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Chiswell Street Dining Rooms (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Chiswell Street Dining Rooms in City of London, London

56 Chiswell Street, City of London, London, EC1Y 4SA
Cuisine: British
Tel: 02076140177 | Email to Chiswell Street Dining Rooms | Transport: Moorgate | Write review

Chiswell Street Dining Rooms Review

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Best for: fresh, seasonal ingredients; modern British dining in the City of London.

Great: atmosphere; staff; overall experience.

I’ve always had a little thing for perfection. I was one of those weird kids that actually studied at school, spending hours in the library poring over books about subjects I didn’t understand, let alone enjoy, to ensure that I got as close to 100% in tests as physically possible. Sometimes I managed it, and my feelings when I saw that perfectly shaped 100 on the page overshadowed any of the feelings I got for actually doing well in a subject. I arrange my clothes in a specific order, firstly by type (trousers followed by shirts followed by t-shirts followed by vests) and then by colour (black through to white with all colours in between). My desk at work is a vision of faultlessness: perfectly arranged pencils, all sharpened to a point; separate colour pens in separate pots; and Post-It notes in a line above the computer.

These tendencies towards perfection - some might say my obsessive-compulsions - have followed me through life and into my dining choices. Don’t get me wrong, my dishes don’t have to be lined up a certain way and the colours of the food don’t have to match, but I’m always seeking that perfect evening.

The Chiswell Street Dining Rooms are situated close to the Barbican Centre, far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the East End but not too far from the London city centre action.

The atmosphere, from the moment we stepped through the modern drawing room doors, crackled and spat, with diners and drinkers alike draped across all visible surfaces. The décor is plush, Chelsea plush, but without the added pretension that accompanies most Chelsea dining rooms. We were ushered past the bar area and into the restaurant where we were greeted by large circular tables and sparkling glasses.

I always like a restaurant that starts off with a bang, and my favourite type of bang (insert smutty joke here) is the offer, greedily accepted of course, of a glass of Champagne and a miniature loaf of homemade bread. The menu is short and intelligently chosen, heavy on fresh and expensive ingredients like lobster and foie gras and seafood picked up by the owner every morning from the local market.

Starters - beetroot and goats cheese salad with beetroot sorbet, king scallops in their shells with pumpkin puree and cobnuts - were ordered swiftly and consumed even faster. The latter was a triumph, and I all but sat on my hands to avoid sucking the fat scallops out of their shells without using my cutlery. The former was slightly disappointing, the beetroot sorbet not quite marrying with the room temperature salad. Our main courses followed: a good, honest steak with chips that mopped up the juices and a more elegant fish stew, delicate with flavours of the sea.

Nestled in the delightfulness of the restaurant, and indeed the evening, I almost forgot I was there to be critical. Me, a person who finds fault in even the most faultless of things, stumped for words. But, okay, the new potatoes in the fish stew were slightly undercooked, the beetroot sorbet was too clumsy and too cold to sit on top of a salad and didn’t quite achieve the nouveau cuisine perception it was going for.

I’ve always sought out exact perfection. I used to get awkward and frustrated if things didn’t match my idealised rose-tinted version of how things should be. But as I’ve got older I’ve realised that nothing is perfectly perfect, and I’ve learned to celebrate things for their imperfections (just look at my boyfriend!). But some nights, some dishes, some friendly, well-informed staff, some beautiful venues, are pretty damn close to being perfect, and my evening at the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms was one such experience.

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Loved

"Love the place, the food and the coffee, but most important is the staff and their happy smiling faces every time I go in. Would recommend this to anyone in the area, or if not - get in your car, drive..." Which venue is this?

Hated

"I have been there a few times over the years. The girls are great, there are usually about 5-6 there at any one time. All are attractive and usually there are at least one or two busty ones (my preference,..." Which venue is this?

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