Olive Magazine

Boyds Grill and Wine Bar, London: restaurant review

Published: April 6, 2016 at 11:37 am
Our content is updated regularly but it’s advisable to check opening times and availability with the venue before you plan to visit. Please follow government guidelines regarding social distancing

We take a trip to the Grand Hotel, round the corner from London’s Trafalgar Square. Check out our review of Charles Boyd’s latest venture, Boyds Grill and Wine Bar

In a nutshell

Boyds is a grand and sophisticated Victorian venue with a contemporary twist and a menu to match, showcasing the best British ingredients.


Who’s cooking

Nate Brewster is the main man behind the menu, with more than 20 years of experience in some of the world’s finest kitchens, including Marcus Wareing at the Berkley. Driven by flavour, Nate uses his knowledge and skill to transform British ingredients into internationally inspired dishes.

Menu know how

Think grill and wine bar and you might imagine that the focus would be on perfectly cooked meat. But, this is only one element of the experience at Boyds. Yes, there are some delicious grilled meats, expertly sealed with bags of flavour, all sourced from Britain and each with their own story to tell. However, the starters and desserts are the real star of the show here. There’s even a liquid nitrogen ice-cream bar.

What’s the room like?

Designers Paul Clarke and Nick Preece have kept most of the original Victorian surroundings and pushed them in to the 21st century, creating a grand and luxurious space.

Bardiglio marble and onyx lined walls are beautifully juxtaposed with copper counters, modern interiors and artwork. An intimate space lit by chandeliers with a lavish bar at its heart, this restaurant makes a real impact as you first walk in.

Must orders and misfires

With meats sourced from all over Britain you won’t go wrong ordering anything from the grill at Boyds. With Broughton water buffalo from Stockbridge in Hampshire, Blythburgh pork chop on the bone from Halesworth, Suffolk and Scottish black gold fillet steak, there’s plenty to tick off the list.

The starters are designed to be shared, but they’re so good you won’t want to. Sipsmith gin-cured salmon, with daikon and buttermilk sorbet and duck liver parfait with fig and mandarin meringue proved Nate’s skill at unusual flavour pairings, but the real show-stopper was the seven-hour braised leg of lamb with tandoori spice and a carrot and citrus purée. Complex eastern spicing gave a great depth of flavour, while the citrus notes broke through the richness of the slow-cooked, fall-apart meat.

Fabien Babanini, the general manager, brings his talents and knowledge of wines to the table by carefully selecting drinks to complement the food. For us he teamed the lamb with a Pouilly Fuissé “Vieilles Vignes” from Burgundy, France.

After dinner, head over to meet the chef behind the crazy flavour combinations at the kitchen-bar-turned-ice-cream-parlour. Chilli mango sorbet is a fiery twist on a classic palate cleanser, while the pea and mint, and parmesan ice cream take savoury ingredients and turn them in to a surprising end to the meal. You have the option to add toppings including toffee chunks and sweet popcorn, but save the space to try that one extra flavour! End the experience with some ‘dragon’s breath’ – a surprise you’ll have to try for yourself.

The verdict

Boyds Grill and Wine Bar celebrates seasonal British ingredients and contemporary flavours in an inspired way. A must-visit – for more than just the grill!

Boyds Grill & Wine Bar, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5BY

Words by Nicki Smith

First published April 2016

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