Go for the souffle
Bar Boulud is the first London offering from the acclaimed Daniel Boulud, chef behind a number of restaurants across the pond including a 3 Michelin starred, self-named culinary wonder in New York. Although such lush provenance is not uncommon, I still feel hope filled tendrils curl around my brain/heart/stomach compelling me to pay a visit.
As always, Knightsbridge is brimming with (foreign) bodies best avoided under normal circumstances, but a certain Boulud beckons and so we squeeze through a fevered throng of money-belt foisting tourists and make for the Mandarin Oriental. The restaurant is located at the lower ground floor of said hotel, and has a separate entrance to avoid the vulgarity of flapping around a hotel foyer like an odd part/ dying fish.
The restaurant is split into 2 rooms, the front bearing a softly curved bar area, and both decked in wine-hued leather seating and rosy wooden tables. The wine list and cocktail menu have good amount of choice, and the tequila laced Cinco De Mango is equal parts fruity and fiery. The food menu is heavy on charcuterie and terrine, clearly influenced by its chefs French roots. Our chosen terrine comprises slow cooked quail interspersed with chunks of apricot and pistachio paste, lined with a thick layer of pastry. The result is exquisite mouthfuls of heavenly rich meat, buttery pastry and vibrant fruit.
For mains, the Yankee burger is a simple offering of thick beef patty between lightly toasted buns, with lettuce and tomato. The rump of lamb is leagues ahead in terms of taste and enjoyment; more tender than a bruise, set on top of crushed potatoes, olives and tenderstem broccoli, with neat cubes of mint jelly.
As good as these are, the resounding highlight of the meal is a roasted fig soufflé, topped with a hot dollop of crème anglais which burns a molten path through the fluffy peak, releasing aromatic fragrances enticing you to jump in, spoon first. This is served with a side of fig and mulled wine sorbet scattered with pine nuts – a deeply spiced taste of autumn which makes leaving summer seem sublime.
There are more waiters than I’ve ever seen in one restaurant and we are never left wanting, average price per person is £60.