I love, love, love Christmas. Everything about it…carols and presents and mince pies and tinsel and the Nutcracker and Slade…everything. Last year the lovely C and I put into place the first annual Christmas date. Matthew Bourne at Sadlers Wells followed by dinner at the Petrichor made for such a gorgeous time we decided after several glasses of bubbles that it would become a festive tradition. Well, isn’t that the way all the best decisions of the world are made…?
Scarily, a year has passed and the time has rolled around to do it again. Decidedly less scary that means woo hoo, it’s time to pop on a frock and drink some more bubbles together and so it was we found ourselves getting cultured at the BFI with a big screen viewing of the epic and perfect ‘Gone With The Wind’ and then getting ourselves fed at Boulevard Brasserie…
I may have mentioned once or twice or twenty five million times before that I have a thing for all things French when it comes to cooking and eating so the thought of dining at a lovely, snug, little brasserie was highly exciting…
Boulevard Brasserie is set almost dead centre in Covent Garden but like all the best places it has a cosy, intimate downstairs space, hidden from the curious eyes of a million cold and exhausted tourists and this is where we found ourselves ushered to on this glacial but twinkly-by-Christmas-lights December evening.
This place is lovely. That doesn’t sound like a very strong way to describe somewhere but it’s the perfect word here. It’s dark but not gloomy, full but not frenzied and there was a soothing babble in the air of murmured chatter and corks popping…in short, it’s a fantastic place to go for a special dinner but not with special enough prices to make you doubt your ability to pay next month’s rent.
The food was first rate and presented every bit as attractively as it actually tasted…plumping for a vegetarian option I received a steaming tureen of sweet potato, beetroot, spinach and pine nut stew with rice that was flavoursome and rich while my date for the evening had a classic and superbly done steak frites. Both were excellent examples of how to take good quality ingredients and rather than messing with them, crafting them into plates of food designed to impress and delight. Both accomplished this.
There was no doubt that there’d be room for dessert so a Valrhona chocolate tart with mint Chantilly cream and Eton mess with lemon and verbena shortbreads rounded off dinner very nicely and as we reluctantly headed back into the frosty night outside, it was with the warm, happy, slightly buzzed and satisfied feeling that only comes at the end of an evening of wonderful food and company. Boulevard Brasserie isn’t a la France in an intimidating way; it’s a la France in the best way of adoring, sharing and enjoying exceptional food and friends.