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chilternbrunch-main2In some social circles, one-upmanship is all down to flashing the latest must-have handbag or limited edition gadget. As far as London's restaurant circuit is concerned, it's all about casually dropping into conversation the fact that you have a reservation at Chiltern Firehouse.

Like pretty much everyone else in this city, scoring a table at dinner at short notice was way above our influence-grade, and as we'd already been for dinner just as it opened, we decided instead to aim for a weekend brunch. Turns out our luck was in, and two weekends ago we headed on over to Marylebone dressed just a tad more 'up' than we'd normally be for brunch.

The dining room here works really well as a daytime venue - with huge windows open out on to the street. We had a booth table, perfectly situated for any star spotting, we were set.

You can kick off with two types of Bloody Mary - NYC Classic or Asian Spice or a Champagne cocktail (all £12) but this was still pretty early for us, so we stuck to coffee to begin with.

As we could see chef Nuno's signature crab-stuffed donuts with coral dusting (£6) on the menu which we'd had before we felt compelled to reorder them. And they were great, just not as good as the cornbread fingers served with an insanely good chipotle-maple butter that we'd happily have eaten on its own with a spoon.

After that the menu splits into starters, salads and mains, so we roamed as much around the menu as a table of four could. Highlights included the seared steak salad with heirloom tomatoes and carrot dressing (£20) and the spiced crab omelette with turmeric, potaoes and chervil (£17 which knocked the socks off anything we'd had brunch-wise in New York recently.

With just enough room to split a dessert of strawberry sundae, we decided it was time to order a bottle of rose and decamp to the courtyard garden to finish it in the sunshine. The only person we spotted while we were there was owner Andre Balazs holding court in the garden - but we didn't need the likes of Lindsay Lohan or Madonna (who was there the evening before us) to have enjoyed it.

How to book a table at Chiltern Firehouse

So - how can you get a table you might be wondering? Well we asked the folks in the know and contrary to rumour, reservations are not on lockdown for brunch at all. The restaurant is booking up until the end of September at the moment and while they're very busy for dinner there are still tables left for brunch towards the later half of September. Better still - if you've no patience - there's still availability for midweek breakfast on any day and midweek lunch from late August.

Find information, reviews and booking details on Chiltern Firehouse here.

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