So why the trip back to Chiltern Firehouse now?
It's because chef Nuno Mendes has a new toy - a wood fired grill that's been added to the kitchen. That means new dishes to try out.
But those crab doughnuts are still there too?
OF COURSE the crab doughnuts are still there - and you can't go to Chiltern Firehouse without ordering them. They are indeed as good as ever and the restaurant was its usual busy humming self on the Saturday afternoon that we visited.
So what's so special about the grill?
We'll let Nuno Mendes tell you that in his own words "The set up of our grill has been one of the trickiest but most interesting creative processes in the kitchen at the Firehouse. Lending a very unique taste to all ingredients that pass through it, we mix applewood, cherry, beech oak and hazel, and use soaked hickory chips to give our wood grill dishes a very complex, smokey, sweet and subtly charred taste - it’s the latest Firehouse flavour that we’re obsessed with."
And if he's obsessed with it - then we are too. The main wood grill menu hits the restaurant on weekday lunches, but at all times there are new wood grilled dishes to seek out.
And which dishes should we try?
First off - the vegetarian option. Like many chefs in London, Mendes is exploring what's possible with vegetarian mains and this is ably displayed in the main new addition to the menu - wood grilled cauliflower, vegetable XO, sour cream (£21). It is a properly astounding dish - and would easily take the place of any meat-focused main course. As for the rest - we really liked:
- The saddleback pork chop with sauce ravigote (£27) - almost the opposite to the cauliflower dish, this is a HUGE pork chop that could probably feed two if we weren't so greedy. Immaculately cooked.
- Wood grilled cheese wrapped in wild garlic - the cheese is wrapped in garlic and then grilled to melting. A standout cheese course.
- Not on the grill menu - but worth pointing out, the foie gras terrine with pecans, smoked grapes & Iberico ham was an excellent starter - hard to fault something that comes with Iberico ham on toast as a side.
- The rhubarb granite with vanilla custard and milk crumbs - rounded things up nicely.
We've been back to Chiltern Firehouse a few times and have never been disappointed. We love the food here, the new grill menu is a great addition and it's still one of the buzziest restaurants in town.
Chiltern Firehouse is at 1 Chiltern St, London W1U 7PA. Find out more about Chiltern Firehouse
Hot Dinners were invited to Chiltern Firehouse. Prices were correct at the time of writing.