flavor of pine and served on puffed grains.

The dessert of panna cotta set atop of a grass green granita, which as the panna cotta was under a grilled meringue topping, leaving it looking a little brown, might not be the best presentation (see below) but delivered an exciting taste sensation.You get all those dishes on the lunchtime menu as well, so my recommendation is to try for a table then, as you’re much more likely to succeed in getting one!

Richard N

It's quite a lovely venue. People recommend the starters but I say skip those and go splurge on the main courses instead. Had a delicious octopus that melted in your mouth, absolutely heavenly. Difficult to book, so pray hard you get lucky. You can see the chefs are very meticulous, and if you still have space after, grab a dessert. I had one which utilised some sort of herbal ice, which sounds disgusting, but when combined with apple ice cream, makes a a very satisfying end to a meal.


A beautiful venue to have dinner in but I couldn’t quite shake the feeling I wasn’t supposed to be there. Beautiful food – particular highlights were the deviled eggs, cornbread and crab doughnuts. Starter was a bit bland – mackerel – but a cracking steak followed. The staff are beautifully turned out and very attentive. A very expensive night out – if you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a special occasion I think they’re more special places to go – Chiltern Firehouse is definitely riding the wave of being an ‘it’ venue.


I love the garden! Ambience-wise definitely one of my favorite spots in town. I love their cornbread fingers!


i was certain this place couldn't live up to the hype but i wasn't disappointed. Great food, relaxed atmosphere and a bit of celeb spotting all at lunch time. The Steak tartare with the spicy sauce and the crab donuts are the must try items.


Managed to get a booking for brunch by calling the night before, so don't assume it's 'impossible' to get a table, like everyone seems to think. The eggs florentine was excellent, and the almond milk in my cappuccino tasted like it was homemade which was impressive, the selection of fresh juices are a delight as is the courtyard- the flowers are beautiful! Would highly, highly recommend.

Ros A

I was very excited to be invited to lunch at Chiltern Firehouse. This "bang on trend" restaurant seems to be frequented by, in essence, every celebrity on earth for  every minute of every day (or so The Daily Mail would make out) so I was very curious as to what made it so popular. 

When you walk in, you'll be ushered through by smart looking door staff and through a beautiful courtyard. I kind of got dumped there - not knowing where to go- so I stood stranded and gormless. But wait! There's bleedin' Duncan Bannatyne tying up his shoelaces! Alas. I didn't realise it was him until I'd already freewheeled into asking him the direction of the restaurant to which he gladly obliged with a grunt and a point (I don't THINK he's on the payroll). 

Once I had left my coat with the cloakroom, I was taken through to meet my friend. The restaurant itself is absolutely stunning - gorgeous features, comfortable and it feels a little "alice in wonderland" esque. It's light, bright, and airy. All in all, a great, buzzy atmosphere. There is lots to look at (by way of decoration, rather than celebs to gawp at, although there are a few of those dotted around too), and the kitchen is all visible so you can see food being prepared. 

Service was pretty good, the food a little lacklustre I thought, hence the 3*. If you're waiting 3 months for a table, I want the food to be outstanding. Instead it felt a little basic and not terribly exciting. That said, it wasn't unpleasant by any means.  I've heard the brunch is better though, so perhaps try that.

timothy w

I get it. Good food, shabby chic interior, good food. Definitely glad I have been and may well come back. Good service. Worth a try

Samantha H

Worth the hype and effort to actually get a table.  The service and food were incredible throughout.  Atmosphere was nice, buzzy without being too loud.  Will definitely go again....if I can get a table! 

Charly Lester
moderatorStaff Writer

Beautiful venue, and incredible staff, but the food is very average.  Go for the atmosphere (and because you managed to get in), not for the dining experience! 

Staff Writer

Wondeful venue, feels very grand and you can see the attention to detail all around you. Food was good but there weren't any can't miss dishes, just usual concoctions done well. Service was great, fairly laid back but sommelier was particularly rude which was a shame. I went over Christmas so would be keen to visit again with a spring menu.


Visited The Chiltern Firehouse a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it. A group of 4 of us shared a midweek business breakfast to celebrate a birthday. 

The building is stunning and the service was warm and attentive without being fussy. The food lived up to the hype too. Would recommend a basket of pastries with your coffee while you're waiting. 

If you work in media like the group I was in, be aware that it's proximity to an agency down the road means you will know half the people in there.    


Star Rating 3/4

We visited the Chiltern Firestation Restaurant last Sunday, 20th July for dinner, the booking for 18.30. We enjoyed the meal, except for the "server" constantly interrupting our conversations.   However, towards the end of the meal, the server came to say that we had to leave the table because it had been booked by another party.   We agreed that we would leave after we had finished our coffee and paid the bill.   However, on two other occasions the server came over and insisted that we leave immediately.   Reluctantly we decided not to have coffee, particularly as we were embarrassed that other people were listening.   We left after settling the bill.   At no time were we told at booking that the table was booked for the evening and we had to leave at a certain time.   This restaurant may be "flavour of the month" but to be treated in this manner was distressing and uncomfortable.   When the duty manager was informed about our problem, no apology was given.   We left, never to go there again and be embarrassed.

Mareka C

Delicious dinner, beautiful converted location... And very inventive, as I had come to expect of Nuno Mendes, having been privileged enough to experience his tasting menu at Viajante.

Nibbles of cornbread with maple bacon butter, fried chicken, followed by in season asparagus, and then monkfish on green barley risotto. And for dessert? Carrot cake crumbs with juliette baked carrot strips and the most amazing horseradish ice cream. It really worked.

Plus the maître d charged my iPhone during dinner. Slick.

Well done Mendes and Balasz.