Blue Boar Smokehouse & Bar, 37-45 Tothill Street, Westminster, London SW1H 9LQ
It takes a lot to drag us away from the Kentish suburbs into London on a weekend. Yes we adore London, but the city is for work days, weekends are for home. But when we saw the indulgent brunch menu for the Blue Boar Smokehouse, we made an exception. We decided to have a huge blow out Sunday, followed by the 2NO burger event in the evening. Big mistake.
After a nightmare journey into town (another reason we steer clear of London on a weekend, engineering works, parades, no taxis..) we finally arrived at the Blue Boar an hour late and stressed.
Housed in the Westminster InterContinental hotel near St James’ Park, the Blue Boar is an elegant dining room with the most beautiful dessert table we have ever seen. A singer strumming away on his guitar to some of our favourite songs, bottomless Bloody Marys and Bucks Fizz, now THIS is the way to spend a Sunday afternoon. As we walked past the desserts to our table my jaw was on the floor. All we needed was a few tabloids to trawl through and it’d be perfect. There were broadsheets on hand however, this is not a Sunday Mirror kind of place.
So for £45, you get to visit the salad bar as many times as you like, choose a main, and then the best bit, the desserts, again as many times as you like, or can. Not forgetting the booze, tea and coffee to finish, two and a half hours table time, we thought it was a pretty good value deal. And even better if you’re a child – £15. Funnily enough we only spotted one or two, most of the clientele were ladies who lunch, possible hen do’s, birthdays or perhaps this is just what they do every Sunday.
Salads were plentiful in choice and imagination, and crucially for me being a cheeseaphobe, the contents of each dish detailed. Smoked chicken with Granny Smith apple and the Hot smoked Scottish salmon with Niçoise garnish were stand out dishes. Along with salads, there were huge fresh whole prawns, oysters, ham, chutneys, you name it, they had it.
There was only one main that I was going for, no contest: the Pulled pork, thyme baked rolls, homemade pickles,
coleslaw, smoky bacon baked beans. Served in a dainty highly polished tea-tray, this is no Pitt Cue. Featuring the best BBQ beans I’ve ever tasted, alongside warm golden thyme rolls to make your own pork buns. The only downside was the pork wasn’t smoked. From what I’d read up on, and the fact it was a smokehouse, I didn’t expect plain pork. Perhaps we need to pay a visit in the evening for chef Jon Ingram’s ribs. The solution was to dip it in the beans, the meat did taste fine naked, I just don’t understand why it was lacking in smoky flavour.
Ade’s Trio of free range eggs – Benedict, Florentine and Royal were exactly how poached eggs should be. At other, inferior establishments, Eggs Benedict and co are usually kept on the hot buffet table which makes them go dry and lose their flavour. At the Blue Boar the eggs are cooked to order and sat atop quality produce, the Hollandaise sauce deserves a special mention too. The roast beef that the girls on the table next to us had looked pretty good, but there was no way we could manage that knowing we had a burger feast to get through just three hours later.
With the joy of not being rushed, we sat back, loosened out belts and prepared ourselves for desserts with a twenty-minute break. Now I am a savoury girl, but was in heaven just looking at the array of choice. All beautifully crafted, the Parma Violet esque Violet and cassis macarons were wonderful. As were the Mini lemon tarts, Carrot cake cupcakes complete with a marzipan carrot on top, I wished I could pop some in a box and take them home.
Total indulgence, tip-top service from our fantastic (and oh so smiley) waitress Raphaella, this is a Sunday afternoon to remember. Having a room in the adjoining hotel would have been the icing on the cake, all we wanted to do afterwards was sleep. But alas, there was more eating to be done. Make sure you come hungry, and have no evening plans. Or even better, book a room.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 6:30–10:30 pm
Saturday to Sunday: 7:00–11:00pm
Nearest tube: St. James’s Park