Boyd's Bar & Brasserie

British Restaurant in Trafalgar Square
Boyd's Bar & Brasserie image

7 / 10 from 1 review
The Northumberland
8 Northumberland Avenue
Trafalgar Square
020 7808 3344
Nearest Station
Charing Cross
0.10 miles
Opening Times
Monday Open 07:00 - Closes 00:00
Tuesday Open 07:00 - Closes 00:00
Wednesday Open 07:00 - Closes 00:00
Thursday Open 07:00 - Closes 00:00
Friday Open 07:00 - Closes 00:00
Saturday Open 08:00 - Closes 11:00
Open 17:00 - Closes 00:00
Sunday Open 08:00 - Closes 11:00

Boyd's new Bar and Brasserie is the perfect place to come to unwind and relax after a hard days work. Indulge in our delicious food in our smart but informal environment.

All In London Review

A tasteful and tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of Charing Cross

After a hot Saturday evening in Trafalgar Square (The Big Dance) we sauntered down towards the river for refreshment – stopping amongst the tourists at The Sherlock Holmes pub. Whilst sipping a Pimm’s and feeling the heat we spied the newly refurbished Boyd’s across the road, right next to the Nigerian Embassy, and decided to take a look (actually, we were desperate to find somewhere with air conditioning). Whilst it doesn’t look much from the front (and you could easily walk right past it) it was actually a hotel (once called “The Marble Hall”) in 1887 but was then taken over by the Ministry of Defence. Just a few months ago it was extensively refurbished to maintain all it’s features as it is a listed building.

Walking up the few stairs was just like walking into a hotel (which it is) and we hesitated a moment – in admittedly a beautiful tall but small hotel foyer with a traditional tiled pattern floor – and looked at the potted palm plants and large sumptuous room dividing curtains wondering where to go. After a moment we realised that you just walk straight ahead to the enormous bar which is lit by several stunning crystal chandaliers.

The bar is like many of the others in the City of London where a former banking hall has been similarly reconfigured (think One Lombard Street near Bank). It’s a large, U shaped affair with plenty of stools all around it. The cocktail menu is one of the most extensive I have seen – and most at £8 which is normal for Central London. My friend – who was limited in what she could drink as she was driving – decided to have a champagne mojito (£12) – Jacques Cartier champagne, Mount Gay Rum, mint, lime and sugar. It was presented in a large coned martini glass and was absolute perfection. Probably the best cocktail…

I opted for a small glass of San Rafael Sauvignon Blanc which was keenly priced at £4.50 for this part of the world. Chilled well. Quickly consumed.

We moved to the restaurant area which was like visiting a little part of English upper class history – apart from the large, brightly coloured painting on the far wall. Muted sage green, tastefully upholstered seats, a large tan leather banquette through the middle with facing tables and chairs and further upholstered banquettes at the edges of a large, high ceilinged area. Air conditioned too. The distinctive logo (a lion which is reminiscent of that insult to the Queen lion at The Duke of Northumberland’s Syon House in West London – I think the décor was similar to that grand house as well). It was grand but comfortable – the other guests were mixed – there were some family groups, some tourists in very casual attire, a few couples who could be theatre visitors or hotel guests, a group of women (perhaps preparing for an evening out on the town later) and even a couple of solitary diners.

The waiting staff treated everyone with the same warm regard – the décor might say grand but the service said welcome. They were knowledgeable too – and nothing was too much trouble. They added a significant warmth to the evening without being obtrusive.

I admit to being a little perplexed at the menu. It’s eclectic. There is a selection of tapas at £2.50 each. There is a menu du jour/pre theatre (two courses £16, three courses £19) – although the main of grilled and poached chicken with summer truffle and vegetable salad had finished. For starters, I selected the glazed Kidderton Ash goat’s cheese with shaved fennel and beetroot salad (£7).

The presentation was a triumph – the goat’s cheese (a little cold) cut into perfect quarters resting on a tumble of rocket salad which in turn rested on a perfect arrangement of wafer thin beetroot slices and decorated with two vividly coloured jus. My friend’s choice was chicken liver (a large amount presented in a decorative jar) and foie gras pate with fig chutney and toasted brioche (£9). Whilst being mousse-light the chicken liver pate wasn’t as strong as some might like and our request for further brioche was quickly met without a fuss.

Meanwhile I must mention the music. When we arrived it was fairly non descript but as the evening wore on it became funkier – for example, Wamdue Project’s “Forgiveness” and Fat Freddy’s Drop “Roady”. Nice.

For the main course my friend selected roast breast of duck and duck leg hash (as a croquette) with spring greens, white onion and thyme puree (£17). Luckily, she doesn’t like her meat pink. As grills featured big on the menu (there was also fish and chips, gnocchi, omelettes, gammon knuckle, roast chicken) I opted for an 8oz sirloin (with a green peppercorn sauce that was more like a gravy) with chips (£22). I ordered a side of field mushrooms (£3) which were very tasty. The steak was perfect (I asked for it to be cooked medium and it was). Another glass of wine and a virgin cocktail were also requested.

Whilst we were replete we couldn’t resist the dessert menu – Pimms granite (the special) was awesome, and stronger than our earlier Pimms in the pub across the road. The fine apple tart (a proper tarte tatin) with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce (£7) was a substantial portion. Overall, the meal came to £101.25 which included a service charge.

So. A magnificent building providing a taste of grand England in the past, food that wouldn’t be out of place at a serious business lunch and a memorable cocktail menu. A tasteful and tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square and a fabulous find that I will be visiting again when I spend the evening in London.

PS We couldn’t resist a little peak at the ball rooms downstairs (you have to ask) – there are two breathtaking rooms which would be perfect for an upmarket business conference (one can easily accommodate 1,000 guests and has incredible stained glass windows and a lot of gilt mouldings) and another (The Billiards Room) which would be great for a large, society wedding – with its delicate engravings, white walls and modern glass partitioning. If I were a rich girl…

Reviewed by KimT
Published on Jul 13, 2010

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