Classic French fare in the heart of St James
After a long absence, once again London has a Boulestin. Originally situated in the hubbub of Covent Garden the ‘first Boulestin’ was opened by French expat Marcel Boulestin, one of the earliest celebrity chefs, in 1926. It remained a fixture and purveyor of fine dining to the well healed until it’s closure in 1994. The ‘new’ Boulestin opened at the quieter end of the elegant St James street last year and has been building a following since.
I had been invited to Boulestin to sample the a la carte menu ahead of their Christmas menu launch, which I can assure you, will be something very special indeed. The head chef, Andrew Woodford, has crafted a menu fitting for a festive treat!
Before we get into the food let’s look at the restaurant and surroundings. The main dining room, situated at the back of Boulestin, it’s elegantly decorated with a splash and dash of ‘French’ feeling which transported me back to Paris in August. The tables are well spaced and I didn’t feel enclosed or crammed in, something which is all too common in Central London’s restaurants.
At the main entrance is the cafe section, Cafe Marcel, which serves a pre and post theatre menu with prices for both starting at around £14.50 for two courses. For special occasions or large dinner parties you can hire the elegant downstairs private dining room.
On to the food. After some careful consideration of the starters I opted for Pan-fried Scallops served with Jerusalem Artichokes & Black Autumn Truffles (£17.50). The scallops were meaty and perfectly cooked, almost falling apart when I delved in with my fork. Our starters were served with a glass of a crisp yet dry white wine which washed the scallops down perfectly.
On to the main event! Though I was tempted to try one of the dishes which also feature on the festive menu I decided to instead opt for a good old favourite, Grilled Calf’s Liver & Bacon with Sauteed Potatoes & Onions (£22.50). The liver was served with a good portion of pink colouring in the middle. The creamy liver was perfectly paired with the saltiness of crispy streaky bacon. The sauteed potatoes and onions (always a favourite of mine) were lovely as well.
Along with our main courses our party also shared several sides. Dishes of puree potatoes, thin chips, green beans, spinach and my personal favourite, the decadently rich Pommes Anna. So rich, so buttery but so very, very much worth indulging in.
To finish I decided to plump for my favourite French dessert, the Crème brûlée. The last Crème brûlée I had was back in the summer, sitting in cafe in Montmartre Paris. Cracking the burnt sugar with my spoon instantly transported me back to that Parisian summers evening. It was a gorgeous way to finish a lovely evening.
Bopulestin’s Christmas menu is currently being served. Festive set menu’s are priced from £50 – £90 per person for between 3 and 4 courses.
You can read my full review of Boulestin on London Unattached.
5 St James Street,