London for the weekend

Med Kitchen (Cambridge Circus) and Boulevard Brasserie (Covent Garden)

http://www.medkitchen.co.uk/

http://www.boulevardbrasserie.co.uk/

On a lovely sunny April weekend my partner and I travelled up to London to meet up with his parents.  Over the course of the two days we dined in the Med Kitchen at Cambridge Circus and Boulevard Brasserie.  Both were offering 3 course meals with a Bellini for £15 so I thought I’d do a little compare and contrast (especially as looking back I choose very similar meals!).

On the Saturday, Med Kitchen.  Part of a small chain of six all located in the center of London, the Cambridge Circus branch is just opposite the Palace Theatre (currently showing Pricilla, Queen of the Desert!).  The restaurant was very light, airy and busy without being cramped.  I was unfortunately sat in a bit of a draft and so got cold towards the end of the meal, but I would say that was just bad luck.

The set menu had a choice of 4 starters, 4 mains and 3 desserts.  I went for the duck parfait with toasted pugliese bread (which they had mis-spelt on their menu – oops!) and homemade fig chutney, seared salmon with French beans and a tomato, olive and caper sauce and crème brulee.

First to arrive, the bellini’s, which were a lovely way to start a meal, very fruity and light.  Then the duck parfait followed quickly after that.  It was wonderfully rich, smooth and full of flavour; the home made chutney was gorgeous, although the chunks of fig were quite big meaning it was very difficult to eat elegantly!  The seared salmon was cooked perfectly, and the sauce was great, if a touch overpowering at times for the fish, but the dish was crying out for carbs (luckily I wasn’t too hungry to start with!).

Finally the meal was rounded off with the crème brulee which tasted divine, but was lacking sugar on top and had a weird grainy texture I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  Overall a decent if not spectacular meal, but great for the price, especially in central London.

The next day was the Sunday lunch menu as Boulevard Brasserie just off Covent Garden, another £15, 3 course and a bellini affair with once again 4 starters, 4 mains and 3 desserts.  The restaurant is set over three floors and the decor was a strange but pleasant mixture of rustic and opulence.  This time it was Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Parfait caramelised onions and crispy country bread, Fillet of Trout with mashed potato and watercress sauce and Petit Pot au Chocolat.

The bellinis were classier looking with a hint of peach at the bottom of the glass, making the previous days efforts look like a bit bucks fizz by comparison.  The parfait was once again deliciously rich and smooth, although it must be said that the onions added little to the dish and bread was incredibly fragile making it difficult to spread the parfait without breaking it into tiny pieces (again not terribly elegant, I must start to order dishes that are eaten with a knife and fork!).

The trout was succulent and I swear that the mash had more butter in it than potatoes.  The watercress sauce was delicious, but I would have liked a little more to cut through the butteryness of the mountain of delicious mash.  Finally I got to the “petit” chocolate pot.  This was the richest dessert I have eaten in a long time and there was nothing “petit” about it!   It was velvet smooth, heady with chocolate and cream and slipped easily down the throat.  I should have stopped myself, but before I knew it I had eaten the whole lot.  The entire meal was sumptuous and full of flavour and I dread to think of the calories consumed and in my bloodstream. Sky high on sugar and fat I left, very happy indeed!

If I had to pick one to visit again, it would be the Boulevard Brasserie, but that’s not to say that I wouldn’t recommend Med Kitchen.  Both offers were a great deal and I’ll definitely keep them in mind the next time I’m up that way.

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