Eating & Drinking: Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental
If you are meandering around the wonderful Museums in South Kensington, you're bound to build up an appetite and possibly, a more cultured palate at that. There are tea rooms aplenty and lots of tourist watering holes to choose from but if you find yourself with a yen for something a tad more sophisticated, try Knightsbridge, which is a brief walk away. It's undergoing a bit of a make over and rediscovering itself as a fashion centre. A major new Top Shop has just opened there and the perennial fashion pack favourite, Harvey Nichols, has it's flagship store there too. The Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge is the hotel I always imagine as being the most expensive one in London, not purely for the location but also because of the A-list guest reputation it has garnered for itself. If you think the hotel maybe well out of your budget, the bar restaurant certainly isn't. It's a real treat for lovers of red wine, charcuterie and desserts. Recently I had the pleasure of dining at Bar Boulud with a round of leading travel and food bloggers including Heather on her travels, Gourmet Chick, Laissez Fare, Matt from Mr&MrsSmith blog and Londonelicious.
We were very well attended to and got to try some Nuit St Georges (my absolute favourite) and a lovely Rasteau which is a more affordable favourite, and a very drinkable light red to boot. I particularly enjoyed this cheeky little Ladoix, another cracker from the Bourgogne. I believe the best wine in the world comes from Burgundy and thankfully, I was proved right again.
Highlights for me were the extensive and reasonably priced wines, many of which are exclusive, and the open kitchen so you can have a nosey round at the food being prepared. I think Knightsbridge really lacks a good place to enjoy a nice glass of wine and a menu to suit any appetite so this really fills that niche; you can go all out on a burger or nibble at some platters, the choice is yours. The setting is stylish and discreet, with it's own doorman and a separate entrance from the hotel, and we did spot a few very famous people, but that's our secret! If you're looking for somewhere to stay in the area, check out Kensington Hotels and also West End shows for something to round off the weekend. More about the restaurant: The Adam D. Tihany designed interior seats 169 in two large connecting rooms, the first with an impressive zinc topped bar and the second with a sleek open kitchen. Classic materials such as wood, leather and cork add a contemporary touch and an aesthetic inspired by the craft of wine making, including walled wine stains from Chef Boulud’s favourite vintages and photography of various renowned Lyon bistros and brasseries. Guests can also watch the chefs at work at the charcuterie bar running along the edge of the open kitchen or dine in one of the two interconnecting private dining rooms, both seating 16 people each. A full bistro menu is based on seasonal, rustic French cooking and includes signatures dishes such as Truffled White Sausage, Grilled Atlantic Sea Bass, Braised Rabbit Ragout and Coq au Vin as well as a selection of terrines and pâtés made on site under the direction of acclaimed charcutier Gilles Verot. With a focus on Burgundy and the Rhône Valley, an impressive selection of wines, by the glass and by the bottle, and occasionally from Magnums, Jeroboams and Rehoboams, feature old world wines as well as new world selections made in the Rhône or Burgundy spirit. A selection of beers is also available on draft from small, artisanal producers and continental microbreweries with specially designed glassware for tasting portions. This is Chef Daniel Boulud’s first UK restaurant, Bar Boulud, in London and it is open at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Over and out, nixdminx.