Temporarily closed following fire damage to the Mandarin Oriental hotel in 2018, “awesome” Bar Boulud is now back in business, serving its brand of transatlantic-style French food to residents, tourists and devotees of unsnobbish but sophisticated cosmopolitan cuisine.
New York-based French chef Daniel Boulud may be a big name in global gastronomy but he’s very much in casual mode here, offering up the sort of traditional Gallic fare that constitutes the perfect meal out for many people.
Croques monsieur, acclaimed Parisian charcuterie and “the best burgers in the UK” (according to one adoring fan) are just three of the biggest hitters, but everything tempts – from hors d’oeuvres such as oeuf Doré (crispy egg with watercress purée and mushrooms) or pan-fried veal sweetbread with apple, chestnut and veal jus to luscious desserts including signature soufflés, classic Mont Blanc and vanilla choux with apricot gel, caramelised apricot sorbet and smoked compote.
In between, the kitchen serves up luxury seafood (oysters, caviar, crevettes) and meaty standards such as poule au pot, marinated Gressingham duck breast with beetroots and poached pears or braised shoulder of lamb with white bean stew gremolata – plus steaks with Gallic accoutrements.
Set lunches and pre-theatre deals offer excellent value for this part of town, while the cosmopolitan drinks selection runs from classic cocktails and international craft beers to a raft of G&Ts and a well-curated wine list tilted towards the French regions.
It may be squirrelled away in the hotel’s basement, but the combination of super-flattering lighting, friendly staff and chattering customers makes Bar Boulud one of the capital’s buzziest dining rooms.