Dogs. Are they really a man’s best friend? Ask Jeremy Coste, who ended up using his canine as an inspiration for his new bar, Chez Chow. We might think Tokyo is barking mad for its animal-inspired cafés, since there are ones with rabbits, goats and owls, but similar cafés have been breeding in London, most notably in the trend-setting East End; there’s the cat café Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, and the dog café House of Hounds.
Now a more sophisticated kind has made its way into Mayfair. Not far from Claridge’s, Bond Street and the US Embassy, Chez Chow is a mix of quirky and classy. The French name, meaning Dog House, is appropriate – there are pictures of dogs framed on the wall, from pugs to Labradors.
If you’re lucky, the bar’s mascot, Teddy the Chow Chow, may even make a guest appearance. He greets visitors – shaking paws and stopping for photographs – like a good brand ambassador.
Since it is downstairs in the NAC restaurant, it feels like you’ve found a secret space with dim lighting and comfy armchairs. When we visited it was quiet, which helped add to the intimate atmosphere. Also the nostalgic nick nacks and gramophone gave it an air of 1920s Paris.
The menu, with cocktails and light bites, is a fusion between French and Asian flavours. The trademark one, Teddy’s Old Fashioned with Rittenhouse Rye with honey and bitters, is a must, as is the Kokachin, which comes with its own cinnamon stick as a garnish.
As for the food, it is filling and flavoursome, from the popcorn shrimps to the chicken sliders. It’s also not often that bars offer standout desserts. There is just one on the menu – cookies and cream ice-cream with peanut butter, but when it’s the right mix of creamy and crunchy, why add more?
Chez Chow, we’re in (puppy) love.