Relaxed dining at No 197 Chiswick Fire Station, Chiswick
Restaurant Review: No 197 Chiswick Fire Station, Chiswick, London
Style Points: 4/5
No 197 Chiswick Fire Station is an independent neighbourhood bar and restaurant serving Contemporary European cuisine in a relaxed, modern back drop.
Part of the Darwin and Wallace collection, No 197 Chiswick Fire Station is a venue reflects the high quality interiors of their other branches. Boasting a central bar which keeps in theme with and honours the traditional fire station's original form.
What's on the menu?
After being warmly greeted by friendly and helpful staff, we began by browsing the drinks menu. I ordered a watermelon sour (ciroc coconut, fresh watermelon, lemon juice £9.50) which was served long and was summery, cooling, and fresh with a large triangle wedge of watermelon. My guest ordered a glass of (La Florencia Malbec) Argentinian red wine (£6.75).
Shortly after, the bread arrives and it's always really bad when the bread is really good. The bread (to share) could have easily been a third of a large loaf, sliced but not all the way through so you can tear away. It was soft, fresh and had a crunch to the crust. The butter is wrapped up like a package at a picnic and is quite solid at first but the softly baked bread was lovely.
For our starters, from the menu, we ordered the sticky beef soft tacos (with aioli and spring onion) which were tasty and a little sweeter than I had anticipated due to the caramelised onions. The crostini with whipped goats cheese and pear pickle had really interesting flavours but was a pleasing combination of slightly salty and sweet. Our two starters were enough for two of us however if you're feeling brave, you could go for a third.
I struggled to choose my main course from the menu, as everything sounded very inviting but I was in the mood for something fairly light, being a late summer evening. I ordered the flat-iron chicken (with black bean, heritage tomato, new potato and olive) which I found to be tender with slight chargrilled edges. The chicken had good flavour and came with tasty potatoes, veg, green beans as well as Mexican style beans.
My guest opted for the pan-fried potato gnocchi dish (with heritage tomato, Burrata, basil and pistachio pesto) which was very well seasoned, with a strong potato flavour/texture and served with a delicious pistachio pesto. Overall this dish boasted great textures and flavours.
The desserts on the menu sounded really exciting. I chose the Roast Pineapple (with wonky chilli syrup and coconut sorbet). The pineapple was scored into slices, delicately sprinkled with chilli shavings, light icy coconut sorbet with a chilli oil to drizzle. I would never have thought to put such flavours together but they blended beautifully. The fleshy citrus pineapple combined with the subtle creamy refreshing sorbet along with the kick of chilli made this a unique and memorable dessert.
My guest had the Eton mess (with strawberries, treacle meringue and vanilla cream) which I can vouch for being light and creamy with chunks of gorgeous treacle-comb biscuit, drizzled with a sweet strawberry syrup. What a beautiful mess! I honestly couldn't decide if I loved my or my guest's dessert more.
Could I afford to dine here again?
Our starters, main courses and desserts came to £27.40 each with the drinks. This is great value for the high quality of food we had.
During our meal at No 197 Chiswick Fire Station, we experienced excellent service, staff were charming, attentive and recommended favourite dishes. Our food was flavourful, colourful and left us full! I was so comfortable, I didn't even notice how late it was and I managed to resist the temptation to ask if there was still a fire station pole (and avoided an inevitable Bridget Jones reenactment).