May 11, 2018
You’ll have heard the buzz by now. Balthazar, which occupies the site of the old Theatre Museum in Covent Garden, is near enough a carbon copy of its New York original, a grand, gleaming Parisian-style brasserie with a bakery attached. And just as in New York, a table can be hard to come by without a bit of effort. Is the hype worth it? Opinion is mixed. The room is, without a doubt, a beauty; elegant and refined, like a piece of Paris transported to the heart of London. But word is the food classic French fare can be decidely patchy and the prices are steep, even by central London standards. One thing most can agree on is the bar, with drinks by cocktail god Brian Silva, is this place’s greatest asset. House cocktails include a Negroni Finis, a mix of gin, Cinzano Orancio, Campari, Byrrh and passion fruit and the Two to Four, a delicious combination of gin and champagne with Merlet Poire and lemon juice. Classic drinks, including an Aviation and a Martinez, are also served. The bar stocks a good range of single malts, liqueurs, aperitifs and digestifs. The wine list is mostly French and there is a good range available by the glass or by the carafe. In many ways you might be best off perching at the bar and sampling a cocktail or two rather than chasing a table in the main dining room, though bear in mind you will have to order food if you want a crack at those cocktails.