The 15th GLC visits Boisdale in Belgravia
On the face of it, Boisdale could have been born of a focus group tasked with creating the perfect restaurant to entice the GLC. It offers a British (well, Scottish) menu with some unexpected twists (Venison and Blackberry Pie anyone?), an extensive “all pockets, all palettes” wine list, a whisky bar stocked with hundreds of the finest single malts and scotches, 2 regular bars, a rooftop cigar terrace and live jazz. What’s more, it’s a private members club but they happily accommodate casual diners, enabling us to bask in the illusion that we are members not only of the GLC, but of a wider male-skewed, food-obsessed club of garrulous imbibers.
In a way though, Boisdale’s attempts to satisfy every (ok, almost every) desire of a chap-about-town is to the place’s detriment. It tries to do too much and some of its offerings just don’t quite deliver. The jazz, for example, is so vanilla that it ceases to be jazz. The food is inventive, on paper, but lacks panache in execution; the white chocolate and duck egg tart, for example, simply tasting like a white chocolate tart.
Singing dishes at the Boisdale
That said, some of the dishes did absolutely sing. The Seared South Uist King Scallops, Macsween haggis & saffron mash was the standout starter. It was priced like a main at £18.50, but, once tasted the price seemed an irrelevance in the face of such earthy, salty perfection. The “Menage a trois” of salmon was fine but not as transcendent as you might expect from a high end Scottish restaurant. The silky goats cheese and black truffle mousse was well balanced with the crunch of carpaccio beetroot and spiced walnuts.
The Boisdale could try harder
For mains, two of us opted for the turbot special, with truffle mash. It was decent but, to my mind, turbot should be the main event if it is on your plate. The truffles over-powered it slightly and became the more interesting element of the dish, although not that interesting given how much truffles and truffle oil are over-employed by chefs at the moment.
One of my fellow gents ordered the enormous18-20oz rib of beef on the bone, which definitely veered more toward the 20oz end of the scale, and probably beyond, almost warranting its own table. Another ordered the steak tartare which was, thankfully, much smaller but could have been more aesthetically pleasing.
Boisdale of Belgravia is great fun and the food is good but London is, of course, awash with places where the food is truly great. If I go again, I’d like to dip a toe (metaphorically speaking) into the whisky selection, particularly the Aberfelfy 12yrs, whose tasting notes proclaim “The finish is like biting into a kumquat”.
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We spent: £100 p.p.
Nearest tube: Victoria