After a quick breakfast at Crown Plaza and a lazy morning day three has started. First stop: Bar Boulud. This French bistro with a little American touch is just one of many under the signature of internationally acclaimed chef, Daniel Boulud.
Sister restaurant to the popular New York outpost, Bar Boulud London at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is the heart of Knightsbridge. The interiors are inspired by a contemporary take on the craft of winemaking with a sleek open kitchen and vaulted ceilings, while the deep, red-leather banquettes and zinc-topped bar create a comfortable and welcoming surrounding for a truly unique London experience. Two private dining rooms await those seeking a more intimate gathering.
It wasn’t that easy to decide what to order as all the items on the menu seem to scream “pick me” and its hard not to want to try them all. For appetizers we went with Duo De Crabe and Tiger Prawns. The prawns were cooked perfectly and the butter-lemon taste was exquisite. I must admit, I quite enjoy sea food but I never expected to like it that much. Both appetizers were cooked to perfection and the amazing aroma reminded of a night walk through the streets of Brussels where you can indulge in mouth-watering sea food dishes. For main I chose Duo De Boeuf: beef tenderloin and braised featherblade with mushrooms. I haven’t had the opportunity to try steak in my prior travels and was a bit concerned about the “medium rare” and all other choices but this dish was beyond any expectations. The aroma, the taste, the spices, everything was perfection. I can honestly say this has been the best stake I have every had so far. My foodie companion chose Sole Forestiere which was another incredible dish, tender, amazing flavor which incorporating bone marrow, ceps, braised red cabbage and peppercorn.
After this delicious lunch I had a chance to visit the Harvey Nichols department store, which left me craving for some Valentino heels and a few Alaia dresses. The day continued with a visit to the V&A museum where I could probably spend a full day in and still wouldn’t be bored. If you do find yourself in London it would be a shame not to check this out, not to mention its free so no reason why not to take advantage and merge yourself in some British history; or maybe explore what the Asian culture has to offer or admire some Medieval statues. You can find it all at the V&A.
Having spent a few good hours in the museum it was time to make our way back to Blackfriars where we decided to stop for “a quick tipple in the Black Friar, an art nouveau pub, notable for it’s ornate sculpted and carved friezes, and which rather conveniently has a great range of very well-kept cask ales”. Afterwords we returned to Crown Plaza for some cocktails at the Voltaire bar and dinner at the Diciannove restaurant. Voltaire is a very cozy but still sleek-looking bar and after a pre-dinner cocktail we made our way to Diciannove. From the moment we stepped in we were warmly welcomed and attentively cared for throughout the evening. Growing up in Europe, I have always enjoyed Italian food before but since my move across the ocean I haven’t had the pleasure to experience it much. Diciannove manage to create an unforgettable night for me and reminded me how much I do love Europe and all the great culinary options available. I can say I truly felt like I was somewhere in Tuscany, having some great wine and indulging in finger-licking food.
Our server was very friendly and have a slight Italian accent, which made the experience even more authentic f or me. The menu was offering a lot of great options so we were having a bit of a hard time deciding, which as this point our server suggested we try out a couple of dishes instead of sticking to one main. As we were spending the night at the Crown Plaza and had no other plans we decided to go with the shared plates option. We have picked 4 that “winked” at us most and what a great choice that was. Ravioli filled with roasted Luganica sausage, Lobster spaghettini, burrata mozzarella and a spicy Neapolitan style of pizzette. What a feast! I definitely have to go to Italy soon, it has been too long. The night was looking great and we were very satisfied with our meal but seems like these were considered only appetizers so we were convinced to share one main as it’s a must(can’t argue when it comes to sampling fine food) so next item on the menu came out. “Filetto di Manzo, fillet of beef with soft polenta and porcini mushrooms: tender meat, a rich refined sauce, velvety soft creamy polenta.” By this time we were ready to throw the towel in but we were being tempted with dessert. Oh music to my ears but I was not sure my stomach can fit anything else in but our amazing server advised us he will take care of us and will bring back something special for us. Oh how right was he. Classic Tiramisu – sponge layers dipped in coffee with mascarpone cheese and cocoa, Zabaione – light, sweet custard served with lemon curd and seasonal berry fruits, Delizia al Cioccolato – decadent chocolate mousse with chocolate salami and Affogato – Vanilla ice cream with a shot of hot espresso.
Sitting here writing about this makes me wish I was back there. Great staff, great atmosphere,amazing food and a perfect place to get together and indulge. After such a meal we had to compliment the chef, Alessandro Bay, for the excellent job he did and what you would know, he came out to our table exchanging a few words and thanking us for dining with them. Now this will be a night I will not forget and will I be in London again, I will most certainly come back. Not to mention that even though London is quite pricey at times, Diciannove in my opinion is affordable and they offer a few options that help you save a few pounds at the end of your meal.
So day 3 has been maybe the most memorable of the 5 I have spent in England and having experienced French and Italian cuisine in the same day has definitely left me dreaming of a southern Europe tour, maybe in the summer, having brunch somewhere in Marseilles and dinner in the beautiful Tuscany. These days it is definitely possible to have breakfast, lunch and dinner in three different countries, so look out Europe, I will be back.