Thursday, 30 October 2014

Chiltern Firehouse

Been longing to eat here for some time now, I've actually cancelled two bookings to date. Before you gasp in horror, let me tell you I am not that important or well connected to have managed three decent bookings at Chiltern firehouse! I had merely managed to secure the lamest of reservation times, one being 5:30pm on a Wednesday and a 1:30 on a Saturday with only 1.5 hour seating. Didn't happen.

So I'm sure like many other fellow 'foodies' venturing to Chiltern Firehouse I couldn't give two vagina's about how many times Rita Ora has warmed up the booth leather or which A list stick of self importance has graced these seats either.I like everyone else just wants to know is it bloody worth it.

The fence that you enter the restaurant through (there's no obvious entrance- to clarify you don't actually walk through the fence there is a gap) is manned by two smooth looking dudes that I assume are the greeters however they look more like semi-rich guests. Lovely stuff.
 As we manoeuvre our way through we are greeted by the host, she puts me in the mind of someone........who is it....yes!that's it! - the alien queen in Men in black!, ah ha just googled her ... Serleena!!although I must say the hosts cloak is actually more intimidating than the Alien queen. So now I'm thinking perhaps Chiltern Firehouse is run my some Illuminati cult of extra terrestrials and that's why all the A-lister's flock here! I've only gone and done it,I've solved the bloody mystery!YES ME!You lot have been pondering over this one for months, I just figured it out within 5 minutes of being here! ;)

Moving on.....
The host 

Serleena proceeded to show us to what I would say is one of the worse tables in the restaurant ,we are situated under the kitchen (unable to see the chefs) and my friend opposite has a nice big pillar at his side obstructing any freedom to turn, well this is what you get when you're not part of the cult, why would little ol me get a booth. I sound bitter that's not attractive. Fuck the booth.

 I get to see a menu at last! you may have noticed they don't have menu's online. I had to do a Google image of Chiltern Firehouse menus to get a peek, turned out to be a pointless exercise as the menu bar a few items was completely different to what I'd seen.

To start the 'snacks' we order THE Crab doughnuts and Cornbread fingers. I've heard a lot about these crab doughnuts. I love crab and I love doughnuts, sounds like a winner to me! They are just the right amount of sweet, fried but not greasy, soft tasty little bites with delicate lightly seasoned crab inside, however they are diddy, so for £6.00 I would suggest not bothering.The fried corn bread fingers are also very alike to a doughnut, they would have been more suited on the side of an ice cream, that said I love doughnuts so whatever, again £6.00 for the pleasure. That's £12.00 done already on unsubstantial nibbles, feels worth mentioning, if you're looking to avoid a high bill, this is where restaurants get you.

My starter of Sea Trout was served raw as a ceviche ,highly welcomed. The menu didn't actually specify how the dish would come cooked, or not in this case. I perhaps wouldn't have been so keen on a lack of description in my less adventurous days but now I think its quite clever. If you don't have a pre-conceived idea of how it will be you are more open to enjoy the chefs choice,surely?
 The thick sliced chunks of  bright orange Sea trout came marinading in what tasted like pink grapefruit and pineapple juice, Salmon roe was generously sprinkled over the raw fish - popping  in my mouth with every bite adding a pleasantly fishy taste, thinly sliced pear and coriander complimented the whole dish perfectly. Best Ceviche I've ever tasted.

Sea trout starter

For main I had the Sea bream, which my dining partner informed me, is very similar to sea bass and may sometimes be used in restaurants as a replacement when no bass has come in, most people wouldn't know the difference without looking at the fish before its final hour, he wasn't wrong It tasted exactly the same to me, perhaps more fleshy than the sea bass I've had, but the taste well you'd have to be a pro. Pan fried in butter my crispy skinned piece of loveliness sat on a bed of cima ri rapa, perhaps some cabbage and I'm sure some grapefruit was in there, the bitter (cima di rapa) sour (grapefruit) sweet (shrimps) and buttery well butter - all combined resulted in an exceptionally pleasing dish.

My side dish of al dente green beans come in this dressing that, I wish I could explain to you better, its a creamy/yogurt taste with sprinkle of mild onion rings and I think sumac, really tasty. I love green beans and would love to try them like this at home. While I'm on the subject may I mention something I read today about Chiltern's food; a negative Trip advisor review .. I quote

"Main was un interesting over-herb-encrusted salmon and uncooked beans". 

My appreciated uncooked green beans 

The salmon well I can't comment, I didn't have the Salmon. But lets talk about the uncooked beans, yes they weren't boiled to death the classic English way, the way that successfully put myself and many other English folk off green beans for decades, we are only now recovering thanks to the kind restoration of the beans dignity. With chefs giving us new ways of eating beans! If you're not big on trying new variations of food, may I suggest not leaving the house or maybe we should give Nuno a call see if he's got any spare time to pop round yours on a Sunday to get some bean cooking lessons?! 

And so that's the beans dealt with. 

Moving on to dessert, strawberry sundae, doesnt come in a sundae glass, shame I thought,but then if I'm expecting a sundae glass I'm getting just as bad as the beans lady. 

It is (excuse my immature description) soooooooooooooo yummo. MMMMMMMMM The milk ice cream,( I love milk), the strawberry sauce, caramel and biscuit perfect amounts of everything, not to sweet, not at all sour just creamy and brilliant. 

We finished up with Cocktails at the bar, I went off menu (I'm like to think I'm cool when I do that, I know a cocktail that's NOT on the menu and its not Sex on the beach! maturity right there) so now I'm classy and mature I like to order an Amaretto sour which I must say besides Donnys in Sidcup, version which was the most generous amaretto sour I've ever had - this one was the absolute ultimate in taste.Topped with foamy egg white and a twist of lemon - not that foam and rind will get me drunk, but still absolutely marvellous. He didn't take long either, its all well and good ordering a fancy cocktail but sometimes the wait is enough to make you wish you had a pint of Stella instead. 

The bill came to £214.00 for two people, three courses , 'snacks' , bottle of wine, cocktails and service. They charge a 15% service (most restaurants in London charge 12.5%) so we didn't even leave a tip.My theory is the extra 2.5% goes towards the staffs uniform cleaning bills (there are loads of them) of course not forgetting Sheelnas cloak of doom .Or maybe it goes towards the A listers free drinks fund.Who knows. 

To conclude: 

Atmosphere: Bored rich people, american bloggers (reading bad reviews of chiltern outloud at the dinner table) smug business people and ladies who lunch. Collectively quite dull, but thats not all Chilterns fault. 

I feel like I've heard moans about all the wrong things. 
The staff are not rude and I found all the food to be really and truly quite perfect. The atmosphere not bad, not electrifying but all in all I had a good time, plus should I have had a booth and an 8pm booking maybe it would have been more so.

They may have stepped up their game since reading previous bad reviews, I can't really comment on peoples experiences, but the food- could it be that inconsistent that one day its perfect and the next its 'inedible'?! as one trip advisor review read.On the flip side I can appreciate the wait for the reservation may not seem worth it as such - you can get food just as good without waiting two months for it, so I'd suggest looking forward to it, but get it out of your head that you will not be sat on a the table next to Madonna laying eggs while a flame throwing chef flambees your pancakes. Its not THAT special.

You are not prepared to spend £100.00 per head 
You are obsessed by the 'hype' 
You are not that interested in the food. (obvious it would seem)
You have to travel miles to get here. 
You like vegetables to be boiled to death. 


You have the time to work around the booking you've managed to secure
You are passionate about good food 
You have a fair bit of spare dosh. 

.Have fun xx

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Bleeding heart restaurant - London

Have been wanting to eat at this place for a while, I was once shown inside the crypt which can be hired for weddings and private dining - Henry the 8th married his first wife there! Need I say more, I was never much interested in history at school, but Henry the 8th and his beheading of wives was just gripping.
I would love to tell you more about Henry's wedding feast but that would mean researching to ensure I get the all facts right,which evidently means you waiting another few weeks for this review to be posted and I quite frankly can't be arsed. 

Moving on to my review of  the Bleeding heart, I'll begin with the menu, it comprises of classic 'french' dishes - Which I really wish they could now just be called English considering we have too now proved ourselves to be more than capable of making a dinner comprising of fish/meat and vegetables taste good. 
The wine list is long, we went for a bottle of the white Rioja which was a £40.00 bottle, well worth it, I was practically downing it. I did  just notice this below though , its a webpage selling this wine at £40.00 for 6 bottles. Fuck sake - not begrudging it , I know the drink mark up is where the money is made in restaurants, just wish I had six bottles of it.

We walked through a large dining room and was led to a smaller part of the restaurant which was much more cosy, the table is the corner where we sat was nice and snug. 
The restaurant has been restored with care, its not come far away from how what I would assume it once looked like in the 16th century. 
Its very Romantic... if you take your woman here it would win you some serious brownie points,sorry that sounds lame- you'd get lucky that night put it that way, unless of course she doesn't like food, wine and old stuff. 

Bleeding heart 

After eating some complimentary bread which was tasty but the Olive bread didn't have enough olives and the butter would have been better salted but that make me sounds like a fussy bitch so I'll move on .... starter was slightly odd yet still perfectly edible. I had the Venison with Crisp Cumbrian ham. The Venison comes raw, seared and thinly sliced with accompanying black pudding beignets, which I loved the sound of - I was under the impression Beignets was French for doughnuts but these were just nuggets of black pudding in crumbs, fine but not what I imagined, the dressing with the crispy ham was tasty I just found all the elements together didn't quite work, nothing married although separate they were fine. 

My partner had the crab starter which went down well even though he's not a massive fan of Avocado, seems to be a man thing? What happened between man and Avocado in our history? something must have went down. 

For the main I choose Halibut and he had the Vension. Both were as delicious as each other, my Halibut was cooked perfectly  as was the pomme cocotte (to us English people that's pretty shaped potatoes) - Don't get me started - with Savoy cabbage and a champagne sauce. Only complaint here is not enough sauce it was too good to only have that amount on the plate, I understand not wanting the plate's presentation to be ruined so perhaps a jug of it on the side would work. 
The Venison was rich and filling, really hearty plate of grub, it came with plums and MASH POTATO. It was devoured at almost the same rate as my wine. 

When the waiter poured the last glass which I didn't even know existed I actually screeched 'YES! I thought it was all gone' with as much grace and femininity as Henry's wifes reaction when he first got his fat arse out in front of her.

The dessert of chocolate bomb and salted caramel ice-cream was likable, not mind blowing but tasty none the less, the passion fruit was definitely needed on the dish, without it would have been too sweet. 

The staff here are really good, I felt very welcome throughout which sometimes seems somewhat a rarity in London even if we do have an amazing amount of fantastic restaurants, the service mostly fits into robotic, too cool for school (and you the customer) , too laid back and just too stiff. 
This was none of those. 
It wasn't perfect but it wasn't trying to be, just a romantic well staffed enticing , history rich restaurant with no sign of Henry's fat arse although I think I may have left there with a extra pound on mine. 


FOOD: 7.5/10
SERVICE: 8.5/10

Monday, 6 October 2014

As usual I have been a lazy arsehole and not posted my latest reviews...
You have on there way.....

Ibiza reviews 

Tapas 43
Home Loo's
Le Bar
All Cafe
Ushuaia hotel
Hotel Jabaque
Space nightclub

London reviews 

Roux at the Landau
Bluebird Chelsea