The original Boulestin was opened in 1927 by Frenchman Xavier Marcel Boulestin. The first TV cook, Boulestin’s restaurant became famous as the most expensive place to eat in all of England, and lived on until the end of last century.
The Boulestin that I had the pleasure of dining at last week is a reimagining of the original, however, opened at the end of last year in a new location. Fronted by Joel Kissin, who partnered with Sir Terence Conran on Bibendum back in 1987, Boulestin still serves French cuisine with impeccable service and in a beautifully designed setting, but is no longer the most expensive restaurant to eat in the country. This does not mean that the standards are any less stratospheric, however.
I was lucky to be invited to dine at Boulestin as a guest, and we were greeted with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres upon arrival – the signature Le Boulestin cocktail with vodka, ginger beer and cranberry, with smoked eel and cod roe crostini:
I took the chance to explore the space further, appreciating the interior design and how it feels like a genuine French brasserie. Café Marcel, which is less formal and open all day for meals, snacks and refreshments, is located at the front of the restaurant.
A marble-topped and well-stocked bar separates the café from the restaurant:
Boulestin has just opened a terrace outside the French doors of the restaurant. An oasis away from the noise and madness of London, you can now dine al fresco in an adorable courtyard, lit by old fashioned gas street lamps and surrounded by beautiful architecture.
How nice would this be for a sunny weekend breakfast?!
We ordered a second round of cocktails (this time an Apple Manhattan) and then moved to our table in the restaurant to peruse the menu.
Our arrival in the restaurant took the average age down significantly! Unsurprising, really – such an upmarket establishment will naturally be frequented by older, wealthy diners!
Surprisingly, this item on the menu didn’t take anyone’s fancy…!
Starters were ordered and rapidly served. I would like to take this moment to say that I LOVE dining with other food bloggers! There is a mutual understanding that no one should start eating until all dishes have been photographed 🙂
Around the table, we had oysters (£39 for 12 – this was actually the first time I’ve ever eaten an oyster!), perfectly paired with a bottled of chilled Sancerre (£58):
Pan-fried scallops with pea purée (£16.75):
I ate ricotta-stuffed courgette flowers (£11.75), which catapulted me back to the summer of 2010, staying at La Bandita (more details here) in Tuscany – delicious.
For my main, I enjoyed a rather perfectly cooked dry-aged rib-eye steak avec frites (£29.50).
The most admired dishes around the table was Ruthe’s roast rack of lamb, with wild asparagus and garlic (£27.50):
Michael’s roast cod with saffron broth, artichoke, fennel and carrots (£23.50) was apparently quite heavenly too:
Although all quite full, we were tempted by pudding, so ordered a selection from the menu (all ~£9). Those with the most votes were the hot cinnamon beignets with caramel and chocolate sauce:
Nomi’s Crumble Profiteroles were a novel reinterpretation of the old favourite that is perfect for summer – served with raspberries and stuffed with peach crème patissière:
Tarte au citron was well balanced without being too sweet or too sharp, and the chocolate mousse, with a salted caramel centre, was decadently rich.
We stayed late, finishing off our drinks and enjoying the sophisticated ambience of the restaurant and the perfect service from the all-French waiting staff, till finally turning out into the night, with grand plans to return to Boulestin for future special occasions, where the budget-busting prices would be almost acceptable!
5 St James’s Street, SW1A 1EF