Bar Boulud summer terrace review: puts others in the shade
The Mandarin Oriental’s seasonal bistro Bar Boulud tends to be overshadowed – both literally and metaphorically – by the five-star London hotel’s more famous eatery, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
But while the bistro sits immediately beneath Blumenthal’s restaurant, it offers an experience each summer that its sibling cannot: access to the hotel’s grand garden terrace, which looks directly out over Hyde Park.
Bar Boulud styles itself as French with a dash of Americana, which translates into a menu packed with house-made pâtés, escargot and beef tartares alongside a selection of big, brash, unapologetically meaty burgers.
During a recent visit, I began with a ceviche with watermelon that was so fresh and sweet, I was tempted to just pick up the bowl and sip from it. My dining companion opted for the equally aestival grilled octopus on an almond purée, topped with a pile of rocket leaves and orange slices.
Next up, my red wine-marinated duck breast offered hints of Asian fusion, courtesy of the accompanying Hoisin-like red fruit paste and fresh cherries. On the other side of the table, the pan-fried sea trout with spicy succotash sweetcorn velouté tasted a touch too charred for my friend, but was perfectly pitched for my palate.
As the evening drew to a close, we lingered over the buttery, almond flavours of a Gâteau Basque, along with a standout vanilla mille-feuille.
The wisp-thin pastry layers and columns of crème pâtissière disappeared far more swiftly than the final rays of sunshine as the encroaching darkness (or was it the meal we had just enjoyed?) put Dinner by Heston in the shade.
Bar Boulud, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA; barboulud.com/london