27-29 Church Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5DQ www.firestables.co.uk
Located in Wimbledon Village, Fire Stables has recently re-opened following extensive renovation by Youngs to give it a new timeless, classic feel.
There are beautiful concertina windows at the front of the restaurant, which when we visited was decked out with tennis balls and a net ahead of the Wimbledon tennis tournament, which let natural light stream in to a stunning, Parisian-inspired dark wooden bar with extra seating space at the back.
The food at Fire Stables lives up to the new interior, using classically British, seasonal ingredients presented in a modern, tasteful and clean style.
If, like me, you can’t resist treating yourself to oysters after a long week at work, I would recommend going for the Fire Stables’ half-a-dozen option. When you first walk into the restaurant, you are greeted with a peek into the kitchen on your right, before seeing a fresh seafood bar layered with these shelled delights to entice you.
The oysters are served simply – with homemade Bloody Mary sauce, green Tabasco and, my personal favourite, shallot vinegar. Meaty, creamy, slightly salty and perfectly plump – what could be better?
Corn fed chicken terrine came next, served with a wonderfully rich confit yolk. The terrine was pleasant, if slightly heavy on the citrus, lemony notes and slightly dry.
However when dipped in enough yolk this wasn’t as much of an issue. What I didn’t understand was the savoury granola. Although it looked pretty on the plate, it didn’t seem like a necessary addition to the dish.
The second starter, scallops with peas, broad beans and ‘scraps’ was a very vibrant but delicate dish, but slightly lacking in a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper to draw out the natural sweetness of the scallops. You can tell they care about the produce they use though as they were cooked just right with good-looking caramelisation.
Fire Stables prides itself on its ‘daily catch’ specials that are proudly displayed on a chalk board in the heart of the restaurant. Although not hugely adventurous in choice – salmon, sea bream, lobster, etc. – the dressed crab caught our eye. Served in the shell, the crab meat was sweet but had an ever so slightly grainy texture that let the side down just a little.
If you are looking for something meatier, try the fillet steak with the additional three king prawns to create a bit of a surf-n-turf style dish. Again, the chefs achieved wonderful caramelisation on the outside while keeping a delightfully pink middle, and a tender soft texture that my knife cut through just like butter.
The chunky chips served with it were good. There were a few that still had a slightly floury taste but overall they just what you want, crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle.
To round off the evening, we finished with a strawberry and cream Eton mess – synonymous with British summers, and perfect for Wimbledon. A healthy portion with thick, sweet cream, crumbled meringues and sweet British strawberries. The lemon sorbet served on the side was a welcome addition, cutting through some of the potentially overwhelming sweetness.
Overall, I had a very relaxing, pleasant evening at Fire Stables. The staff were welcoming, the food enjoyable and the atmosphere relaxing. A finishing touch here and a pinch of seasoning there, and they will be on to an absolute winner.