photo credit: Emma Lee Photography


Chiltern Firehouse

Modern European


$$$$Perfect For:BrunchCelebrity SightingsDate NightPeople WatchingSpecial Occasions


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Chiltern Firehouse has been one of London’s most exclusive hot spots since legendary hotelier André Balazs opened this hotel and restaurant in 2014. It has something of a reputation for attracting the rich and famous, and for also attracting those who come here specifically to take bathroom selfies with the rich and famous.

A place that’s been talked about as much as Chiltern Firehouse will always be more expectation than reality, both in terms of the food and experience, but also regarding whether a regular person will ‘fit in’. Does it live up to the hype? Is it worth the money? Will I have to wear spanx? The answer to those questions is generally “yes”, but here are the things you need to know.

First, you’re going to have to book ahead, and it’s going to be pricey. Breakfast is excellent, and a great way to experience the place without getting into something you won’t remember the next day. Unless you tend to go BIG at breakfast, and if you do, good on you. Brunch is also a great time to visit, thanks to a pretty garden and excellent waffles that you’ll enjoy and probably Instagram. At night, the caesar salad with crispy chicken skin is a favourite, and you’ll be so into your order of crab donuts that you won’t even notice Hugh Jackman smushing with Chris Hemsworth at the next table. Otherwise the food is mostly an afterthought, but you’re not really here to eat—you’re here to people watch and have a night. To that end, check out the smoking terrace hidden in the bathrooms, and if you’re lucky and your spanx are on point, you’ll be allowed in the Ladder Shed bar for a post-dinner cocktail.

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