Bar Boulud – Visit number 2

Posted on Monday, 28th June 2010



I know I’ve only just been to Bar Boulud. And it’s not often that I go back to a restaurant so soon, but I couldn’t help myself. I was dying for a taste of that fabulous charcuterie again, and it really was remiss of me not to have tried the Boulud hamburgers that New Yorkers rave about last time. And beside, I thought I’d give dinner a go. My repeat visit was also rewarded with the presence of Boulud himself who was working that huge dining room and hobnobbing with the Knightsbridge set.

I couldn’t get a table booking for dinner, but you can turn up without a reservation to see if you can secure a seat at the charcuterie bar, the drinks bar or the lounge. At night, the restaurant feels more up market and less ‘Holiday Inn’ – the dimmer lights help – so I liked the décor more during dinner. I went for the charcuterie bar which places you in full view of the kitchen. Sitting here turned out to be an interesting experience as I hadn’t expected to see what I got to see. It seems that one of the chefs has a habit of licking the spoon he uses to plate food with. This would be alright if he washed the spoon after each use, but he didn’t, so some of the dishes had an added ingredient known as chef’s saliva. I watched him with great interest for at least 30 minutes, and in that time frame that same spoon made it into his mouth countless times but only got washed once. Ick! Hopefully this practice will be eliminated for we quietly mentioned this to management…

Thankfully the above mentioned chef had no hand (or saliva) in the food that we ordered. The charcuterie platter (£14 for small) was again excellent. We had some repeats from my last visit, but also some newbies, including tagine d’agneau (terrine of slow cooked spiced leg of lamb, aubergine and sweet potato) (extreme left), which was meltingly tender, and pâté grand-mère (fine country pâté of chicken liver, pork and cognac) (bottom centre), which was good, but not as flavoursome as the pâté grand-père. We also sampled the lomo Ibérico (Spanish cured pork loin) which sizzled with flavour and melted on your tongue.

A Beaujolaise sausage (£8.50) of pork, mushroom, onion, bacon and red wine with pommes Lyonnaise called out to me as well. There was really good flavour in the meat, but it was a touch heavy on the salt and very peppery. The Lyonnaise potatoes were lovely and matched wonderfully with the red wine jus.

Beaujolaise sausage

Beaujolaise sausage

Now for the hamburgers which are an American institution. If you ever speak to an American foodie, they will extol the virtues of a good burger. On the menu are a couple of DBGB burgers which also feature on Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen & Bar menu in New York. These burgers, which stand for Daniel Boulud’s Good Burgers, are so named, I suspect, as a play on acronym of CBGB, that famous underground rock venue that is situated a few blocks down from DBGB Kitchen and Bar.

To help me taste the DBGB Yankee burger (grilled beef patty, iceberg lettuce, tomato, sweet onion, sesame bun, pickles and pommes frites) (£12), I enlisted the help of an American girlfriend. I went for the Frenchie burger (grilled beef patty, confit pork belly, rocket, tomato-onion compote, Morbier cheese, peppered brioche bun and pommes frites) (£13.50). Visually, the burgers are quite small, but they were more than enough after our charcuterie and sausage meat fest. Both the meat patties were great. Thick and juicy, with the flavour of fat running through it, its only drawback was that it was under seasoned.

Frenchie burger

Frenchie burger

The buns were fresh and soft, a prerequisite to a good burger, and the Morbier, with its slightly bitter aftertaste, provided a nice twist on the meat. I did get a huge hit of mustard at one point with the Frenchie, which suggested that the mustard had not been evenly spread. But the highlight of the burgers was the chips. Boy, were they good. Golden and perfectly crunchy on the outside, they were soft and tasty in the middle.

Second visit and I am no less enthralled by the charcuterie. With the sausage and the hamburger, my opinion remains the same. The food is mixed. There are elements of the excellent about it, but what lets it down are the mistakes, eg, the over seasoning, the overcooking of the salmon from my last visit, etc. All these are easily rectifiable errors, and in my humble opinion, relate to a slight carelessness and not an inability to cook. A tighter ship and this place could deliver truly great bistro food. I still like it though. The prices are good.


Summary information

Food rating: [xrr rating=3.5/5]
Charcuterie rating: [xrr rating=4.5/5]
Service rating: [xrr rating=3.5/5]

Price range: Prix fixe menu £20. Three courses ranges from £19 to £43. Excludes drinks and service.


Bar Boulud (Mandarin Oriental Hotel) on Urbanspoon

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3 Responses to “Bar Boulud – Visit number 2”

  1. An American in London Says...

    Forget the burgers – what I want to return for are the salads! The charcuterie wasn’t bad, either. : )

  2. Gastropub Girl Says...

    OMG am amazed you went back…….

  3. sweet-komal Says...

    looks like an amazing ploughmans lunch mmm delicious