Backed by A-list hotelier and property developer André Balazs and led by chef extraordinaire Nuno Mendes, the restaurant has lit up the Marylebone food scene since opening in 2014, drawing a starry crowd and impressing with its winning blend of buzzy atmosphere and top-notch food.
A former East London luvvie at the highly respected Viajante, Mendes demonstrates his trademark flair at this West End bolthole for the rich and famous. Dishes are composedly cosmopolitan (the American influence is particularly clear) - urbane without pushing the brow too far north.
There is a newfangled Caesar salad (The Firehouse Caesar) with strips of crispy chicken skin; savoury Crab doughnuts with coral dust; Buttermilk-fried chicken; Monkfish cooked over pine and Short rib of beef – adding up to a menu of recognisable dishes if slightly unrecognisably prepared. Breakfast options follow a similar trend, with souped-up versions of Eggs Benedict, Buttermilk pancakes and French toast on the menu.
Balazs has created a space where the rich and famous like to play. The handsome red-brick building, which looms large on this Marylebone street, has benefitted from the award-winning architect-cum designer’s redesign but remains true to its origins as a working firehouse. Decked out like a New York basement bar – brassy and lowly-lit – Chiltern feels every bit as buzzy as its reputation suggests. Its discreet courtyard entrance and hidden ‘Cigarettes and Men’ smoking area merely add to its mystique.