Pain Perdu with caramelised bananas, available at Bar Boulud, Boston
You know how it is – those lazy Sunday mornings when you don’t make it up in time for breakfast, are ravenous, but can’t face starting the day with a heavy lunch? Well, those clever folks at Bar Boulud, London and Boston have rustled up a sterling brunch menu, served exclusively on Sundays between 11am and 3.30pm in the UK and 12pm and 3pm in the US.
The experience begins with a buffet, but not just your regular buffet: this is a brilliant, brimful-of-beauties, Boulud-style buffet. There are mounds of fresh pastries, berries and jam; a series of salads (my favourite was a wonderfully palate-cleansing combination of shaved kohlrabi and orange); an exemplary selection of charcuterie; a cheese board; a medley of seafood; and an excellent selection of fresh breads. Our favourite was the house-made ficelle with stiletto-point ends and deliciously doughy interior.
Oeufs Bénédicte Brioché
For lunch I opted for the Oeufs Bénédicte Brioché with jambon de Paris. If eggs are on the menu this is my go-to choice, but at Bar Boulud they take it to another level. My beautifully-poached egg was complemented by a pitch-perfect hollandaise, so difficult to get right, and baby spinach with just the right amount of bite. My kids predictably went for the Brunch Burger – an epic tower of medium-rare beef patty with all the classics: bacon, mushroom, cheddar, tomato and a fried egg; all served in a burger-bun extraordinaire with unbeatable pommes frites on the side.
Chef Daniel Boulud (left) with Bar Boulud, Boston’s Chef de Cuisine, Aaron Chambers
Son Number 1, age 10, declared it ‘off the charts’, while Son Number 2, age seven, just rolled his eyes and declared himself to be in ‘hamburger heaven’. We ordered a side of Moules à la Crème – a bowl of the most enormous, plump and bursting-with-flavour mussels we’ve ever tasted. And don’t get me started on dipping our ficelles into that wonderful creamy sauce…
We polished off our brunch with delicious ice cream. The flavours change regularly, and are always divine. The raspberry sorbet was 'epic' – juicy, refreshing, soft and sweet, while the blueberry and yoghurt was a newly discovered joy. The creaminess of the yoghurt tempered any hint of tartness and the flavour showcased the best that the blueberry has to offer. To top it all off, we were served a basketful of Chef Boulud’s famous madeleines. Still hot from the oven, these were demolished in precisely two minutes flat. It’s the teaspoon of honey that makes them so special, confided our charming and attentive waiter. A special shout-out to all the staff, who were totally delightful!