While Chiswick might not be the easiest of London districts to get to, it is one the capital’s most amiable with artisan bistros, boutiques and bars dominating the High Road. The latest addition to Chiswick’s growing number of haunts is No 197 Chiswick Fire Station, and we headed to the eatery for some brunch!
No 197 Chiswick Fire Station is the fourth bar to be opened by independent bar group Darwin & Wallace. Set, unsurprisingly, in the dormant old fire station on Chiswick’s main street, No 197 is the perfect back drop for all day relaxed eating and drinking.
We should be up front and say that we headed to No 197 in blazing sunshine and on the hottest day of 2016 so far – so our opinion of the Fire Station might have been a little warped – but we should say from the off we absolutely loved our experience at Darwin & Wallace’s latest instalment.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of heading to No 11 Pimlico Road (Belgravia), No 32 The Old Town (Clapham) or No 1 Duke Street (Richmond), you’ll know what to expect; a neighbourhood bar and restaurant with a contemporary interior, artisan food, delicious cocktails and relaxed vibes.
We headed to SW for some brunch and loved what we sampled. Being an unashamed burly Joe, we had the Nº 197 Bacon Sandwich which came with roasted Portobello mushrooms and taleggio (a semi-soft Italian cheese). While maybe slightly overpriced, the bacon was crisp and plentiful and the taleggio was a revelation.
We also had some Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes, which were exactly as you’d expect – sweet and crisp (in a good way). Our Jane had the Nº 197 Eggs Royal; smoked salmon, avocado and spinach on toasted sourdough doused in house-made hollandaise – a perfectly hearty but healthy start to a summer’s afternoon.
The only slight criticism we’d have of the brunch menu at No 197 is you sure better enjoy your avocado – essentially every dish contains it. Having said that, the rest of the Fire Station’s menu is extensive and all of No 197’s food (including brunch) is made fresh with a clear focus on well-sourced ingredients – and you can’t ask for much more than that!
While we didn’t sample any on this trip (the pancakes took their toll), we’d heavily recommend Darwin’s famed sharing dishes. Small but packed with flavour, there’s everything from Housemade Haddock & Spinach Fish Cakes to a Charcuterie Board – ideal for a relaxing afternoon drinking and snacking.
While we’re talking drinks – No 197 does that bit superbly. There’s plenty of draft and bottled beers, Reds, Whites and bubblies to choose from, and the Fire Station’s cocktail list provides modern twists on some bar classics. We’d recommend the Rhubarb and Ginger Cobbler if you’re heading for brunch, or the Elderflower and Earl Grey Fizz for something a little later in the day.
And if you’re in for breakfast or want something alcohol free, the House Lemonade with Pink grapefruit juice and ginger might be the best lemonade we’ve ever had – it was that good. If you like a good cup of Joe, the coffee is also provided by a local London roastery.
Overall, we’d thoroughly recommend an early afternoon in Chiswick and its Fire Station, even if it’s just for the cocktails. It should be said, service at No 197 is also attentive but relaxed – much like everything else here. Perfect location, tastefully decorated and delicious fresh food. What more could you want?
No 197 Chiswick Fire Station is located on Chiswick High Road, a few minutes’ walk from Turnham Green tube station. Head over to the No 197 Website for the full drinks and food menus, and read our reviews of their sister sites No 1 Duke Street, Richmond, and No 32 The Old Town, Clapham over at the blog!
Final two images credited to Mariell Lind Hansen.