On the ground floor of the Mandarin Oriental in bustling Knightsbridge lies the stylish French Bistro, Bar Boulud by internationally renowned chef Daniel Boulud. The owner of many global restaurants, his most famous is three Michelin star Daniel in New York.
Walking in I’m greeted with a lively lunchtime atmosphere made up of shoppers, business people, tourists and families. Wait staff may be suited and booted but the brasserie is far from stuffy and has a relaxed ambience.
On a previous visit to the swanky bistro last year this vegetarian diner left feeling rather deflated with only mediocre pasta dishes on offer. Meat is of course at the heart of the French Lyonnaise inspired menu with American influences. It’s famous for its burgers as well as French rustic cuisine from charcuterie to escargots.
In the age of a million dietary requirements and the recent explosion of veganism, I think restaurants nowadays can’t avoid the need to tempt plant eaters too.
Fast forward nearly a year and I was invited back to try their…wait for it…new veggie burger! Intrigued, I accepted of course.
Warm bread and butter began the lunchtime proceedings and shared a selection of vegetarian hors d’oeuvres. The tarte flambée, a traditional Alsace flatbread with fromage blanc, onions and mushrooms was perfectly crisp and the onions thinly sliced, succulent and sweet.
A big fan of cheese I was looking forward to the Mozzarella di Bufala, accompanied with radicchio, the creamiest and most morish walnut pesto and juicy chunks of clementine.
The dish was covered in a zesty dressing too heavy on the salt. It did somewhat detract from the delicious mozzarella.
Soon it was time for the main event. The anticipation was palpable. Sat in a soft sesame seed bun, the chickpea falafel burger was bursting with flavour and sang with the harissa mayo, beetroot and tahini. The well balanced array of toppings was uplifted by an undercurrent of mint. Loved the fresh zingy hit.
And because we felt like there wasn’t enough green stuff on the table a side of buttery spinach helped satiate those veggie iron cravings.
Deliberating over dessert, the chef’s description of a single huge profiterole filled with chocolate ice cream made the decision easy. Topped with a thin round disc of chocolate, the waiter poured over warm Guanaja sauce. It seductively melted over the choux pastry as I watched on salivating. Crowned with a smattering of caramalised hazelnuts, thoughts of being full were banished to the back of the mind. Trust me when I say it’s worth tipping you over your daily calorie intake.
Bar Boulud is a great lunch or dinner spot in the heart of Knightsbridge and not just for the carnivores now. Come all ye plant powered! Come and adore their veggie friendly additions.
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