Boulestin 1

5 St James' Street , London, SW1A 1EF

Boulestin-July-2016-6

SquareMeal Review of Boulestin

Inspired by the eponymous French restaurateur, Boulestin is Gallic to its bones, but keen to demonstrate a wider perspective. After 10 minutes amid its striking interior (all black-and-white tiles, muted swish and lovely aromas), you’re unlikely to go for quinoa salad over oeuf en gelée, but the option is there; likewise, miso-blackened cod challenges the likes of artichoke risotto with girolles and baby leeks or ballottine of chicken with pea purée. Earlier on, breakfast is so popular that they continue the brunch theme on weekday afternoons with huevos rancheros or bacon and egg brioche. “Very accommodating” service begins at the booking stage, and a French-dominated wine list scores with a decent choice by the glass and ‘pot’. Outside, the little patio is, apparently, the site of the last duel to have been fought in England, though these days the main rivalry is for a table.

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8.2

Food & Drink: 8.8

Service: 7.6

Atmosphere: 7.9

Value: 7.2

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Lynn W. platinum reviewer 15 December 2016

There were loads of Christmas parties on, the weather cold and wet, the traffic horrible, but step through the doors here and you are in a calm and welcoming space. We wanted somewhere warm and French with confident French cooking, and this meets the bill. Our starters of jambon persillé with celeriac remoulade, and roast squash & goat’s cheese salad with pumpkin seeds and grape-must mustard dressing got off to a good start. Followed by properly crisped duck confit (which is the reason we came here) with unbelievably buttery pommes aligot and a side of green beans with pine nuts suited us perfectly. Desserts of chestnut & apple mille feuille, and luscious Sauternes custard with Agen prunes in Armagnac went down a treat. There was a big party downstairs and upstairs was surprisingly quiet, but you can be sure of a good dinner here.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Natalia P. gold reviewer 27 July 2014

We booked in advance and asked to be sat outside, which although they can only note and then decide on the day, we were lucky to get a table outside. The service was impeccable, the waiter was there when we needed him but otherwise left us to get on with the food and conversation. The food was really good, I would particularly recommend pigeon ans beef from the main foods menu. The wine boats a good selection, including the ones not from France. I would definitely be going back again.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Amel M bronze reviewer 23 July 2014

The menu at Boulestin is traditional French and perfectly well executed by the chef. Nice cocktails ans wine list. Service exemplar. The only reproach I can give would give is that it is a bit overpriced compare to what you would pay in France.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Carl A. 11 May 2014

Having wanted to try this restaurant for some time I booked a table for a Friday night dinner with friends. The dinning room is lovely and light but the tables are set very close together and I felt a bit more creative thought could have gone into how the tables were set out. However, this was not a big issue as we were there for the food and a fun evening out. Unsurprisingly, the menu is unapologetically French and there were many things that I could have chosen. In the end I started with the lamb sweetbreads, which were well cooked but a little under seasoned, although there was sea salt and a pepper grinder on the table which sorted the problem, although it should have come from the kitchen not needing adjustment at the table. The ladies both had the scallops which were a hit, as was the terrine of ham with celeric remoulade. Warm mini french sticks were brought out both before and during our starter and were of a good standard, accompanied by good butter. We selected a bottle of Gavi to accompany the starters, which was good but highlighted the fact that whilst there was plenty of emphasis on French wines, the majority was to be found very much towards the top end of the price spectrum. There was very little to choose in the £30 – £40 price range, the Gavi just slipping into this bracket. For mains, two chose the Daube de Boeuf, one the mackerel with samphire and one the Cassoulet. The mackerel was well received and enjoyed. The Daube was a beautifully cooked beef cheek, which was incredibly tender and fell apart at the slightest touch. What was slightly disappointing was that the sauce it was accompanied with was not as thick and intense as I would have liked it, still very pleasant but not quite the full on experience I had expected. The beef was also under seasoned, which seams to be a bit of a theme here. The Cassoulet came in a pot that was big enough to feed two people (and did in the end!) and whilst it was full of flavour, was slightly drier than a good cassoulet should be, as if it had been left standing for too long. We had a bottle of 2008 Bordeaux to accompany our mains, as recommended by the sommelier, which was fine but not as elegant as it should have been, especially at nearly £60 a bottle, plus service. Whilst there was a variety of reasonably priced reds from other parts of Europe and even the Americas (there are a couple of reasonably priced Chilean bottles if that is your thing) the emphasis, quite rightly, is on France and the majority of these were expensive for what they were. For example, the cheapest bottle of Burgundy is just a few pennies shy of £40 and they rise very quickly thereafter. There are times when you simply want a good solid middle market bottle to drink with friends, rather than savour every mouthful and I feel the list does not offer as much choice from France in this area as perhaps it could, which is a shame. If this restaurant were in Paris there would be a huge selection of good French wine at sensible prices to choose from, perhaps the St James location has influenced the pricing strategy too much. For dessert we had the sauternes custard with prunes and the hot beignets. The beignets were very well cooked and came with a chocolate and caramel sauce, although both were good I would have liked the caramel to be a little richer and deeper in flavour. No such issues with the sauternes custard, which were set and simply divine, truly a stand out dish. This was washed down with a glass of sauternes which was pleasant but not really doing the dessert any real justice. The service we had was on the whole competent but also at times a little clunky, being interrupted mid conversation to be asked whether we wanted more wine, water, dessert, coffees, showed a lack of awareness but overall competent. What was a slight shame is just how quiet the restaurant was for a Friday night, a couple of tables where there were business dinners and a few other couples but not by any means a full which meant that it did not have quite the “buzz” as it could have, not really the restaurant's fault but a shame nonetheless. Overall we had a nice meal and enjoyed ourselves. The food was universally good, particularly the desserts, but it would not have taken very much to make the mains in particular something that was truly memorable and with a little more attention in the kitchen I think they could be producing food that is of an exceptional standard. The acid test is whether we would go back and the answer is a firm yes, particularly when the weather gets better as there is a lovely terrance for al fresco dinning. A few tweaks and this place could be sensational, as it is a solid recommendation but room for improvement.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

GH platinum reviewer 17 March 2014

Lovely French bistro style food. Friendly service. Good for lunch as well.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Charlotte F. 17 January 2014

Great food and a great little restaurant. Would highly recommend to anyone wanting something classy and tasty.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Julian g. 30 November 2013

Boulestin is the best traditional French restaurant opened in London for a long time it is certainly a candidate for a Michelin star or two. I have visited five times since it opened two months ago. Each time the food was delicious, the service friendly and very good,The main room is probably the most beautifully decorated restaurant in London. The main dishes I liked particularly were the Daube de Boeuf, roast Partridge and the veal cutlet. The starters are excellent too and vary widely. The ones I chose were all delicious including soupe de poisson smoked eel,jambon persille oeuf en gelee and sweet cured herring. I don't often eat deserts but the roast pineapple with coconut ice cream was very good, The wine list is first class and the house wines are good value. In front of the main restaurant is the Cafe Marcel which offers some of the best value breakfasts and lunches in the Mayfair and St. James area. I ate a first class cassoulet there

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Joel O. 28 November 2013

I have now dined at Boulestin about six times. I have enjoyed both lunch and supper there. The clean, fresh and welcoming interior immediately reminds me why I have come back. The staff are friendly without being ingratiating. When I visit for lunch I enjoy sitting with a view to the courtyard and look forward to enjoying a spring lunch sitting out there but since it is late autumn I am happy just to enjoy the view from the warmth of the dining room. I very much enjoy the menu selection. There really does seem to be something for my different moods. I must admit a particular fondness for the soupe de poissons as a starter though it is a difficult choice as I enjoy the game terrine very much as well. For main course I have enjoyed the Dover Sole, Steak and the Daube de Bouef all of which I loved. I will certainly be dining regularly at Boulestin, for me the mix works perfectly with consistent, high quality food and a first class wine list.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Rachel H. 27 November 2013

I discovered Boulestin a few weeks ago while scouting the local galleries. Perfect spot – just a quick jaunt down from Green Park. I've now nipped in to the cafe a few times to enjoy relief from the bustle of town, and tried lunch and dinner in the restaurant. I have yet to be disappointed – the quality of the food is fabulous, the oeufs en gelee sublime, wines match perfectly (useful having Berry Bros and Rudd as next door neighbour!). There's also a tucked away outdoor terrace in the courtyard behind – useful for a quick coffee and phone chat! The staff are always pleasant and welcoming, the food delicious and incredible value to boot. I would highly recommend.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 0.0

PHILIPPE C. 26 November 2013

What a disappointment. Knowing the beautiful location and remembering the name from the eighty's I may had had high expectation but I don't beleive this is an excuse for the lack of knowledge, the absence of management and professionalism. Waiting staff not knowing the menu, dishes description and avaibility. Managers too busy chatting at the bar or not bothered to look after their customers. First having to change my order twice, when the starter arrived, one essential ingredient missing from the dish, the waiter not only did not notice but did not know it should have been there, went to look at the menu , then went to the kitchen but never came back to follow up. I had to put my hand up in the air, like a schoolboy on 3 occasions to get the attention of any staff to get the wine served but even then it still took a long time since our waiter could not find our wine. There were only 5 tables in the restaurant and the other guests noticed me before the staff or the management too involved talking. As you may imagine, we did not stay for dessert and were only approached by a manager on our departure, once the bill was paid and it was safe, giving us a bogus excuse for the starter mistake. What an experience, not one I would ever recommend…

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