You don't need to go far to get your hands on some fresh seafood; Mayfair's Bouillabaisse has exactly what you need. Although a neighbour to some of London's most lavish boutiques and galleries, this restaurant is fairly discreet and is located on a quiet lane off Conduit Street. Bouillabaisse has a simplistic layout with seating as you go in and a bar at the back. The dim, low-key lighting that illuminates the touches of nautical décor gives the impression of spending a a romantic evening by the French Riviera.
I was here for their Oyster, Lobster and Bespoke Cocktail Tasting Event by Fabio Latham that was being held on the 18th and 19th December from 7 - 8.30pm. This event was organised by the restaurant owners Kurt Zsedar and Jordan Sclare after launching the popular Ceviche, Nikkei Cuisine Restaurant Chotto Matte in Soho. As a massive fan of Chotto Matte, I knew the food here would only mirror the freshness of the marinated fish and cooked meat in their sibling restaurant. I arrived here slightly early, was greeted with lots of warm smiles and found myself a seat at the bar, ready to try some of the bespoke cocktails...
The Lost World (complex and fruity with a kick of vigeur) - El Dorado 3yr rum, pineapple and juniper syrup, sage, lime, Japanese Chilli Salt
This was the first cocktail I tried and it was small, piercing with fruitiness, tang and packed heat from the Japanese Chilli Salt.
The bar area at Bouillabasse was very modern and edgy and I loved the close proximity between the guests and the bartenders whilst they showed us their cocktail-making skills. The cocktail menu was very well-laid out with a great selection of drinks and I quickly noticed the sophisticated flair and slight quirkiness behind the menu's design and the cocktails' combinations of ingredients . The names of the Bespoke Cocktails for the night were very unique and all alluded to some kind of story or personality behind each drink. The Oysters and Lobster Canapés were created by the Nikkei Boys, Chef duo: Jordan Sclare (owner) and Chef Michael Paul and were served round from 7.00 - 8.30pm.
To see a full version of this exclusive menu from the night click here.
The restaurant interior. Sea-breezy, nautical and modern with hints of white beach-hut romance.
We started off by trying oysters with vinegar and shallots and then a lobster canapés on tostadas.
Both of these were scrumptious but there were only a limited amount available between all of the guests and after several cocktails, some of us were aching for more. My friend and I decided to order off the à la carte menu and didn't struggle to find something we wanted.
the seafood risotto - squid ink, squid, octopus (£8.50)
Baked in a wood-fired oven and my first ever risotto to taste (!?), this hearty portion went down a real treat. The squid ink covered the rice and gave it a great texture, almost thicker and creamier. The generous amount of seafood also made the dish very good value for money. In addition, the flavour was perfect and aside from the tiny amount that was left on my plate, I ate every mouthful with much pleasure.
the 70% chocolate cake with caramel and vanilla ice cream (£7.00)
I'm a big fan of desserts and coming to a seafood restaurant for oyster and lobster tasting, I didn't expect to be treating myself to chocolate puds but our waiter strongly recommended this dish so I gave in. I'm so glad I did because this had to be the best chocolate cake creation I had ever tasted in my life. It was more like a molten lava cake. The cake was soft and warm, spongier and more cooked on the outside but soft and gooey underneath. The delicious vanilla ice cream that was on top of the cake and a layer of caramel kept them from melting and beautifully complemented the warm chocolate gooeyness inside. It had the perfect balance between sweet and salty; we all there's nothing worse than a dessert that's sickeningly sweet and the 70% Cocoa came through as chocolate finesse melted into the cake's richness and made me struggle to speak!
I had a lovely experience here at Bouillabaisse and would certainly count it as a place to visit for great Seafood in London. The service was excellent and the interior was really romantic and relaxed. It is on the more pricey side of things, but you do get the quality, taste and flavour for what you pay for. I would highly recommend the Lobster Platter (£44.95), Jumbo Poulard Clams (£12.95), Lobster Mac and Cheese (£15.95) or Grilled Seabass (£23.50).
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