We did something naughty. With snow foiling our plans for a day trip out of London, an IRL friend and I decided to treat ourselves to a fun day in London, and we ended up in the achingly Instagrammable Saint Aymes Cafe and then for lunch in the Chiltern Firehouse, being escorted by our salt and pepper hued date (complete with a waggly tail).
Spoiler alert: both were delectable, and adored Olly our canine companion, almost as much as we do.
We began with an early coffee at Saint Aymes, partially to caffeinate, partially to see what the social media buzz is all about. It’s a beautiful, pastel-hued cornucopia of baking and blooms, and just as beautiful as everyone shares. (Ps. apologies for the low-quality images, I hadn’t planned to blog our day.)
A couple of hours of chin wagging (not to mention tail wagging) later, we meandered out of there, clutching bags full of the delicious things that we couldn’t eat and a few treats for friends. JUST LOOK AT THE UNICORN BISCUITS! Ahem, sorry. It’s infinitely Instagrammable, set up by two canine-loving sisters who stocked their gold leaf draped chocolate in Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, before expanding to this off-Marylebone corner of floral elegance.
I can’t actually decide who is cutest out of these two…
Our photographs taken (not to mention one cute little dude who spent about 10 minutes hilariously poking his tongue out at me – and yes, we both got caught by his Mum) we wandered out in search of more filling repast, and somehow found ourselves cosied back in the Chiltern Firehouse.
They are super dog-friendly, always lavishing affection on Olly and bringing him the most ridiculously opulent dog bowl which makes us giggle no end.
It’s a dog’s life, huh?
Chiltern Firehouse celebrates contemporary, ingredient-focused cooking, with an underlying American accent – and I haven’t tried a bad dish yet whether in the cosy terrace for summer drinks or the restaurant itself. Michelin-starred chef Nuno Mendes draws on a career split between the United States and Europe to create a changing menu of reimagined classics and bold new flavours, with an emphasis on seasonality and healthy eating.
Tucked into a private snug next to the bar, we perused the menu, eventually deciding upon bacon cornbread with an intriguing avocado dip for my date…
…and tempura baby aubergine for my own cheeky starter. Light as a feather, the tempura was delectable and delicate – a perfect lunchtime portion.
We both ummed and aahed over the lunch menu, unable to decide on just one thing. Eventually, I just played eenie-meenie-miney-mo and settled on a dish of truffled pasta, served with lashings of black Wiltshire truffle, kale and aged parmesan.
My date decided to as well, and our Italian waitress told us that we’d made the best decision – and you know you’re onto a winner when an actual Italian loves the pasta on a menu. If all my kale was always served like this, I’d become Paleo in a minute.
Just a short aside, as we watched the world go by, it was reassuring to see that in a private room the charming Chiltern Firehouse staff were being trained to taste and genuinely be able to recommend wines that are served in the busy restaurant, something that seems to be missing in many places. They usually just recommend the most expensive wine, or one they have been told to get rid of – and it isn’t necessarily the best for your meal. But, I digress.
Letting our rich meals settle for a decent amount of time, we were convinced (she actually had to twist our arms, not) to order the rhubarb trifle (with a sake infused sponge base) to share alongside a pot of fresh mint tea that was just the right note to end a luscious lunchtime on.
I mean 3 hours is a totally reasonable length of time for lunch, isn’t it?
Monday, won. Who says you need to leave London to have a good time!
Do you like trying new dishes or old favourites each time you eat out?