A few years back whilst on a trip in New York City we got talking to some locals on a tour bus. You read that right, locals on a tour bus! We found out that they use it to get around the city as it’s a cheaper way to do it and that’s just ingenious! They told us about the brunch scene in Manhattan and that we have to go to Balthazar without fail. Given that it was Sunday the next day, we went and boy was it good!
Thankfully Balthazar opened in London last year and it’s a carbon copy of the on in New York, from the entrance to the bar and to the staff uniform. Such a massive space with high ceilings, you can tell that Keith McNally had spent a good deal of money getting the decor perfect. His New York import came with a huge reputation and it didn’t disappoint. The bar with high stools and seafood bar are a sight to behold themselves.
After having a few drinks in Covent Garden we made our way over to see if we could get a walk-in. The Maitre’D was welcoming and unpretentious and within 10 minutes we were sat down (at 9pm on a Friday night!). This isn’t to say it’s easy to get a table at Balthazar, on the contrary it’s best to book and we were quite lucky! Balthazar is an all day brasserie that’s open 7 days a week, which is another plus point as you can go any time of day and get some great food. We ordered some white wine and moved on to the menu.
To start we had French Onion Soup and Salad Nicoise. The Soup was fantastic and you could tell that it had been slow cooked for a long time. French onion soup, when done well, is a great way to start a meal and at Balthazar they’ve created one that is definitely worth going back for. The nicoise salad was perfect. It was fresh, not too filling and the ingredients used were high end. The poached duck egg with the pieces of tuna worked excellently. Along with the various salad leaves and a dressing we’d love to know the recipe for, this dish was fantastic. To follow this their steak frites was ordered. On our trip in New York this was an excellent dish so it made sense to try it here also and again it was on point. The Sirloin steak was a great cut and cooked perfectly (medium rare) and the Maire’D butter was just lovely. Frites can be hit and miss and thankfully they were a hit! To finish we had petits fours (pictured) and ice cream followed by an espresso. The petits fours were a great dessert in the sense that each had their own individual flavour and it wasn’t heavy. The ice cream, a little on the expensive side (£7!) was top notch but that doesn’t excuse the price unfortunately. The espresso was made from excellent coffee beans and finished off the dinner very well!
Balthazar is perfect for any occasion and they have a menu to suit all. This makes it great for dates, brunch meetings, breakfasts or a family dinner. We love a place that can tick all boxes!
4-6 Russell Street, London, WC2B 5HZ