Head to Chiswell Street Dining Rooms for a bit of top nosh in the heart of the city.
If you are heading Barbican-way then take a detour to Chiswell Street Dining Rooms for some hearty nosh gastro style. We went as the nights were just turning dark and the leaves were getting crispy; seeing the lights of Chiswell Street Dining Rooms beaming out at us from the large windows made me feel all toasty and warm.
There’s a small bar area as you go in and the venue is rightly proud of its homely bar area with comfy seating. With no seats to spare in the bar we headed straight into the restaurant area which isn’t divided up much from the bar area so there’s no ‘them and us’ situation.
We had a good look through the cocktail list and opted for an aperitif of the signature cocktail. The Chiswell 56 is a cracker of a drink with homemade sloe berry gin, blueberries and Champagne. I love a good cocktail and this was made even better as the ingredients didn’t mask the flavour of the Champagne.
The waiter recommended a glass of wine to suit my tastes and when it sadly didn’t suit he whisked it off to replace it with a more reliable choice. When a girl knows what she likes, she knows what she likes.
From the menu we opted for a very wintery selection. A starter of wild Yorkshire hare, wood pigeon and foie gras terrine was very mild, soft and creamy at £9.50. My partner chose the seared Isle of Man king scallops, Ironbark pumpkin puree and cobnuts at £11.50 , which were succulent, salty but not overtly.
For mains my partner opted for a winter comforter of Guinea fowl and date ballotine, curly kale, garlic creamed potatoes, chantrelle and raisin jus at £19.50, while I went for confit fillet of organic Scottish salmon, braised chicory, roast fennel and saffron cream at £18. The only complaint was too much chicory but the saffron cream was all deliciousness and I was pushing my vegetables around the plate to scoop up the last of the cream, eeking it out.
For pudding (all at £6.50) the Taylor’s Port sticky fig pudding with toffee sauce was fabulously stodgy and a real winter delight with the sauce presented in its own side pouring jug. The Blossom honey parfait and Crunchy Bar honeycomb took my fancy and was a thicker parfait than I’ve had before.
To finish, we rounded off with coffee, which was presented with petit fours and this goes a way to explaining the kind of place Chiswell Street Dining Rooms is. The décor is nothing out of the ordinary and that can be misleading as this is a Dining Room with fabulous service. Whenever I got up the waiter replaced my napkin with a fresh one and in my experience, that very rarely happens anywhere.
Chiswell Street Dining Rooms was busy for what should normally be a quiet Tuesday but the service, drinks and food go a long way to explaining its popularity. At the time of writing Chiswell Street Dining Rooms had introduced a 2012 menu: 3 courses for £20.12 so keep an eye out for these special offers.
Top Tip: The Chiswell 56 was one of the best Champagne cocktails I’ve had so order this aperitif while you choose your food. You won’t be disappointed.
Written by Lorna Strickland