There are so many restaurants in London that I’ve come to realise it would be impossible to try them all. We’re spoilt for choice with every cuisine you could possibly imagine. French happens to be one of mine and Ben’s favourites.
Balthazar is somewhere I’ve never been to, but passed hundreds of times. Ben’s been a few times for breakfast meetings, but with a spare afternoon, we decided to pop over for lunch.
We arrived about 20 minutes early for our booking, so peered in with hungry eyes to the neighbouring Boulangerie. Inside the restaurant is bright and airy with tall ceilings and booth style seating typical of a French restaurant. The menu reflects the French inspiration with all the classics you would expect to find including snails, fois gras and a large selection of fruits de mer. Huge mirrors lean off the walls with all the specials of the day scribbled on in elegant handwriting.
We were immediately seated on a fabulous table, right under the brightest windows, at the back of the restaurant. A waiter offered us a welcome cocktail which we both eagerly accepted. Bellini for me and a Vieux Carré for Ben. As we sipped on our drinks, the restaurant started to fill up. Every single table was occupied and the atmosphere was buzzing with people ready for a boozy, sunny, Friday lunch.
There are stations within the restaurant adding to the production (it is in the theatre district of London, after all). Tall shelves at one end of the restaurant hold loaf after loaf of perfectly baked bread, while at the other end a bar filled with ice holds spectacular Lobsters and Oysters.
I challenge you to read the menu without your mouth watering! My stomach was well and truly rumbling deciding on starters and mains.
Eventually I decided on the sea bass ceviche with elderflower and lime. Beautiful fresh seabass chopped up and marinated in citrus. It was delicious, but the citrus was a little too tart and I couldn’t taste the elderflower in the dish.
Ben settled on the Foie Gras which he absolutely loved and paired with some of the chunky bread we had been brought.
My main, sadly, followed the pattern of my starter and was a little disappointing. I chose the Duck Confit with roast new potatoes, baby onions, garlic and wild mushrooms with a red wine sauce. The duck was cooked perfectly with crispy skin and meat that fell off the bone. You could taste the alcohol in the sauce though and the dish had been overly salted. I should probably mention, that I did grow up in a household that never cooked with salt, so now if something has too much in it, I can really taste it.
Ben’s Filet de Boeuf was delicious. It was served with bone marrow, wild mushrooms, pommes pont neuf and a choice of peppercorn or Bordelaise sauce. After a few mouthfuls of mine, Ben very kindly offered to swap with me.
The pudding more than made up for the disappointing starter and main. I had the Raspberry and Vanilla Vacherin with fresh raspberries, meringue, vanilla Chantilly and raspberry sorbet. Up there with one of the most delicious puddings I’ve had and perfect for an abnormally warm spring day!
Apple Tarte Tatin was a clear winner for Ben served with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
We washed the meal down with a bottle of Rose between us and remained chatting until we had finished it.
After spending more than a few hours in the restaurant, we were greeted straight away by the rest of the warm spring day and intense sunshine beating down.
There was just enough time to have a little sit in the famous gorgeously decorated floral seats before we had to race back to take Pepi for a walk in the sunshine!
Baltazar is open seven days a week and you can book a table here.