Welcome to our weekly round-up of all that’s happening in London’s food and drink scene.
Inside this week: filth, fish and Fulham wine.
Loud and dirty: Chiltern Firehouse under fire
It’s currently London’s hardest-to-get-into restaurant and the place to be seen for celebs of all levels, but not everything is rosy for Marylebone’s Chiltern Firehouse. It was revealed this week that the restaurant scored just two out of five in a recent hygiene inspection. The score means that improvements are “necessary”, with the report citing a dirty fridge, dirty fly screens and a hole in the wall, among other problems. The restaurant has issued a statement saying: "The vast majority of the issues identified in the council report were related to the expansion of the kitchen and have already been rectified. We have requested a re-inspection and look forward to a significantly higher rating at the earliest opportunity”.
Separately to this, residents in the area have been voicing concerns for months over the level of late-night activity, noise disturbances and continuous paparazzi presence at the restaurant. A full licence review by Westminster Council has been only narrowly avoided, but they are no doubt keeping a watchful eye. If you were hoping for a few spare seats given the news, sorry: we’ve just phoned them up and none are available.
Something fishy: salmon restaurant to launch
A restaurant serving almost exclusively smoked salmon will open in Belgravia next month. Salmontini Le Resto will serve a full menu of hot and cold dishes built around the fish, from salads and pastas to sushi-style plates and straight-up salmon. The first Salmontini restaurant opened in Beirut in 2001 and there are now several sites across the Middle East. This newcomer will add to London’s ever-growing list of single-item or limited-menu restaurants, such as burger bars, a pork eatery and a polenta joint. It also follows recent news of a soufflé specialist restaurant coming soon to Chelsea.
London wine: but what to call it?
Fulham-based winery London Cru started properly selling its first wines last week, adding commercial winemaking to Central London’s list of achievements. But, as Drinks Business reports, they have promptly been banned from placing either grape variety or a vintage on the labels by the UK Food Standard Agency. The winery’s method of buying in grapes from France and Italy but making the wine on-site near West Brompton station is a unique one, and there is no precedence set over labelling laws. Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Syrah varieties are available at £15 a bottle each, but will be sold as simply SW6 White Wine 1 and SW6 Red Wine 1, 2 and 3. Read about our visit to London Cru here.
In a relatively quiet week on London’s restaurant scene, Bobo Social has been the only new opening of note. The Charlotte Street newcomer has a menu focused on luxury burgers, including the £20 Debauchery Burger that features wagyu beef, shiitake mushrooms, shaved truffles and the rather intriguing sounding bacon mayo. Coming soon to Clapham Common is Fields, a new café from the team behind Balham’s M1lk. It will offer specialty coffee alongside freshly-baked cakes and an all-day food menu based around produce grown on its roof garden.
Apparently more than three quarters of us find the use of mobile phones in restaurants rude and annoying. Are you an Instahater or a phone fiddler?
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