Boyd's Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge
Londoners: listen up. While not the most exciting dining option, Boyd’s Bar and Restaurant is safe, reliable and quietly decadent choice any night of the week. How do I put this…it’s perhaps the perfect eatery in which to treat visiting parents to some good old-fashioned capital city glamour and some good old-fashioned British food without them having price-provoked heart attacks. And it’s so close to Trafalgar Square you could even all enjoy a nice, landmark-laden walk afterwards.
Nestled beyond the grand, marbled lobby of one of London’s largest, original blockbuster hotels (the Victoria hotel, built in 1887), it’s gigantic, 360 degree bar, moody lighting, high ceilings and a plethora of fresh flowers helps create an atmosphere that exudes glamour from a bygone era. It was busy, but relaxed; diners immediately succumb to it’s laid-back cool. A smattering of contemporary touches courtesy of a recent makeover work for the most part, although we weren’t keen on the transparent chairs.
The service was a cut above the rest. The same waitress served us throughout the evening and was happy to engage in lengthy conversation about the menu, the hotel (it’s steeped in history after all; it was once taken over by the Ministry of Defence) and more. But she was chilled out about it, nothing was forced. To that end we felt entirely comfortable taking our time ordering; we sent her away with requests of “five more minutes!” at least five times and the young lady in question was nothing but patient and good-humoured.
For deciding from the menu wasn’t easy; ‘safe’ British fare, yes, but there are inventive twists to explore if you so wish. First up – British tapas seems like a risky strategy, and I can imagine many a culinary snob turning their noses up at such a liberty; nevertheless my guest and I kept open minds and were fairly pleasantly surprised. Hot smoked salmon, potted pork, lemon and thyme risotto and more. Naturally we’d end up choosing a number of little dishes that while delicious on their own merit (especially the zingy risotto) made absolutely no sense together, but that was hardly the restaurant’s fault.
The mains and desserts on offer are somewhat simpler and comforting in their Sunday-roast-style familiarity. A middle white pork chop, applesauce and crackling with a few sides of heavily buttered vegetables might sound pub-like rather than elegant, but the flavours were light and the fairly dainty portions presented very artfully.
A perfectly pleasant apple and blueberry crumble (served with cold custard: am I the only one who finds it incredibly annoying when this isn’t indicated on the menu?) was a fittingly homemade-tasting end to a meal. It’s a seductive menu, proudly British, and the setting is epic, and while the experience as a whole was enjoyable, I can’t help but wonder if something more experimental and modern would suit the surroundings more.
8 Northumberland Avenue Westminster,
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