Sitting in the warmth of Chiswell Street Dining Rooms my companion tells me a tale of how once, years ago, she passed by its golden windows and was struck by its cosiness and the joy on the faces of its patrons. Living alone in London and, with nobody to dine with, it represented a distant goal synonymous with happiness and comfort.
A stark contrast to the grey, cold streets round Moorgate.
Our visit, then, is two things. A realisation of an image from her past and, for me, a chance to tread old ground having reviewed the place some years ago after its opening.
Today very little has changed. The interior is still gentle on the eye and ear.
The muted greens and pale walls survive , offsetting dark woods pleasantly sadly unfettered by linen (but you can’t have everything).
It also does a decent job of denying aesthetically any association with the The Montcalm At The Brewery, which is lodged behind it and shares its toilet facilities.
Billing itself as “modern British”, it’s really good at putting pretty things on plates.
My smoked eel starter is all curls of this and dots of that but tastes wonderful. Later, a dessert of custard tart and rhubarb picks up this theme.
In short the dishes look and taste their prices (around £21 for a main) and a decent brushstroke of glossy service means this venue remains something a little bit special in a sea of alternatives.
It’s not far from the Wharf either, providing East End tourists a glimpse of City life .
My companion felt her pork fillet could have been a little more generous but all in all fulfilled the warming, welcoming brief.
As soon as they ditch the iPad wine list (which is too much screen after a day in the office) everything will be just fine.
Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, 56 Chiswell Street, London, EC1Y 4SA, 020 7614 0177.
Follow The Wharf on Twitter @the_wharf .
Keep up to date with all our articles on Facebook .