No 197 Chiswick Fire Station, Restaurant and Bar

Chiswick is awash with chains and cafes that provide little inspiration when it comes to delicious food and stylish surroundings. I love La Trompette for smarter occasions and Chief for coffee and breakfast, but there was definitely a distinct lack of reliable bistros and bars until No 197 Chiswick Fire Station came along.

No 197 Chiswick Fire Station

I first noticed this new opening  on Instagram, where my feed was filled with pictures of the most beautiful looking restaurant, complete with pale pink sofas and giant cacti. I instantly wanted to visit.

No 197 Chiswick Fire Station

I visited for lunch on a radiantly sunny day, which made this establishment look even prettier, casting atmospheric shadows across the white-washed walls. My sister and I decided to make the most of the weather and sit outside in the lovely back terrace.

No 197 Chiswick Fire Station

No 197 are currently offering a Peroni Spritz cocktail, a special collaboration with the beer brand. The vibrant orange drink was refreshing with a touch of alluring bitterness, perfect in the heat. My little sister opted for the more child-friendly housemade elderflower and cucumber lemonade.

No 197 Chiswick Fire Station

The menu is long, a little too long perhaps, filled with British delights and a few international inspired dishes. After spotting the rotisserie chicken whirling round in the oven, I couldn’t wait to try it for lunch, along with truffle macaroni cheese, garlic french beans and housemade fries. We definitely weren’t planning on fitting into bikinis any time soon! The chicken was tender with a caramelised skin, macaroni cheese was as decadent as it should be with just a subtle hint of truffle, and the green beans were buttery and garlicky, though in my opinion a little undercooked.

No 197 Chiswick Fire Station

After the rich main courses I needed a light dessert, and Roast Pineapple ticked every box. Served with agave syrup and passionfruit sorbet, it is suitable for anyone with any food allergy, and the taste didn’t suffer for it. An extra sweet but tangy pudding with the tart, exotic accompanying sorbet. We also sampled the Maple Banana Toffee Crumble, a take on Banoffee Pie which exceeded expectations. Soft and gooey with a crunchy topping and served with banana ice cream, it was finished off in minutes.

No 197 Chiswick Fire Station is a great place to eat, drink and hang out. The space is extremely pleasant to spend time in and the staff will ensure you have everything you need.

Book a table at No 197 Chiswick Fire Station here.

No.1 Duke St, Richmond

Richmond is an area of London that is perfect for lovely walks, welcoming pubs and family eateries, but never before have I visited a stylish café that I feel suits my needs. No.1 Duke Street is an elegant neighborhood bar and restaurant offering irresistible breakfast dishes, lunch classics, and dinner feasts. Alternatively you can pop in for a quick coffee or cocktail to relax after shopping in town, or walking round the green.

I visited on a gloriously sunny Sunday morning with all my family in tow. Despite the abundance of space (there is even a private floor upstairs) the main dining room was packed and we were lucky to find a table on the front terrace. Before I looked at the menu, I ran in to admire the instagram-friendly décor – white walls, worn wooden tables and plenty of pretty plants. Unsurprisingly, the interiors are photographed as much as the food.

The breakfast menu features a long list of morning favourites and a few imaginative additions. My brothers were immediately won over by the No.1 House Breakfast – sourdough toast with poached or scrambled eggs, accompanied by dry cured streaky bacon, pork and sage sausages, slow roast tomatoes and field mushrooms. The less greedy end of the table (!) settled for Blueberry ricotta pancakes with maple crème fraiche and syrup, Breakfast sourdough bruschetta with roast tomatoes, spinach, avocado, dry cured bacon and breakfast mayo, and No.1 Eggs Benedict with honey roast ham, avocado and spinach on sourdough with housemade hollandaise.

Fresh juices and strong (Caravan) coffees arrived to quench our thirst, before the morning feast was delivered. After copious photos of the photogenic spread I set about tasting each dish. Despite the simplicity, my favourite dish was the light and fluffy pancakes served with a dollop of sweet crème fraiche and topped with plump blueberries. I also loved the crusty farmhouse-style sourdough bread that comes toasted with many of the dishes. No.1 Duke St work hard to offer ingredients that are high quality and taste great, the meat was all butcher standard and the sauces are freshly made in house. Needless to say, silence fell over the table as the group devoured the delicious food.

Though I now live in South London I am often visiting family in West London and it is wonderful to find new venues that I am excited about visiting in this part of town. Next on my list to visit is the sister establishment, No.197 Chiswick Fire Station, which has also been receiving rave reviews.

More information and book a table at No.1 Duke St. here.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MAN: Haig Club Whisky Masterclass at The Folly

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Ever since seeing David Beckham looking effortlessly sophisticated and cool around the Scottish Highlands in the advert for Haig Club whisky I have been itching to try it, despite my reservations regarding celebrity endorsements. I had the opportunity to this week when a friend and I went to The Folly Bar in Monument to take part in a cocktail masterclass using Beckham’s brand of Scotch.

The masterclass was held in a private area in the Folly, which felt warm and intimate. Both my guest and I had our own cocktail stations with the necessary equipment set up and waiting for us when we arrived. Our friendly ‘mixologist’, Alessio, then talked us through how to make two different cocktails using Haig Club. The first a classic Old Fashioned, which is a favourite of mine, is made slowly using only sugar, bitters, orange peel, ice and of course, whisky. The end result was deliciously smooth and flavoursome, with the whisky not overpowering the orange or the bitters.

After a brief interlude to drink our first cocktails, we were taught to make one of Alessio’s own creations. Ice-cold Haig Club was added to a glass containing orange marmalade and grapefruit bitters, before being topped off with lavender and a blackberry. With no ice to dilute the whisky this had more of a burn to it, however the delicate flavours still shone through and the scent of the lavender added another element to the cocktail.

The masterclass was a very enjoyable experience and I definitely learned a few tricks for the next time I try my hand at cocktail making. The atmosphere in the Folly was very pleasant and our cocktails delicious, with the Haig Club providing a good base for the added flavours. The Folly runs masterclasses on request and I would definitely recommend one for an unusual night out.

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Information of The Folly’s masterclasses can be found at:

All photos by Gabriel Kenny-Ryder.