The original Balthazar in New York is somewhat of an institution. Located in the heart of Soho, it was opened in 1997 by Keith McNally offering a French brasserie inspired menu in resplendent surroundings. Still going strong and a firm foodie favourite, I was overjoyed when I heard news that a London outpost was to open in 2013.
In a city which enjoys a raft of new restaurant openings each week, you know a new restaurant is going to be a hit when staff at all of the top restaurants are clamouring to work there. Indeed, Balthazar had its pick from chefs to front-of-house and a waiting list before they’d even opened their doors. In the last year, I’ve enjoyed plenty of dinners and drinks at Balthazar but I have to say my favourite is brunch. Consistently delicious with great service, it’s a staple in my London brunch roster – and I’m a picky bruncher. Last week, I took my cousin for her first Balthazar brunch.
I had my usual, which is the Hazelnut Waffles with warm berries, crème fraîche and maple syrup on the side. As delicious as they sound, if not moreso. The waffles are soft enough to slice through with ease (I hate hard overcooked waffles) and the berries are always in season and juicy, yum. I opted for a Balthazar Bloody Mary rather than tea and was rewarded with one of the best I’ve had in London, packing the perfect amount of spice and punch. My cousin opted for a classic Eggs Benedict and some brunch bubbles which went down very well.
Consistent, reliable and a firm favourite for long, lazy brunches, with the added benefit of being an utter sanctuary from the weekend chaos in Covent Garden. I prefer Balthazar for brunch rather than dinner, when it can get a bit hot and rushed as it’s still super popular. Brunch is perfection though; this is the perfect place in London to enjoy an unhurried weekend catch up/gossip session.