Posted on Tuesday, 2nd December 2014
Last week I attended a bloggers’ dinner at the lovely Boulestin restaurant, an impressively chic French establishment on St James St in the heart of Mayfair. The restaurant comfortably seats around 40 and is elegant and inviting. There are leather banquettes, frosted glass screens and soft lighting, all coming together to create a sense of conviviality and warmth.
The inspiration for Boulestin Restaurant was the renowned chef and food writer, Xavier Marcel Boulestin. His cookery books did much to popularise French cooking in the English-speaking world. In 1927 he opened the original Restaurant Boulestin, which at the time was the most expensive restaurant in London. The success of the restaurant and the popularity of his writing made Boulestin famous. And so it is that the Boulestin of today is devoted to celebrating many of the French classics that he helped to make so well-known.
For my starter I had the pan-fried duck liver (£18.50), which was deliciously fatty, beautifully cooked, and which went nicely with the roasted quince. But the portion size was tiny, and I thought a little ungenerous for the price.
To the mains, and a dish of poached lobster with red mullet, mussels and a saffron broth (£32.50) was delicious. Each of the seafood elements of the dish had been wonderfully cooked, particularly the tasty red mullet. The broth was also wonderful and rich with the flavour of a good seafood stock. I also tried the roasted cod with fennel puree and tapenade (£22.50) which was nicely cooked.
I loved the pear and almond tart (£8.75) with Jersey cream. The pastry was heavenly and precisely executed. It was incredibly light, extremely thin and best of all, fabulously short. The filling was also delicious, particularly the nutty frangipane which sat alongside the slivers of pear.
The bake on the chocolate fondant (£9.50) was also excellent, resulting in a pudding that was delicious and lusciously runny in the centre. However a tarte légère aux pommes (a simple apple tart – £9.50) was almost too simple as it didn’t have enough caramelisation to make it interesting or very inviting.
Boulestin showed off some accomplished French cooking that would have made Boulestin himself proud. The food was really enjoyable, the result of some fabulous ingredients being combined with the best of classical French techniques. Boulestin are offering a variety of set Christmas menus starting from just £50.00 per head, all of which will be inclusive of filter coffee and petit fours from now until 24th December.
Food rating: 3.75/5
Prices: £31 to £62 for three courses from the a la carte menu. Excludes drinks and service.