Monday, May 17, 2010

Bar Boulud , London

3 Michelin Starred Chef Daniel Boulud’s first UK restaurant, Bar Boulud, London opened its doors on May 6th at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. I am told breakfast will only be served until Heston Blumenthal opens his restaurant in the same Hotel later this year and I'm assured the breakfast menu will not be based on his work for Little Chef.

The Adam D. Tihany designed interior seats 169 in two large connecting rooms, the first has zinc topped bar and the second has a vista of the open kitchen. Materials such as wood, leather and cork add a contemporary touch and the bar a vin theme showcases the craft of wine making, including walled wine stains from Chef Boulud’s favourite vintages and photography by Blaise Adilon of various renowned Lyon bistros and brasseries. Guests can 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. The management are forecasting serving circa 700 covers a day and from what I saw on my visits so far they have a top team in place to do so.

Dean Yasharian from Bar Boulud in New York has come over as Executive Chef and Stephen Macintosh from The Wolseley is the General Manager, Bar Boulud, London looks set to follow in the success of Daniel Boulud's "diffusion" range of restaurants in NYC, Café Boulud, Bar Boulud, DB Bistro Moderne and, most recently, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, on the Bowery.

A full bistro menu is based on seasonal, bourgeois French cooking and includes 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 Vérot. Alongside the classic bistro fare we have a selection of Burgers from Danile Boulud's second tier eateries. Wine has 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.

Everything I have eaten is beautifully prepared and I'm sure sourcing will improve over time as is the case with many transplants from the US.

In terms of food though what I think is truly disruptive for London is not the much anticipated burger(s). Though perfectly good, even in New York not considered to be in the same class as Minetta Tavern or the Spotted Pig for instance but for me the Charcuterie of Gilles Vérot is the star of the show. Bizarrely I first tasted the product of this Pierre Hermé of charcuterie" in New York before visiting his boutiques in Paris . When in New York I understood that the Charcuterie is made on site by a master Charcutier supplied by Gilles Vérot. In the case of London it is Nicholas Maragou that is preparing truly world class Charcuterie in London.

We are very fortunate to have both Pierre Hermé and Gilles Vérot delights in London and for those who have not been to Catherine and Gille Vérot's boutique Charcuterie's in Paris it's worth going there just for that !

All I can say is at the moment is thanks to Daniel Boulud and the Mandarin Oriental , London "nous sommes gâtés ". I have already enjoyed some of Nicholas Maragou's delights for breakfast and cannot think of a better stop over on the way to work !

I predict Bar Boulud despite the constraints of being in a Hotel will be a great success. It has a wonderful room , service is superb and where it trumps The Wolseley par example is on what the kitchen delivers in each and every plate or board.

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