Posted on Thursday, 28th March 2013
The Blue Boar Smokehouse & Bar is a newly opened restaurant and bar that forms part of the also newly opened Intercontinental Hotel on Tothill Street in Westminster. The Blue Boar’s décor is understandably very five-star hotel-esque – there’s lots of strong oak panelling throughout, and it has been styled to cater to the suits working around the corner at the Houses of Parliament.
Being a smokehouse, the menu offers smoked meats such as pulled pork and pulled lamb shoulder, charcoal and wood grilled foods, plus a range of starters and desserts. On Sundays there is a special brunch menu, which for £45, you can eat as much as you want from the feasting table (salads, seafood and meats), plus unlimited Bloody Marys, Bucks Fizzes and tea or coffee. In addition to this you can choose a main of your choice.
It was the Sunday Brunch that we sampled, and there was a really good range of salads such as smoked feta cheese, with shaved fennel, pomegranate and toasted pistachios; Caesar salad; and hot smoked Scottish salmon with a Niçoise garnish. They were all nicely done, but the best of the lot was a smoked chicken with Granny Smith apple that was great. The chicken was very tasty and moist, and the combination with the apple really worked.
The seafood bar options were less impressive. The king prawns proved a little mushy and the oysters were a little bland. Furthermore, one of the three oysters I picked up looked dry and grey as if well past its use by date. A baby prawn cocktail served with a Marie Rose sauce was decent, with the sauce being very creamy.
To the mains, and a pulled pork was decidedly dry. For what should have been a star feature of the restaurant, this was disappointing. Served with thyme baked rolls, homemade pickles, coleslaw and smoky bacon baked beans, the beans were good. The baked rolls were also interesting with a slightly chewy crust that took on an almost bagel like quality. Another main of sea bass with preserved lemon, samphire and fennel was also very, very dry, but the samphire and fennel were nicely done.
We also tried some sides of sage roasted pumpkin and green vegetables, both of which were very bland. But I adored the chunky chips as they were very crispy and fluffy in the middle.
The dessert selection is impressively displayed, and on the whole all of the desserts were really good. Particularly delicious was the apple clafoutis which was moist and scrummy. Also very good was the raspberry and chocolate slice that had a lovely mousse-y like texture and was cleanly presented. There was also a range of chocolates for the picking.
The best of the bunch were the salads and the desserts, which for £45 is good value if you can eat a lot. It wasn’t unreasonable value considering that the bunch also offers unlimited access to Bloody Marys and Bucks Fizzes. If you judge the calibre of the cooking by the standard of the mains, then it wasn’t great. On this basis, I probably wouldn’t consider the Blue Boar as a dinner option. The service was pleasant.
I went as part of a blogger’s lunch with Greedy Gourmet, Cook Sister and Tuck and Vine.
Sunday brunch food rating: 3/5
Main course rating: 2/5
Service rating: 3/5
Prices: £45 for the Sunday brunch.