Chiltern Firehouse opened a couple of years back and the furore surrounding this former fire station in Marylebone has yet to cease.
As the latest offering from the mogul behind oh-so-glam Chateau Marmont in Hollywood and the Mercer hotel in New York, the Firehouse hotel and restaurant was set for success. The Grade II-listed gothic Victorian building has been carefully restored, and the bespoke decadence is immediately apparent, as you walk through the flatteringly lit corridors, your heels sinking into the plush cloud-like carpets.
All 26 of the rooms in the hotel boast ginormous beds clad in 400 thread count sheets, deep roll-top bathtubs, working fireplaces and personal concierges (one per hotel guest!) – it’s pure old school luxury to such a stratospheric level that you will struggle to ever return to the real world.
So thank goodness for the Firehouse’s restaurant (with Nuno Mendes at the helm), to which you can return when you need a Firehouse fix (provided you can wangle yourself a table).
Led to our table by a model-beautiful hostess in a ridiculous baby pink jumpsuit, we kept our eyes peeled for the droves of A-listers the press would have you believe will be present. No such luck.
Our French waiter appeared with a flourish and the grand declaration of, “I assume you will be starting with oysters and Champagne?” The meal therefore started on a high, and continued skywards from there, with bacon cornbread and chipotle-maple butter, and crab-stuffed donuts with coral dusting up next.
Although not cheap, the menu is not preposterously expensive either, with main courses around the £28 mark. We skipped dessert, instead leaning against the full-length mirror in the ladies’ bathroom to gain access to a clandestine bar and smoking terrace – before returning to the hotel’s main bar in the hope of spotting at least one celebrity. Nothing. Our disappointment was only heightened by the wrist-slap we got for taking photos in a No Photos area…
It’s hard to put a finger on exactly how Chiltern Firehouse is vastly different from other upmarket hotel/restaurants in London, to justify the insane hype around it – perhaps it’s just an exceptional piece of PR? – but two years on and it’s still burning bright, and I for one can’t wait to return.
1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PA
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