My cafe reviews are designed to help an anxious Mama plan ahead. From one mentally illuminated new parent to another.
A firm Earwicker family favourite this modern big space is suitable for a quick drink with your littl’un or a more leisurely meal with high chairs for bigger babies. It has great facilities for changing nappies and breastfed babies. Read on for the full review.
Please note – all comments are only my opinion and relevant at time of publishing.
No 197 Chiswick Fire Station was a firm favourite when we were a two, but we first visited as a family when Miss EEE was just ten days old, to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. It has since become a regular haunt for Miss EEE and me, along with our NCT crew.
Changing facilities are unisex, hurrah!!
They are lovely and clean and in the accessible toilet downstairs. You can, at a push, get your pram in there with you too if you are solo parenting.
There are a few obstacles to navigate if you are ‘avec pram’ but don’t be put off, it’s totally worth it!
There is a small stepped entrance followed immediately by your first obstacle… a large draft excluding curtain. Be prepared, I have got myself and the Bugaboo wrapped up in this many a time.
You don’t need to worry about counter access as this place is all about the table service, but you will need to navigate around the big bar area. You might have a few little bumps squeezing by but once you reach your desired table and park up you can chill. There is plenty of buggy space between the tables at the back of the vast space.
There are bigger tables near the open kitchen at the back which are ideal for groups with multiple prams. The sofa and low table areas can also fit a couple of prams around if you’re strategic!
All the seating here has back support which is a winner for breastfeeding Mamas. There is a mix of high back chairs, padded benches, tub chairs and bar stools with back support. There are some booth areas which offer some privacy for distractible babies but I found it tricky to wedge Miss EEE between my boob and the table when seated here… it was cosy for such a long baby, let’s put it that way. Instead, when Miss EEE was breastfed, I would tend to opt for one of the sofa areas where I could also lie her on her back, on a scarf, between feeds to let her kick out, which she loved.
This is a very big place with a mix of high and low tables. I have nearly always been able to find the perfect area throughout Miss EEEs short life, whether she was breastfed or in need of a high chair for milk.
A word of caution if BLW, select your table carefully as the high chairs here don’t have trays and some tables are at tricky heights for BLW. Have your wits about you as I have more than once gone away guilting myself for letting Miss EEE head-bang on the table as she overeagerly stretched for a bite of the Taleggio and Avocado toasty we were sharing (the irony that my baby eats this is not lost on me. She’s just too West London!!!)
For bigger kids there is a Little People Menu with a small offering although I at the moment share my food with Miss EEE as there always seems to be something on the normal menu we will both enjoy.
When you walk into No 197 Chiswick Fire Station you immediately notice the contemporary and sleek interiors. The high ceiling adds to the drama and accentuates the size of the place. Despite being very modern and full of sharp edges (and sharp cactuses which I once prickled Miss EEEs butt with 😱) there is a warmth here. I find No 197 Chiswick Fire Station welcoming for a coffee, brunch, larger plate or cocktails!
The noise level isn’t invasive with moderate volume chill out music. There is sometimes a DJ here of a weekend brunch time – one more pram obstacle 😉!
There’s a beautiful courtyard area out the back which is a real sun trap but there is limited shade. Out the front however there a few tables under an awning providing shade for babas delicate skin.
I almost always see other families and many babies in this venue. I’ve only once had a bad experience and that was with another customer who was being completely unreasonable and irrationally waving his arms around and tutting as I was getting ready to leave with an irate Miss EEE – as if I wasn’t already stressed out enough!
First off, in terms of pricing, my acid test in these reviews is the cost of a Flat White. At £2.95 this is at the higher end which is a good reflection on the prices of most of the menu. A price I’m happy to pay when the surroundings and menu are both top notch.
With separate Breakfast, Weekday and Weekend menus all full of delicious temptations it always takes me an age to choose, unless we are there before 11:30 in which case the House Breakfast wins hands down every time. The big field mushrooms are a serious hit with Miss EEE who ends up looking like I’ve been feeding her lumps of coal because she just can’t get enough of that mushroom juice!
For a quick lunch, I can’t fault the Taleggio and Avocado toasty as a yummy treat. If I’m looking for something bigger to fill me up I’ll order the Three Bean Chilli, if nothing else just for the gorgeous flaky buttery paratha which it comes with.
Mr E specifically gave the thumbs up for their offering of Yakama Red (a rare find in Chiswick watering holes apparently?!) and told me it was worth a special mention! For me, they get extra points for their non alcoholic ‘Tantra Pale Ale’ which is so refreshing and means you don’t have to feel left out if you’re a non-drinker. The hot chocolate is pretty darn good too if you’re looking for a hot drink which skips out the caffeine.
197-199 Chiswick High Rd, London, W4 2DR