When I still lived in the U.S at the beginning of the millennium, I’d think nothing of jetting off to NYC for the weekend to make sure I was getting good value out of my discounted Starwood employee hotel perks. I remember the first time I dined at Balthazar in Soho, thinking what a sophisticated experience to be among these trendy New Yorkers, having Sunday brunch in this straight-out-of-Paris French bistro. Many years on, I thought fondly of that impressionable 20-something kid as my foodie companion and I descended on Balthazar’s London branch for a spot of leisurely brunch.

Very conveniently located in the heart of Covent Garden, if you can battle your way through the throngs of tourists, Balthazar offers a great little oasis of calm. Returning for a dose of Sunday brunch on a cold winter’s afternoon, it’s the perfect locale to while away a few hours drinking wine, eating eggs benedicte and rounding off the afternoon with a spot of moules frites. It was the lead up to Christmas when we visited, so the festive mood added to the cheerful atmosphere. This did help diffuse expectations around service, as the team were a little understaffed on this busy Sunday morning, and it showed. A minor blip in an otherwise great afternoon of food, where the drink flowed and the company was outstanding.

The Verdict

Restaurant – 7/10
Experience – 8/10