Thursday, 1 November 2012

Restaurant Review: Buddha Bar London

Buddha Bar beneath Waterloo Bridge was one of London's finest restaurants. Great atmosphere, fun bar, amazing food and a 20ft Buddha, what's not to love?! The Parisian restaurant that closed it's doors under the bridge 18 months ago, has up sticks and moved to Knightsbridge in the building that use to hold Chicago Rib House, quite the upgrade.

Officially opened today (November 1st) we popped in for a preview during their soft launch. We started in the bar for cocktails. Whiskey Sour for him, Bubble Wrap for me. Raspberry liquor and champagne. Standard. It was in the narrowest glass I've ever encountered and I had to remove the floral garnish and stirrer to get the thing in my mouth.
Bubble Wrap
Whiskey Sour
The bar area is relaxed with lots of cosy nooks, you can see it would be great for a party or group of friends. The clientele on this occasion was predominantly couples. Many pointing cameras, which made me feel a whole lot better about whipping out my own beast.

We were lead downstairs to our table which was actually right at the foot of the stairs looking at the reverse of a floating Buddha. Drink wise we opted for sake. As expected the selection is vast, ranging from decent for beginners to exceptional for the more refined palette. We were somewhere in the middle.
The Buddha Bar Menu is predominantly sushi but we were both tempted by the back of the menu and surprisingly both by lamb. First up however, starters. Rock shrimp tempura and chili salt squid. These were both incredibly and deceptively large portions. We didn't even finish the squid which is unheard of. The rock shrimp tempura was the better of the two. Fluffy light coating and fresh plump shrimp. The dip had a kick to it, as did the squid. The sake was going down fast...
Chili salt squid
Rock Shrimp Tempura

For mains I was torn between at least three things which is always a good sign. Mix seafood curry, filet of beef with black garlic sauce and of course masses of sushi. Since we weren't both having sushi I decided against it and since I'm heading to Hawksmoor later in the week I decided against beef.

I asked the waiter his recommendation, luckily they have tried all the menu options (always a good idea...) and refreshing that they didn't 'just' recommend the most expensive things on the menu. He said the lamb curry was exceptional so I plumped for that. M also went for lamb, but a spicy rack of. On the side: sticky rice came with and we added some house special Buddha Bar noodles.
Lamb Curry
Buddha Bar Noodles

Both dishes were incredibly filling with tender lamb and a bit of a kick. I like spicy and I wasn't expecting the curry to pack a punch, it did. As did the lamb cutlets. Three marinated rich peices of lamb on the bone. For two quite similar dishes they were presented and delivered on completely different levels. I couldn't even say which one I preferred.

Spicy Lamb Rack
Little plate of heaven
The crisped onions on the sticky rice were a nice touch and the rice itself was perfectly sticky and a puffy texture.  After a while it started to get seriously hot and I was getting very full very quickly, what didn't look like a mountain of food was really making an impact, especially after the mammoth starters.

I gave in, M cleaned up but not so much that there was no room for dessert. I opted for a Wasabeach - a cocktail of wasabi, apple and sake. For him, salted caramel, chocolate and sesame bar and a Rovit side, a side car to you and me.

The salted caramel / nut bar was very nutty and therefore almost tasted savory  The ice cream was delicious and lets face it...We ate it all.

Overall if you loved the original you'll like it here. We related it mostly to Hakkasan. Drink there, take a date take your friends, take clients. It will definitely impress. Even the spooky Buddha which is a cross between a mummy and the Mona Lisa (take a photo from different angles, the thing follows you around the room...creepy!)

Atmosphere: Unfair to judge since it was a soft launch
Food: 4/5 kicking in all the right places
Drink: 4/5, a great selection
Overall: 4/5 try it, see how it feels....

PS: What do you think of my photography?! Is the new camera paying off? I'm just learning so be nice!
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  2. I think this restaurant has inspired me to go here tonight! Really, love the post!

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