The crab donuts at the Chiltern Firehouse in Londonare already the stuff of legend. Just two months old, hotelier Andre Balazs's first venture outside of the United States has celebrities like Bono, Prince Harry, Chloe Sevigny, and Gordon Ramsey bumping elbows, while mere mortals desperately try to snag a reservation in what is a cleverly repurposed Victorian-gothic red brick fire brigade building in London’s tony Marylebone neighborhood.

With Chef Nuno Mendes at the helm of the lavish open kitchen, modern takes on the classics like pan-roasted chicken, squab with barley risotto, smoky beef tartare, and delicate hay roasted monkfish are playful and delicious additions to the white hot capital’s dining scene. Come May, the 26 guest rooms in the hotel above the restaurant will open, but in the meantime, the paparazzi have set up a permanent post just outside the black gates of the courtyard, their flash bulbs illuminating the night sky.

Sally Hurst is a chef and writer based in London. You can follow her on Twitter @chefsallyjane.