Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, what a fabulous name. A name proudly British in style and grandeur, it is both reflected in both the bar and kitchen in this popular City of London restaurant and bar.
Décor and Ambience
A strikingly dark green frontage manages to convince that you are in for something rather grand on your evening out. Décor is old school, with wood panelling, leather chairs and big mirrors, it felt like a hybrid of a Michelin Star Hotel restaurant with a dash of gastro pub, whatever it is, it works, and gives you that warm feeling that you are dining somewhere rather special. On entrance, you are welcomed by a brightly lit and attentive bar, which buzzes with City drinkers; mostly standing and twittering about that big deal, dont be alarmed though because once you work your way through them, you are greeted by a spacious and more formal dining setting. The dining room has an Anglo-Franco design with a clean, modern and formal feel, and to my relief managed to block out the drinkers chatter from the bar.
Chiswell Street Dining Rooms front bar is well stocked with British wines and beer
Clients and Atmosphere
This is very much a City affair. What would you expect when located in lawyer land and the menu pricing clearly reflects this. Although most are in suits, my jeans and shirt passed the test so it is not as stuffy as some city establishments. The bar and restaurant are very much separated, so you can come to the bar to sample some rather tasty British ales and beers for your after work drinks or dine in style in a more intimate and formal atmosphere.
Chiswell Street Dining Rooms offers up a grand dining affair
If like me, you have international friends that still rib you about the quality of British food, then point them in the direction of Chiswell Street Dining Rooms. The menu is a very British affair, with a proud boast of the local and seasonal produce. I had trouble deciding what starter to go for, Maldon rock oysters, Jerusalem artichoke soup and Venison Carpaccio, caught my eye but my friend and I opted for the Herefordshire snail and smoked bacon Guiness pie(£9.50), which our waitress very enthusiastically championed, and the Dorset crab, watercress and blood orange salad, Melba toast (£9.50). My first British snail went down well albeit slowly, but if are like me and need a big crunch in your pie then you may be a little underwhelmed. My friend sat smugly devouring the crab which I was told was the perfect starter, fresh and zingy. Stand outs on the mains included the Roast Yorkshire wood pigeon and Braised Dexter beef cheeks. Our mains came quickly, and I plumped for the Roast fillet of Atlantic cod, seared foie gras, Roscoff onion purée, baby fennel, fig and thyme chutney (£24). It tastes as good as it sounds. Flavours were well balanced and the cod fresh and delicate. My friend went for the special of the day, the Monkfish (£19), which sadly was overcooked but her Roast celeriac rescued things and looked so good that I had to pinch one.
Herefordshire Snail, Bacon and Guiness Pie
The bar serves up a solid range of European draught lagers as well as some on-trend craft beers including the delicious Harviestoun Porter from Scotland. We resisted the cocktail list, despite having quite a comprehensive list at about £8 a drink, and it includes a Healthy list for those feeling guilty. Rather impressively, the owners make their own wines in France, so despite there being a substantial amount of standout wines, Old and New world, we went for the Chardonnay/Sauvignon/Chasan blend (£16.50) created by the ETM Group in the South of France, and was fresh, light and perfectly accompanied our fish dishes.
Chiswell Street Dining Rooms is an elegant affair, a looking glass into the current British dining and bar scene, and is a rather nice spot to impress that date or client.
Budget: Splash the cash
Pre-designs: Date night, City Drinks, Impress a date or client, Staff party