Hot Dinners

Review

Balthazar London Hot


4-6 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HZ
Latest critic review: May 21, 2013
Critics' score: 7 out of 10 Users' score: 8.0 out of 10
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Keith McNally, an English ex-pat, has done particularly well to make his mark on the New York restaurant scene. Balthazar is a go-to place for most tourists and locals in the Village. McNally is now back in the UK with London branch of Balthazar which was one of the biggest openings of 2013. Expect brasserie style food in a spectacular room with great service and a master bartender on the cocktails too. Plus there's a takeaway bakery next door.

Reviews

Critic Reviews

Matthew Norman Telegraph
Reviewed on May 21, 2013
"With a restaurant such as this one, which exists to offer elegance, in-crowd glitz and a dash of theatricality, the cooking is not the paramount thing. Yet at these prices, there are basic standards of competence which must be observed. Too many dishes were either sloppily executed or suggested that the profit margins are being inflated by chopping the butcher's bill with the brute force of Ramsay." READ REVIEW

Jay Rayner Observer
Reviewed on April 14, 2013
"None of this was disastrous, but when your proposition is so simple you don't have wriggle room. Most of these dishes are classics. Either you get them right or you stay home." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 6
Zoe Williams Telegraph
Reviewed on March 19, 2013
"The food, I'm afraid, is simply not that good. Bizarrely, the rest of it is so likeable that even thinking about it has put a smile on my face." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 5
AA Gill Sunday Times
Reviewed on March 17, 2013
"I expect Balthazar will be a big hit with people who have special faces to greet mirrors. The food isn’t really the point, and it’s fine, it will do. The point is the pizzazz, the theatre, the putting on a show." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 6
Tracey MacLeod Independent
Reviewed on March 16, 2013
"...though the London branch may be a pastiche of a pastiche, there's nothing brash about it – in fact it has that touch of mystery and magic that characterises all great restaurants. As a theatrical showcase of the restaurateur's art, it's a hit." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 8.5
Giles Coren Times
Reviewed on March 16, 2013
"...I am in no way saying that you should not go. Just go prepared. For the best restaurant in London, and the worst food in Europe." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 6
Grace Dent Evening Standard
Reviewed on March 08, 2013
"But when you enter Balthazar, touristville ebbs away and you’re whooshed into a sort of seductive Manhattan/Marseille hinterland... Damn them — after all the hype and trouble, this place is very good." READ REVIEW
Estimated score
Critic's score: 8
Richard Vines Bloomberg
Reviewed on March 08, 2013
"It’s great fun dining at Balthazar and I recommend it, with one proviso: The food was uneven in the opening days. There’s good reason to believe this is just a teething problem." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 8
Andy Lynes Metro
Reviewed by March 07, 2013
"A perfectly cooked risotto that’s studded with chunks of lobster and dots of aromatic black truffle is given a savoury boost by a rich cauliflower cream. It’s so good I clean the bowl with some of the superb brown sourdough from the adjoining Balthazar bakery." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 8
Guy Dimond Time Out
Reviewed on February 27, 2013
"British chef Robert Reid has tinkered little with the brilliantly nostalgic menu. Signature dishes such as the onion soup remain. It’s more stew than soup: a ‘lid’ of grilled gruyère sits on a substantial bowl of thick country bread immersed in a rich, sweet chicken stock." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 10
Kelly Hussey View London
Reviewed on February 20, 2013
"The buzz around Balthazar is already sufficient to attract the kinds of famous faces frequently frequenting the tables of its Transatlantic cousin. Thankfully, it's a lovely restaurant for us mere mortals, too." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 8
Fay Maschler Evening Standard
Reviewed on February 20, 2013
"In the main course a standout was linguini fruits de mer with garlic confit, lemon and pointedly sharp piment d’espelette. Grilled whole gilt-head bream was a piece of magic, served head on but completely de-boned, removing at a stroke the argument some people have with fish." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 8
 

User reviews

Average user rating from: 4 user(s)

Overall rating 
 
8.0  (4)
Ratings (the higher the better)
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Ok breakfast but nothing to write home about
Overall rating 
 
6.0
Reviewed by Juerg Mueller November 12, 2013

Ok breakfast

Ok breakfast but nothing to write home about

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We went for a special occasion and couldn't have been happier - I think all the critic reviews saying the food is sub-standard must have been written in the early days, and perhaps this galvanized them into improving things as we thought the food was great. Service was a joy, from the barman making the cocktails to all the waiters and the maitre d'. There was a mishap just after our starter - a plumbing incident leading to flooding in the area we were sitting in, could have happened anywhere - and it was handled so swiftly and charmingly that it just added to the pleasure of the evening. We can't wait to go back.
Overall rating 
 
9.0
Reviewed by Suzie Doore June 03, 2013

Delightful

We went for a special occasion and couldn't have been happier - I think all the critic reviews saying the food is sub-standard must have been written in the early days, and perhaps this galvanized them into improving things as we thought the food was great. Service was a joy, from the barman making the cocktails to all the waiters and the maitre d'. There was a mishap just after our starter - a plumbing incident leading to flooding in the area we were sitting in, could have happened anywhere - and it was handled so swiftly and charmingly that it just added to the pleasure of the evening. We can't wait to go back.

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I must congratulate Mr.McNally on a job well done. I was visiting from NYC recently and managed to snag a resv. for 3 & 8pm on a recent friday evening.The place was rammed & buzzing with a huge wait list & massive bar crowd. The buzz was electric upon entering. It was an odd feeling to be in Covent Garden one second then be transported to the Soho section of NYC the next. The place looks almost identical to the original. I am not a fan of chains nor recreating establishment. But I must say Mr.McNally is a genius & nailed this. The food was good but not great & one should not expect that at his establishments.You visit for the overall experience. A combination of good solid food,atmosphere,buzz,energy, people watching & perhaps celeb sightings. On this night Balthazar delivered ten fold. Our food was solid. Lobster & Black truffle Risotto, Escargot,Lamb,Cote De Bouef,Chocolate Souffle, Creme Brulee,Copious wine & cocktails. The room had a huge buzz since it's new & it felt like the old buzz at the NYC Balthazar years ago where anything could happen at any minute.
Tim Burton & his wife Helene Bonham Carter were in the crowd as well as Stanley Tucci. Mr. McNally & his well oiled machine of a staff worked the room efficiently. Our waiter was a pleasure & well informed. I can't say enough good things about my 1st experience here & will gladly return. Can't wait for the impending brunch service.
Overall rating 
 
9.0
Reviewed by NYCFoodie March 27, 2013

Well done..............

I must congratulate Mr.McNally on a job well done. I was visiting from NYC recently and managed to snag a resv. for 3 & 8pm on a recent friday evening.The place was rammed & buzzing with a huge wait list & massive bar crowd. The buzz was electric upon entering. It was an odd feeling to be in Covent Garden one second then be transported to the Soho section of NYC the next. The place looks almost identical to the original. I am not a fan of chains nor recreating establishment. But I must say Mr.McNally is a genius & nailed this. The food was good but not great & one should not expect that at his establishments.You visit for the overall experience. A combination of good solid food,atmosphere,buzz,energy, people watching & perhaps celeb sightings. On this night Balthazar delivered ten fold. Our food was solid. Lobster & Black truffle Risotto, Escargot,Lamb,Cote De Bouef,Chocolate Souffle, Creme Brulee,Copious wine & cocktails. The room had a huge buzz since it's new & it felt like the old buzz at the NYC Balthazar years ago where anything could happen at any minute.
Tim Burton & his wife Helene Bonham Carter were in the crowd as well as Stanley Tucci. Mr. McNally & his well oiled machine of a staff worked the room efficiently. Our waiter was a pleasure & well informed. I can't say enough good things about my 1st experience here & will gladly return. Can't wait for the impending brunch service.

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This place offers outstanding brasserie classics such "steak au poivre" that you could get in the best Parisian brasserie paired with unbelievable international dishes; we have tried the "lobster and black truffle risotto"...extraordinary (and we are Italian)!

The setting is EXACTLY the same as in NYC, actually it feels like walking in the same place...and we loved that too!

Well done to Keith McNally!
Overall rating 
 
8.0
Reviewed by FR March 19, 2013

Great dinner, fantastic atmosphere!

This place offers outstanding brasserie classics such "steak au poivre" that you could get in the best Parisian brasserie paired with unbelievable international dishes; we have tried the "lobster and black truffle risotto"...extraordinary (and we are Italian)!

The setting is EXACTLY the same as in NYC, actually it feels like walking in the same place...and we loved that too!

Well done to Keith McNally!

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Map and more information

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Address4-6 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HZ
Telephone number 020 3301 1155
trainCovent Garden
Bar area

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