Looking for a taste of the Mediterranean in London this summer? Multi-Michelin starred chef Daniel Boulud’s New York-based restaurant Boulud Sud is coming to London bringing vibrant flavours of Italy, France and Morocco. A group of bloggers and I visited the restaurant pop up, operating in his existing venue Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park.
The chef’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, Daniel, in New York City has been on my bucket list for ages but I haven’t yet had the chance to visit. In addition to his flagship restaurant Daniel Boulud has many other award-winning restaurants throughout the United States, Canada, Singapore and of course Bar Boulud in London.
And here’s the smiling face of the man himself who would be bringing the Mediterranean cuisine to London with his incredible cooking. Today I would reliving the memories of the blue skies of Provence, the Moroccan souk and the Italian sunshine through Daniel’s evocative flavours.
We kicked off with a rather substantial bottle of rose which definitely brought back thoughts of my recent stay in Provence on this rather chilly June day in London.
The delicious bread basket also represented different countries in the Mediterranean. With Moroccan flat bread, a traditional Provencal cracker bread made from chickpeas and a beautiful house made bread lightly soaked in olive oil.
And some perfectly prepared crisps with a sprinkling of dill. Daniel told us his favourite cuisine was actually from Morocco so it was no surprise that we kicked off with a mezze of hummus, babaganoush and house-taramasalata.
I love aubergines so the babaganoush was my favourite, especially heaped on top of the Provencal cracker bread.
I adore Mediterranean flavours and the menu listed many of my favourites including Sicilian sardine escabèche with white raisins and toasted pine nuts. The olive oil was so fragrant and it complemented the delicate flesh of the sardine perfectly with a slight smattering of chilli to add a kick.
Next up, crispy artichokes all Romana, or deep-fried artichokes from Rome. Regular readers will know of my love of artichokes, and it wasn’t just me, they were incredibly popular around our table with everyone praising the perfect crunch and the exact right level of seasoning.
Moving away from Italy, it was time for a taste of Spain with these gambas al Ajillo. The prawns were so fat and juicy with a great balance of salt, garlic and chilli, perfectly cooked and with a slight char. They were one of my top choices of the day.
Following the sharing selection we received a small plate each of Daurade a la Plancha. A perfectly cooked sea bream with beautifully crisp skin on a piquet romesco sauce. Another perfect dish to remind me of the Spanish sunshine.
The spaghetti nero was another favourite of the day. The pasta, made in-house and black with the ink of a cuttlefish, was made so finely and lightly covered in oil but with a decent smack of garlic and chilli. The topping of smoked uni, a sea urchin used in Japanese cooking, was something I’d tried on my recent trip and as I’m not a huge fan I left most of it.
The final savoury dish bought us back full circle to Morocco, the first stop on our culinary journey. Chicken can often seem an uninspiring option but I loved the tagine with the aromas and spices of Moroccan cuisine. The meat topping the cous cous was juicy and delicious, with slight hint of sweetness that wasn’t too over powering.
Our dessert, grapefruit givré looked like an ordinary and unassuming grapefruit topped with halva but it concealed a whole feast of delights. I cracked open the brandy snap on top to reveal rose loukum (Turkish delight), refreshing sorbet and fresh grapefruit. A hugely inventive dish created by Daniel’s pastry chef Ghaya Oliveira and I love slightly tart desserts that aren’t overly sweet.
It was such an enjoyable meal and incredible to have ‘Cake Boy’ Master Pâtissier Eric Lanland join us too. A big thank you to Daniel Boulud and his team for hosting us for an incredible lunch and giving us a taste of the Mediterranean on a rainy day in London. The Boulud Sud pop up will be available 1st July – 31st August at Bar Boulud.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
We dined as guests of the restaurant