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BARBICAN LIFE Restaurant REVIEWS Hotels to the fore

We try out two brand new restaurants, both associated with local hotels (one of which is itself brand new) and an Italian enoteca style winebar/shop/restaurant while Stephanie Ross samples some sushi in St Pauls Churchyard.

Chiswell Street Dining Rooms

Sides were al dente. Desserts were appealing and coffee or tea served with petit fours was delivered promptly after the dessert or cheese as requested. The wine list was fairly comprehensive and not ridiculously priced. Service was excellent without being over-obtrusive. Overall an excellent start.

There are also private dining rooms available.


t may have passed Barbican residents by, but a new five star luxury hotel has just opened on the Brewery site in Chiswell Street. The Montcalm City is certainly unobtrusive with no outward signs that it is indeed a hotel at all, let alone a top rated one. Understated elegance is obviously at the forefront of the hotel management’s thought.

The Chiswell Street Dining Rooms

But a five star hotel must have a high end restaurant to go with it and the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms on the site of the old St Paul’s Tavern at the east end of the hotel (corner of Chiswell Street and Milton Street) does not disappoint in this respect. Food quality and service are impeccable, at least in its trial opening runs at the end of May/early June. The official opening date for the restaurant is June 14th, but it has effectively been running a soft opening period with half price dining since late May.

The restaurant – probably the closest of all for some Barbican residents - is run by ETM Group, set up just over 10 years ago by brothers Tom and Ed Martin. To date the Group is most renowned for its string of high quality award-winning London gastropub type venues including the Gun, The Botanist, The Cadogan


Arms, the White Swan and The Well in St. John Street which will already be well known to many Barbican residents. Chiswell Street Dining Rooms appears to be the company’s first sortie into the straight restaurant business, albeit under contract to The Montcalm City hotel, and is bringing a lot of the experience gained in running the high end gastropub restaurants, which have a great following, to bear with the new eatery which thankfully for locals lacks the stuffiness of some five star hotel dining.

On entering the restaurant from the street, rather than from the hotel, first impressions are very favourable. Initially there is the very welcoming cocktail bar area where one can also partake of bar food (maybe a little on the pricey side for this – but it is in a five-star hotel!). Beyond that is a very light and airy restaurant – tables initially set with crisp white linen tablecloths, although we hear these may be taken away which would be a shame as they do help keep the atmosphere and ambience bright. The welcome and service are excellent and the menu is decidedly interesting with a fascinating range of starters, mains and desserts.

Obviously one cannot try all dishes, but the scallops as a starter were melt-in- the-mouth superb (£9.50), while the rack of lamb (£22.50) was cooked to perfection and could be cut with a fork.

The Chiswell Street Dining Rooms is open 7 days from breakfast through to dinner and thus provides another close-by establishment open on Sundays for lunch and dinner – very welcome for Barbican residents who may want to treat themselves to a special Sunday lunch for example. It also will serve afternoon tea. To make a reservation telephone 0207 614 0177. While the restaurant’s website does not seem to be up and running fully at the time of writing, it does have a facebook page for those into social networking - ChiswellStreetDiningRooms . Residents will also recall that the Brewery site also boasted a pub at the Silk Street end. ETM Group and the Montcalm have plans for this too with tentative opening in early September at this stage. This will be a themed British gastropub with a real food and fine wine focus. It is to feature an open kitchen with charcoal grill and three large rotisseries. It will have a public bar and dining room with three additional private rooms and will serve food and drink from 11 am - midnight. Watch this space! By the way, look out inside this issue of

Barbican Life for coupons for a free cocktail at the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms – gives you a chance to look at the restaurant from the comfort of the bar and maybe enjoy something from the bar menu as well – or perhaps entice you into the dining room itself.

Bistro du Vin

The second hotel-related restaurant which has opened up in the area is not actually in a hotel, but is the Bistro du Vin in St John Street on the site of the

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