Entries in Chelsea(ish) (4)
The Truffle menu is located at the back of the normal menu at Zafferano. The Boyfriend and I decided to accurately judge the restaurant, something off this menu had to be tasted. The Whole Roast Chicken, with leaks, mash potato and black truffle (£15.00 per person supplement, for a minimum of two people) was good, but not life changing. The truffle was incorporated into all three components, which was a little overpowering and meant that all three flavours were vaguely similar. The chicken was on the chewy side although I imagine it was one of those "happy, free range chicken that had the most perfect life in the world until it died" chickens. I should also note that the portions were so large by the time we had reached the main course both of us were stuffed.
Update - Under two months later Roussillon lost its star and, unsuprisingly, Gauthier gained one.
Daniel Boulud is America's equivalent of Gordon Ramsey except he's not American, or bankrupt or having a public fight with his mistress/father in law/mother in-law and wife but you get my point - incredibly successful with numerous restaurants and Michelin stars . Despite being from Lyon, Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental is his first venture in Europe and when it first opened in May it received a lot of acclaim. In fact it took about 2 weeks before it became tough to get a table less than a week in advance. So finding a table on a Wednesday, for that very evening made me a very happy camper indeed.
The Boyfriend and I arrived at the restaurant 15 minutes early of all things - something which has never happened and probably never will be repeated. The restaurant happily accommodated us and seated us immediately.
The restaurant itself has the "ikea look" that seems so popular now. Why the backlash against white table cloths? I really dont understand. Despite being the World's Biggest Ikea Fan I think the restaurant itself looks a little tacky. Clearly not an off-putting factor as it was packed when we entered.
The service was charming and attentive and easily the nicest service I've experienced in a while. The menu is like a typical bistro restaurant although with a lot of emphasis on charcuterie, terrines and pates, which according to the message from Mr. Boulud himself at the start of the menu is their speciality. The wine list was "good and comprehensive" according to The Boyfriend.
We started with a White Truffle Risotto at - 37.00
This was a special and only available I assume for the limited time period they are in season (Oct- Nov). Basically, book now. Order this dish. Order the big one. Maybe two. Trust me it will be worth it. No-one I think can sum up how I felt about this dish more eloquently than Liz Gilbert writing about Pizza in Eat, Pray,Love -
The Boyfriend stated it was fair competition and that it was so good I would be completely justified in trading him for another plate of the risotto.
Luckily for him and unluckily for me before I got the opportunity the Charcuterie - 14.50 - provided a distraction.
Given, the little note at the start of the menu about how Mr. Boulud's friend makes the best charcuterie, I thought this was disappointing at least no-where near as good as the one I had at Somerset House last Wednesday. The charcuterie consisted of:
- Lamb terrine (which tasted like solid curry)
- Duck terrine (with aubergine I think?)
- Pig's head terrine (The noise level was quite high - I might have misheard that one)
- Another terrine (under seasoned)
- Ham (boring)
- Salami (equally boring)
Maybe it was because trying to follow the risotto was a tough act or because the memory of Tom's Kitchen's Charcuterie was sill in my mind but regardless it just didnt hit the spot.
The next dishes were similar, good but didnt live up to the standard set by the Risotto.
The Boyfriend's Seabass - cooked la plancha,roasted figs and fennel and bordelaise sauce - 19.00
He said was good but " too much fennel", "messy presentation" and the "the fig is just not working".
My Mussels - steamed in white wine, shellfish veloute, garlic, parsley with grilled ciabatta - 13.75
Was fine, a bit average and quite frankly, I like the mussels in my local Loch Fine better. They just tasted like they were missing something. What I'm not sure, but definitely something.
By the time we had made it to dessert the service started to slow a bit and our glass of Muscat didn't arrive till we were halfway through our dessert.
The dessert itself - coupe peppermint, flourless sponge, hot chocolate sauce, mint and chocolate ice cream -8.50
Was possibly the funnest dessert I've eaten in a long time. A sucker for anything with a bit of a production, I found the pouring of the hot chocolate sauce on to the frozen chocolate "lid" of the dessert and watching it all collapse on to the mass of peppermint chocolate-ness inside all very amusing. The main desert itself was rather strange. The mint was heavy and not quite balanced by the chocolate and inside were what tasted like rice krispy treats. I didnt really like it but for some reason I could not stop eating it.
The bill came to 175 which given it included a 60 bottle of wine and a 40 starter seems reasonable.
All in all, I really like Bar Boulud. The atmosphere, the menu, the charming service are all very likeable. If I had the option of eating here every Wednesday I think I would. In fact, I might starting booking them now